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Daniels ranked 15th in the world by the Aspen Institute

DENVER, September 21, 2011 – The University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business has demonstrated significant leadership in integrating social, environmental and ethical issues into its MBA program, according to the Aspen Institute’s 2011-2012 edition of Beyond Grey Pinstripes, a biennial survey and alternative ranking of business schools. The College ranked No. 15 on a list of the Top 100 business schools, moving up from No. 20 in the 2009-2010 ranking.

While many MBA rankings exist, only one 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.  “At Daniels, we believe there is a greater purpose to business and that it can – and must – be a driving force behind positive change,” said Daniels Dean Christine Riordan.  “Daniels provides our students with an extraordinary educational experience that is transforming the face of business around the world – from village banks in Cambodia, to big banks on Wall Street, and from the Peace House for AIDS orphans in Tanzania to students building a net zero impact home in Denver.  The Aspen Institute recognizes that the big issues facing organizations today require unparalleled excellence in the educational institutions responsible for the next generation of global business leaders.”

This year, 149 business schools from 22 countries participated in a year-long effort to map the landscape of teaching and research on issues pertaining to business and society. “In all scoring categories used to determine the ranking, business schools have raised the bar,” said Judith Samuelson, executive director of the Aspen Institute Business and Society Program, which conducted Beyond Grey Pinstripes. “There are more courses with content on social, ethical, and environmental issues, more courses about the role of business as a positive agent for change, more exposure of students to this content, and more research published by faculty on relevant topics.”

This year’s survey marked the first opportunity since the global economic downturn to comprehensively measure the extent to which MBA programs have altered the content of their courses, and whether faculty are pursuing research that questioned assumptions about the role of business in society. “In the wake of the financial crisis we’re seeing an increased willingness to address these issues,” Samuelson said. “That willingness is coming from a variety of factors, including student demand, faculty readiness and a desire on the part of business schools to clarify what exactly they’re doing to prepare business leaders to serve the needs of society, such as job creation and energy conservation.”

Sample Findings
• Schools are adapting their curricula to focus on responsible decision-making in business and to examine the social and environmental context in which business operates and thrives.
• The core curriculum is changing across disciplines, including finance, accounting, marketing and management, with a striking increase in content on social, ethical and environmental issues in required courses.
• For example, there has been a 38 percent increase in the number of relevant core courses in Finance departments across schools; a 41 percent increase in Marketing departments; a 22 percent increase in Accounting departments; a 57 percent increase in Operations and Productions Management offerings; and a 22 percent increase in relevant core IT / MIS offerings.
• There has been an increase in the percentage of schools requiring students to take a course dedicated to business & society issues. This figure has increased since the first Beyond Grey Pinstripes survey, from 34 percent in 2001, 63 percent in 2007, 69 percent in 2009, to 79 percent in 2011.
• Social Entrepreneurship courses are gaining far greater prominence across MBA programs. It’s important to note that most of these courses focus not just on non-profit, mission-based organizations, but on how business models can be adapted in ways that produce companies that intentionally strive to achieve positive financial, social and environmental results. Between 2007 and 2011, there was a 60 percent increase in the number of courses being offered on social entrepreneurship among schools surveyed internationally.
• Faculty research covering relevant headline topics of the past few years, such as the recession and climate change, increased significantly compared to previous cycles. In the area of finance, for example, project researchers noted more articles published by faculty addressing the impact of Sarbanes-Oxley, disclosure practices and effects of the financial recession. We also saw an uptick in faculty research focused on renewable energy, climate change and carbon markets.

The Aspen Institute’s Business and Society Program, along with its Center for Business Education, seeks to create business leaders for the 21st century who are equipped with the vision and knowledge necessary to integrate corporate profitability with social value. To that end, it offers programs that provide business educators with the resources they need to incorporate issues of social and environmental stewardship into their teaching, research and curriculum development. The complete ranking of the Top 100 MBA Programs is available at This website also provides information on thousands of courses, extracurricular activities and faculty research at all schools that participated in the Beyond Grey Pinstripes survey.

As the eighth-oldest collegiate school of business in the country, Daniels has built a curriculum that focuses on important issues such as ethical business practice, globalization, entrepreneurship, and values-based leadership. In May 2011, Daniels was ranked the second-best in the U.S. in ethics; No. 15 in accounting; No. 23 in international business; No. 43 in sustainability; and No. 47 in financial management in the Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s annual ranking of the Best Undergraduate Business Programs by Specialty. In March 2011, BusinessWeek placed the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business at No. 64 in their undergraduate programs ranking, advancing 10 points from its 2010 ranking of No. 74. In October 2010, the Daniels College of Business Executive MBA program was ranked No. 95 in the world by the Financial Times – the sole Colorado school to be ranked. In April 2010, U.S. News’ part time M.B.A. ranking placed the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business program in the top 70 in the U.S.  In November 2009, BusinessWeek ranked the Daniels’ Professional MBA program for working professionals 53rd in the country, the only Colorado business school in the rankings. In October 2009, Daniels was named No. 20 in the world for teaching of business ethics by the Aspen Institute.  For more information, visit:


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


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