Human rights is now on the MBA syllabus following the mounting pressure that global companies are coming under to respect and uphold human rights across their entire value chains.
A few business schools have created entire centers for business and human rights that focus on both teaching and research. Other institutions have created specializations for MBA students who want to become experts in human rights and sustainable business.
And some offer full-length MBA courses in the subject, while others still offer case studies focused on human rights within wider corporate responsibility courses, both required and elective modules.
Generally speaking, these offerings teach MBA students about mitigating human rights risks across their operations and supply chains. The courses will also go over the integration social and environmental responsibility into business models without sacrificing financial returns, and facing media coverage and public scrutiny.
But not every institution has offered such a curriculum and the teaching of human rights in MBA programs remains in its infancy. Here are the top 10 such offerings:
The NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights was setup in 2013 in New York City. The first center dedicated to human rights at a business school, it has developed a series of MBA courses, teaching models and tools focused on addressing human rights challenges across economic sectors.View School Profile
Berkeley Haas School of Business in California launched its full-length MBA course, Managing Human Rights in Business, in 2016. It was the first business school to do so. The teaching draws on the expertise of the Human Rights and Business Initiative, which is a joint
initiative with Berkeley Law’s Human Rights Center and the Center for Responsible Business at Berkeley Haas.
The Geneva School of Economics and Management (GSEM) in Switzerland has created a specialization for students interested in becoming experts in sustainable business and human rights. GSEM also runs the Geneva Center for Business and Human Rights, the first of its kind in Europe.View School Profile
In 2016, the UK’s Alliance Manchester Business School funded a new initiative: The Business and Human Rights Catalyst, one of the first human rights programs at a business school. Alliance Manchester teaches its MBA students about their direct responsibility to respect human rights as future business leaders.View School Profile
The AACSB-accredited University of Connecticut School of Business launched the Business and Human Rights Initiative in partnership with the Thomas J. Dodd Center and the Human Rights Institute. The Initiative supports the learning of MBA students and current course offerings include Corporate Social Impact, Business Solutions to Societal Challenges, Assessment for Human Rights and Sustainability, and Politics and Human Rights in Global Supply Chains.View School Profile
Copenhagen Business School is one of few academic institutions worldwide that offer courses specifically on the intersection of business and human rights. The school in Denmark offers two such MBA courses and the institution also hosts several conferences and research seminars on human rights each year. This programming is part of the school’s wider commitment to corporate sustainability.View School Profile
Harvard Business School has developed case studies about business and human rights that it teaches to MBA students. This topics covered include the definition of human rights, the business leader’s role in upholding human rights, and the legal liability of companies and executives who violate human rights. HBS also hosts an annual Business and Human Rights Conference that serves as a further opportunity for students to learn from business leaders and government officials.View School Profile
At the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, some faculty have developed cases about business and human rights, which teach MBA students about mitigating human rights risks across the supply chain. The students also learn how to integrate social and environmental responsibility into business models without sacrificing financial returns, and how to face media coverage and public scrutiny.View School Profile
The Mendoza College of Business MBA program also includes case studies that touch upon human rights issues including how to balance an idyllic corporate philosophy with the need to grow and capture market share. Such subjects are discussed in the course called Foundations of Ethical Business Conduct, which is a required module in the core curriculum.View School Profile
The International Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, at the UK’s Nottingham University Business School, focuses on business and human rights. It seeks to define the challenges of corporate responsibility towards human rights, and improve students’ knowledge on global governance dynamics and people’s fundamental rights.View School Profile