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The Aspen Institute ranks Daniels College of Business MBA program as one of the best in the world

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


New York, NY, October 21, 2009 – The Daniels College of Business demonstrated significant leadership in integrating social, environmental and ethical issues into its MBA program, according to the Aspen Institute’s 2009-2010 edition of Beyond Grey Pinstripes, a biennial survey and alternative ranking of business schools.  The school ranked 20 on a list of the Top 100 business schools globally.

“At Daniels, we believe that business should have a higher purpose, and profitable business practices can also have a positive impact on the world,” said Christine Riordan, Dean of the Daniels College of Business.  “While we have a century-old tradition of rigorous academics, courses on business ethics are required and are at the very heart of the College.  And the cornerstones of the Daniels experience are the critical thinking skills needed to make a difference in the future of business. “

While many MBA rankings exist, only the Beyond Grey Pinstripes ranking looks beyond reputation and test scores to measure how well schools are preparing their students for the environmental, social and ethical complexities of modern-day business. This year, 149 business schools from 24 countries participated in an 18-month effort to map the landscape of teaching and research on issues pertaining to business and society.  Relevant data collected in the survey, as well as the entire “Global 100” list of business schools, is available at:

“The best business students move quickly into the front ranks of business–and the attitudes and values they bring to the table are deeply influenced by their time in business education,” said Judith Samuelson, Executive Director of the Aspen Institute’s Business and Society Program.  “Will they accept the status quo or act on their passion about the positive role business can play at the intersection of corporate profit and social impact?  The schools that are competitive in the Beyond Grey Pinstripes ranking are the real trailblazers–they assure that students have the right skill as well as the will to make things happen.”

“In these challenging economic times, the general public, not just scholars, are questioning whether the established models of business are broken,” said Rich Leimsider, Director of the Aspen Institute’s Center for Business Education.  “Beyond Grey Pinstripes schools are thoughtfully pursuing new approaches.  They are preparing students who take a more holistic view of business success, one that measures financial results as well as social and environmental impacts.”

Sample Findings

–The percentage of schools surveyed that require students to take a course dedicated to business and society issues has increased dramatically over time, but at a slowing rate: 34 percent in 2001; 45 percent in 2003; 54 percent in 2005; 63 percent in 2007; 69 percent in 2009.

–Since 2007, the number of elective courses offered per school that contain some degree of social, environmental or ethical content has increased by 12 percent, from approximately 16.6 to 18.6 electives.

–The proportion of schools offering general social, environmental or ethical content in required core courses has increased in many business disciplines–Accounting, Economics, Finance, Management, Marketing, Operations Management–since the last survey in 2007.

–However, the percentage of schools requiring content in a core course on how mainstream business can act as an engine for social or environmental change remains low, at 30 percent.

–Approximately 7 percent of faculty at the surveyed business schools published scholarly articles in peer-reviewed, business journals that address social, environmental or ethical issues.  The titles and abstracts of the 1,211 articles are available at

School highlights from this Beyond Grey Pinstripes survey cycle are featured in a new guidebook for prospective MBA students, titled The Sustainable MBA, which is already available at and the Aspen Institute’s publication website.


The Aspen Institute Center for Business Education (Aspen CBE) equips business leaders for the 21st century with the vision and knowledge to integrate corporate profitability and social value. We help business educators incorporate issues of social and environmental stewardship into teaching and research by offering targeted resources, networks and a platform to share cutting edge practice among peers. As part of the Aspen Institute Business and Society Program, Aspen CBE maintains close ties with over 150 MBA programs in 28 countries. Our websites draw over 100,000 visits monthly and our events and networks attract over 1,000 participants each year. The Aspen Institute mission is twofold: to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues.

The Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver is ranked among the top business schools in the world by BusinessWeek, U.S. News & World Report and the Financial Times. In 2008, it celebrated its 100th anniversary and is among the first business colleges founded in the U.S. that includes Wharton, Chicago, Berkeley, Dartmouth, New York, Wisconsin, Illinois, Harvard, Northwestern, and Pittsburgh. As the eighth-oldest collegiate school of business in the country, Daniels has built a curriculum producing accountable citizens of the world who are business sharp, stakeholder savvy, and future ready.

Julie Lucas, Daniels College of Business
(303) 871-3379

Justin Goldbach, Program Manager
Business & Society Program, the Aspen Institute
(212) 895-8053│

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