On the island, we put our values into action, from breakfast to bedtime.

MBA in Sustainable Systems. A short ferry ride from Seattle, IslandWood is what summer camp wants to be when it grows up – a regenerative retreat once a month in a LEED Gold campus nestled in a 255-acre wonderland of forests, ponds, bogs and tree houses. IslandWood’s talented kitchen staff churns out delicious meals with a dedication to local, organic, seasonal food that enriches the earth. IslandWood stands at the brink of a closed-loop system; beautiful, thoughtfully designed buildings provide provide a case study in sustainability. The perfect setting to tackle the world’s wicked problems.

The Seattle Hybrid MBA program offers an integrated MBA curriculum with a track focused on Sustainable Systems. The Seattle Hybrid MBA program is delivered through a low residency format that combines monthly “residencies” with weekly virtual discussions and team projects.

The Seattle Hybrid MBA program features an integrated core curriculum in the first year, with options for electives and specialization in the second year.

The first year begins with Capitalism in Context, providing a systemic and historical context for our work together. Next, in Values and Value Creation, we focus on the traditional business disciplines of strategy, marketing and operations. In the final months of the first year, we look at the means and measures for financing a business, accounting for its progress and measuring success against a triple bottom line.

The second year of the program is built around a year-long action learning practicum and a set of elective options.

Students choose a project in entrepreneurship—resulting in the creation of a viable business plan—or organizational leadership—resulting in the delivery of a resume-building project in organizational engagement. Electives include a student-identified study tour, a residential program on creativity and innovation, and elective courses in cooperative management, sustainable energy, or sustainable food and agricultural systems.

Throughout the two years of the program, students engage in a series of Leadership and Personal Development (LPD) courses. LPD courses allow for personal reflection, curriculum integration and development of the leadership skills to lead their organizations to a sustainable future.

Year 1, Fall

COR6510: Capitalism in Context (13 credits) 

The primary objective of this course is to impart a basic understanding of the social, economic and environmental sustainability challenges facing managers in today’s world. The course sets the context for the student’s entire journey at PGS and seeks to develop students’ critical capacities for self-reflection and action in relation to these concepts. Students will gain the understanding and experience to integrate environmental and social sustainability with commercial and economic success. Lectures and readings provide an overview of the critical literacies in economic, financial, environmental and social issues, the history of the sustainability movement, including the various social and economic movements from which the current practices of sustainability in business and society grew, and the key actors and the basic literature in the field. The course also addresses the global issues surrounding sustainable management and reviews the major frameworks of sustainability that provide the scientific foundations and economic and financial principles of how sustainability can help managers to achieve natural competitive advantage.

LPD6511: Leadership and Personal Development (LPD) I (2 credits) 

LPD meets for four semesters over two years. To cultivate learning community and leadership skills, the curriculum is designed to support personal awareness and growth while increasing the capacity to work collaboratively and as individuals. The course design continues to evolve based on current leadership and personal development practices and research. Topics have included identifying and shifting limiting mental models, creating frameworks of possibility, Polarity Management, Appreciative Inquiry, navigating difficult conversations, adult developmental theory, story, personal development planning, and peer coaching. (2 credits per course for a total of 8 credits) Prerequisites: LPD courses must be taken in order, LPD6511 through LPD6514

Year 1, Spring

COR6520: Values and Value Creation (13 credits) 

Working in teams, students develop a business concept to address one or more of the significant global challenges identified during the first semester. Students learn concepts and skills from the domains of strategy, marketing, operations and accounting, and apply them to the creation of a hypothetical enterprise that creates value in the marketplace while expressing in action the deepest values of the founding team. Students build upon financial concepts introduced during the first semester, learning to apply both conventional and triple bottom line accounting tools to motivate, measure, analyze, align and report performance. The class also explores options for structuring and financing new and existing ventures. Prerequisite: COR6510

LPD6512: Leadership and Personal Development (LPD) II (2 credits) 

LPD meets for four semesters over two years. To cultivate learning community and leadership skills, the curriculum is designed to support personal awareness and growth while increasing the capacity to work collaboratively and as individuals. The course design continues to evolve based on current leadership and personal development practices and research. Topics have included identifying and shifting limiting mental models, creating frameworks of possibility, Polarity Management, Appreciative Inquiry, navigating difficult conversations, adult developmental theory, story, personal development planning, and peer coaching. (2 credits per course for a total of 8 credits) Prerequisites: LPD courses must be taken in order, LPD6511 through LPD6514

Year 1, Summer

Students may take optional summer elective courses that can count towards their credit requirements for the second year of the program or take advantage of the time off with internships and fellowships to deepen their experience.

Year 2, Fall

ALP6551: Action Learning Practicum (ALP) I (5 credits) 

Students are required to participate in a practicum track for two semesters during the second year of their program. The curriculum is designed to provide students with the option to select one of two areas of focus, which they will follow throughout the practicum:
• Organizational Leadership
• Social Entrepreneurship
In the first semester of the practicum, students will:
• Identify a problem worthy of their time and research
• Research the issue or opportunity and identify the target population
• Consider possible solutions or alternatives
• Determine a practicum project for the balance of the year
• Engage in a specific issue with stakeholders
• Apply skills and tools to real world issues
Prerequisite: COR6520

FIN6561: Managerial Finance (4 credits) 

The first part of the course covers macro-finance, with a focus on financial systems and the operation of global capital markets, their relationship to the global economy, their central role in the recent economic crisis, and implications for public policy and ethics.
The second part of the course explores topics relevant to both entrepreneurial and corporate finance, including: the cost, sources and appropriate uses of debt, equity and internal capital; specialized financial vehicles, business valuation; venture capital agreements and initial public offerings (IPOs); and the accountability of boards. There is a special emphasis on appropriate sources of funds for social enterprises and other “for-benefit” opportunities.
Prerequisites: COR6520 -or- faculty permission.

LPD6513: Leadership and Personal Development (LPD) III (2 credits) 

LPD meets for four semesters over two years. To cultivate learning community and leadership skills, the curriculum is designed to support personal awareness and growth while increasing the capacity to work collaboratively and as individuals. The course design continues to evolve based on current leadership and personal development practices and research. Topics have included identifying and shifting limiting mental models, creating frameworks of possibility, Polarity Management, Appreciative Inquiry, navigating difficult conversations, adult developmental theory, story, personal development planning, and peer coaching. (2 credits per course for a total of 8 credits) Prerequisites: LPD courses must be taken in order, LPD6511 through LPD6514

Elective I (4 credits)

Year 2, Spring

ALP6552: Action Learning Practicum (ALP) II (5 credits) 

In the second semester of the practicum, students will:
• Gather data and incorporate it into a plan
• Continue to engage in a specific issue with stakeholders
• Continue to apply skills and tools learned earlier in the year to real world issues
• Finalize plans for launch and/or implementation
Prerequisite: ALP6551

MGT6578: Organizational Systems and Change (4 credits) 

Human systems in the organizational environment influence the way people behave, the options available for action, the relationships that form, the learning that is possible and in many cases, the meaning that people apply to their work. The first part of the course examines the role and nature of systems embedded in organizations and those of which the organization is a part. Systems shape the flow of information, the rewards, the strategic development process, budgeting, hiring, power and other elements of organizations. This course will enhance understanding of organizational systems, public or private, and the impact of those systems on management action.

The second part of the course discusses the view that management challenges for every sector (business start-up, large organization change and community) require a common set of skills and competencies. This part of the course covers community, entrepreneurial and organizational dynamics, including management within systems, complexity, power and politics; system and functional structures; adaptive leadership and generative management skills; stakeholder assessment and communication skills related to project management and staff relations; motivational and relationship theories; diversity perspectives; fiscal accountability; and talent management, including recruitment, training and retention of employees, teams and clients. Prerequisites: COR6520 -or- faculty permission.

LPD6514: Leadership and Personal Development (LPD) IV (2 credits) 

LPD meets for four semesters over two years. To cultivate learning community and leadership skills, the curriculum is designed to support personal awareness and growth while increasing the capacity to work collaboratively and as individuals. The course design continues to evolve based on current leadership and personal development practices and research. Topics have included identifying and shifting limiting mental models, creating frameworks of possibility, Polarity Management, Appreciative Inquiry, navigating difficult conversations, adult developmental theory, story, personal development planning, and peer coaching. (2 credits per course for a total of 8 credits) Prerequisites: LPD courses must be taken in order, LPD6511 through LPD6514

Elective II (4 credits)

Electives

Students may receive a Certificate in Cooperative Management by completing selective courses along with an approved focused project as part of the required Action Learning Practicum sequence.

Alternatively, students may choose a combination of electives to satisfy elective credit requirements.

Please note that electives listed below may not all be offered in all years, and additional electives may be offered and defined closer to the year in which they are offered.

Cooperative Management

Introduction to the Cooperative Sector

Governance and Finance in the Cooperative Sector

Managing the Cooperative Enterprise

Cooperative Practicum/ International Cooperative Field Study

Other Electives

Dal LaMagna Series on Responsible Capitalism: International Study Tour

Creativity & Innovation

Want to visit a class and meet the students and faculty to experience it yourself?  Register for a Sustainable Saturday Event.

The perfect setting to tackle the world’s wicked problems.

Students and faculty meet in person for monthly four-day residencies (mid-day Thursday through mid-day Sunday) at IslandWood. IslandWood is a 255-acre LEED Gold environmental education center on Bainbridge Island, Washington. Between monthly intensives, students attend class online and engage with faculty, guest speakers and each other through multiple distance learning technologies. This design allows students from across the United States to participate in the Hybrid MBA program while continuing to live and work in their home communities.

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