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Business Majors Can Now Bolster Credentials with Focus on the Environment

June 24, 2011
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Ecosystem Science and PolicyThe School of Business has partnered with the University of Miami's Leonard and Jayne Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy to provide students a unique undergraduate program that explores the business of environmental issues, as part of the School’s continuing growth in interdisciplinary studies.

The double major program allows undergraduate students to earn either a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) or Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) in either economics or management in the School of Business, in addition to completing a second major in ecosystem science and policy. The program offers a series of problem-based learning courses, culminating in a capstone course in the senior year team-taught by scientist and non-scientist faculty. Students also gain real-world experience by participating in internships with environmental organizations.

Offered for the first time this past school year, the program prepares students to address the environmental and business challenges of the future by emphasizing the integration of science and policy approaches to real-world environmental issues.

“What a lot of people are beginning to focus on now in terms of future growth is clean energy, and there are components to it that are both environmentally driven and have an important underlying business aspect,” says Will Drennan, director of the Abess Center’s undergraduate Ecosystem Science and Policy program. “The key here is carbon-free energy – either eliminating  the carbon emissions from  current energy production processes, or finding new ways to generate energy without producing carbon as a byproduct.”

Clean energy is projected to provide significant business opportunities in the near future, according to Drennan, who underscored the urgency of energy reform. “The economy has to be dramatically decarbonized within the next 20 years,” says Drennan. “This can be done a variety of ways: carbon credits, taxes, cap-and-trade, and subsidizing carbon-free energy. They’ve all been tried, but there’s no specific formula for getting it right. It’s a combination that our future business and environmental leaders will need to figure out.”

In fact, "green stimulus" efforts in clean energy by many of the world's major economies totaled close to $200 billion since late-2008, according to the Renewable Energy Policy Network’s 2010 Global Status Report. By majoring in both business and ecosystems science and policy, students will be prepared for careers in this sector as it continues to grow.
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