Career in Sustainability after the ISB MBA

Exploring careers in sustainability in India we find that there are some niche opportunities offered to MBA graduates from top tier schools like the ISB MBA or an IIM MBA. Some examples of career roles offered after an ISB MBA or a top tier MBA in India are Portfolio manager roles and Sustainability Consultant roles.


Portfolio Manager roles: The Portfolio Manager role requires the MBA graduate to be involved with multi asset investment research, ESG implementation, risk management, reporting and performance attribution. In addition to hands on experience in ESG or sustainable investing strategies the MBA graduate would be expected to possess experience in tracking sectors and presenting investment thesis to portfolio managers. Basic programming skills like Python, SQL, VBA and a CFA qualification in addition to the top tier MBA are expected qualifications for the role.


Sustainability Consultant: This role is offered by consulting firms in India. Broadly this role requires strategy experience preferably in sustainability, industry experience in Energy and Circularity. This role is ideal for MBA graduates from top tier schools in the country with a strong experience of working on carbon emissions measurement, lifecycle analysis and reduction levers.


Sustainability is much more than just a buzzword for the industry today.


One option is to go ahead with a top tier MBA like the ISB MBA and get sufficient sector knowledge in sustainability.


An ISB MBA followed by the specific specialised knowledge or certifications helps the professionals develop in the niche area of sustainability jobs.


Which schools globally offer specialisations for sustainability MBA?


1. MIT Sloan School of Management

2. INSEAD

3. Said School of Business

4. Fuqua school of business

5. Harvard Business School

6. IE Business School

7. Cornell SC Johnson School of Business - Johnson’s Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise

8. Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus includes the UN Global Compact’s Principles for Responsible Management Education into their MBA curriculum

9. London Business School


Which MBA programs in India provide opportunities for a career in the sustainability sector?

  1. Top Tier MBA programs like ISB MBA or the IIM MBA. One year MBA Programs like ISB MBA caters to the basic framework of management skills. Combined with deep sector knowledge and certifications, it is the best track for a global career.

  2. IIM Lucknow - Post Graduate Programme Sustainable Management (PGPSM)

  3. Master's Program In Sustainability Management (MBA-SM) - Xavier School Of Sustainability Management

  4. Indian Institute of Foreign Management - Post Graduate Diploma In Sustainability Management (PGDSM)

  5. Symbiosis Institute of Business Management - MBA – Energy and Environment

  6. SPJAIN School of Global Management

  7. MBA ( Business Sustainability ) - TERI SAS

What are some specialised industry skills expected of a professional in Sustainability?


Working in sustainability after an ISB MBA may lead one towards specialising for the below mentioned certifying bodies.

  1. CaGBC - Canada Green Building Council

  2. BOMA - Building Owners and Managers Association International,

  3. LEED - Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design

One part of the skill set in sustainability means that a professional understands the requirements and the means to comply to the norms laid out by these bodies.


Life after an ISB MBA in a career in sustainability would require one to be well versed with:

  1. External sustainability reporting frameworks and standards like

a. Global Reporting Initiative,

b. SASB - Sustainability Accounting Standards Board

c. CDP - a not-for-profit charity that runs the global disclosure system for environmental impact.

2. Monitoring trends,

3. Evaluating changes/impacts

4. Consulting on ESG - Environment Social Governance issues and

5. Developing ESG - Environment Social Governance strategies

6. Data governance tools and reporting

7. Data risk mitigation

8. Collaboration, teamwork and relationship building skills to influence and collaborate across multiple levels, cultures and functions in the organisation


What are the different qualifications acceptable for a sustainability jobs?


1. Bachelor's Degree in Sustainability, Finance, Environmental Science, Engineering or related technical field

2. Top tier MBA like the ISB MBA or Masters preferred

3. Working knowledge of OSHA safety and health regulations in general industry (29 CFR Part 1910) - Required for Environmental, Health, Safety and Sustainability (EHSS) track


In addition to the ISB MBA what are some International certifications that support in a career in sustainability?

  1. Certified Manager of Commercial Properties by BOMA International

  2. LEED Green Associate

  3. LEED Green AP

  4. LEED v4.1 education

  5. CaBGC Zero Carbon standard development certification

  6. Andy Kesteloo Memorial Student Project Award

  7. BOMA Energy Efficiency Program

  8. BOMA Managing Industrial Properties Course

  9. SASB - Fundamentals of Sustainability Accounting (FSA) Credential

  10. Biosafety Professional - Environmental, Health, Safety and Sustainability (EHSS) track

  11. Certified Biosafety Professional by the American Biological Safety Association - for Environmental, Health, Safety and Sustainability (EHSS) track

  12. Certified Safety Professional (CSP) - for Environmental, Health, Safety and Sustainability (EHSS) track

What are some International career options for sustainability professionals?

  1. Sustainability Analyst - Minimum of 2-5 years of green building certification work experience.

  2. Sustainability Consultant - 4-7 years of related experience necessary, or relevant post graduate degree in lieu of work experience

  3. Manager of Sustainability Data Governance - 7+ years' work experience, exposure in CPG industry

  4. Senior Environment, Health, Safety and Sustainability Specialist (EHSS) - 7+ years' experience in EHS field with progressive roles and responsibilities

  5. Sustainable Finance Director - around 8 years experience in ESG/Sustainability Strategy; Climate Risk Modelling Sustainable Finance- including Impact Investing; and, ESG Investments; Green Bonds and Sustainability/ESG Reporting.

What's happening in India for Sustainability?


These are some organisations actively participating in building the framework for education and policies for sustainability in India.

1. Centre for Environment Education (CEE) which is the nodal agency for implementing UNDESD in India;

2. The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI);

3. Bharati Vidya Peeth (BVP);

4. Centre for Science and Environment (CSE);

5. World Wide fund (WWF);

6. National Council for Science Museums (NSCM)

7. The Climate Reality Project, India

8. Mobius Foundation

9. Foundation For Environmental Education (FEE)

10. Centre for Environment Communication (CEC)

11.The Grantham Institute - Climate Change and Environment

12. Global Foundation for Advancement of Environment and Human Wellness

13. Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots

14. SEED (Society for Environment Education & Development)

15. International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

16. UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN)

17. TERRE Policy Centre


We hope this has got you started in terms of what this career option has to offer and the kind of work one can expect in sustainability. These are pointers for aspirants to the ISB MBA to continue their research if the sustainability sector enthuses them. This is the research compiled by our ISB admission consultants. Contact an experienced ISB admission consultant at Goalisb to discuss your profile for a fit with the ISB MBA program.

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