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Hoffmann Institute


Pop Quiz: What is Sustainability?


Hoffmann Institute

Pop Quiz: What is Sustainability?

Pop Quiz: What is Sustainability?

Business schools across the world are preparing leaders to step up and take on climate change and sustainability. INSEAD embeds sustainability into teaching to prepare graduates for today’s big global challenges. The school features sustainability components in all core courses, and 20 of 75 elective courses. Professors are also bringing sustainability into the classroom in surprising new ways.

The MBA’23J Class found this out the hard way during Welcome Week. The latest intake of bright INSEAD MBAs was introduced to sustainability through an engaging and unsuspected pop quiz.

Test your Knowledge

Conducted by INSEAD Professors Gabriel Szulanski and Felipe Monteiro, the quiz surprised more than 400 students in the MBA’23J Class in Singapore and Fontainebleau. The sustainability quiz featured questions about the definition of sustainability, estimates on progress and preferences for action. Quiz questions include:

  • How do you define sustainability in a business model?
  • How many Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are there?
  • In 2020 what percentage of professionally managed financial assets were invested in sustainable investment products?
  • What is your most important sustainability goal?

The quiz quickly anchors and translates the concept of sustainability into concrete questions and identifies sustainability champions. The quiz is helpful to kickstart discussions and provide perspectives about sustainability. “Students should be aware and equipped for the new reality of business in which ESG is essentially part of every discussion,” says Professor of Strategy Gabriel Szulanski.

The MBA’23Js who took the quiz were pleasantly surprised in Welcome Week. Aisyah Rachmawati, a former BCG consultant in the Jakarta office Climate & Sustainability Practice Area, highlighted the relevance. Sustainability is now a topic of discussion in many C-suites and will be into the future. It makes sense that business students learn about it now.

Jeremy Tan, a professional geotechnical engineer for the past seven years, loved the school’s approach and said INSEAD can challenge norms. Leveraging INSEAD's expansive alumni network can advance sustainability in their work.

Nicolas Sdez, founding member and CTO of a startup working on decarbonisation of the shipping industry, saw the quiz as a chance for all INSEAD students to gain genuine curiosity and interest in sustainability.

Sustainability at INSEAD

Future leaders must master the technical competencies of business and integrate sustainability into business models. Post-MBA careers in sustainability have gained traction as business embraces sustainability solutions.

Students in the latest INSEAD MBA cohort are interested in sustainability to enhance their careers. Colin Rebel is a former climate finance and carbon markets consultant with green finance sector aspirations. He hopes this quiz sparks discussion on sustainability from different angles in every class throughout the year. Deepika Bhargava, a lawyer, is committed to focus on sustainability no matter where her career journey takes her.

Empowering the future business leaders with problem solving skills and a sustainability toolbox is now central to the INSEAD experience. The Master Strategist Day engages MBA students with real-world problems that make a difference for impact organizations. Sustainability is a foundation for responsible research and leadership engagement.

INSEAD is currently running a curriculum review to see where sustainability fits into the core components of the MBA programme moving forward. The review aligns with new business school accreditation criteria on sustainability and new sustainability and ESG criteria in global MBA rankings. And it comes at a time when students, alumni and major employers all voice the need for greater focus on sustainability.

The sustainability quiz also comes at an important moment for any MBA student – Welcome Week. By integrating a test of sustainability knowledge at the outset of the programme, INSEAD recognizes the changing business landscape and the need for agile thinkers.

The sustainability quiz is another way that INSEAD is preparing the next generation of leaders to champion business as a force for good.

INSEAD is empowering students to take the lead in driving conversations on sustainability and the SDGs. In partnership with Accenture Strategy and several student clubs we are proud to bring you the 4th edition of SDGWeek (November 2-3-4). Details and registration available here

The Hoffmann Global Institute for Business and Society remains committed to integrating sustainability and business as a force for good into the core of an INSEAD education, in all learning, knowledge, engagement and operations.

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