IE Business School Online Masters
Ram Parasuraman
April 2, 2010

Hey everyone! Still in vacation mode here, so thought why not sneak in another post here….

Everyone has no doubt come to know of the GMBA as Global MBA — but I challenge that limited connotation. To me, GMBA is also a Green MBA! These days, we are all taking about Going Green. Is there a better way to help the environment than to get an MBA that helps contribute only a minor fraction of greenhouse gases back to the atmosphere than any comparable MBA?

Take for instance how we get to class in a regular MBA. Sure, if you lived on-campus in a fairly pedestrian friendly city, you could walk it or possibly take bicycles to class. But in most modern cities where MBAs are taught, including mine, it is impossible not to take the car or the bike out to get to class.

Consider Part Time MBA courses taught at reputed universities like Kellogg school of business at the Northwestern University or Andersen school of business at UCLA. These schools are examples of a group of universities that offer bi-weekly classes on campus. So, people worldwide take a plane to the cities, then rent a car to get to campus. Comparing the total carbon emissions amongst these students vs the GMBA can tell you quite simply whey I choose to also call the latter the Green MBA.

I am sure Carlos will talk separately about Virtual vs Real networking and the adjacencies to that in terms of imparting knowledge. But, consider that a classroom needs electricity for air conditioning/heating and lighting. In addition to this, our homes are probably also using some heating/lighting for the rest of our family members. With the GMBA, we can just make do with the latter with a minimal or no increment to energy usage. If we don’t consider the energy it takes to power the vending machines from which we draw coffee or soda, we save a boatload by de-centralizing the classes to multiple nations, some of which, in some seasons, may have no need for heating, cooling or lighting during class, like California in the spring!

Yes, I know you are all ready to pounce on me with the question: “Isn’t an increased requirement for network bandwidth and storage going to undo some of these gains?”. Yes indeed, GMBA does stress IE’s server, perhaps making it use more power, especially when we all turn on our cameras to pose for the class pic at the end of some of our courses. But, I’d argue that if we were on campus, we would all turn on our WiFis to keep the flow of emails as professionals with our level of experience have to do. That means not just a load on IE’s servers, but also the electricity it takes IE to power the its WiFi access points, the servers that serve the information we request through our browsers and the power that our laptops are hogging. This also applies to the above mentioned part time MBA programs at LA or NWestern.

So, do you agree? GMBA = Green MBA .. I know Prof. Gamaliel Martinez will make arguments for Exec MBA online being an even “Greener” MBA since they don’t meet online for classes every week but of course, Exec MBA has one more presential period than GMBA, so maybe some of the gains are offset by that ­čśë


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