The Sustainable Path To Business Success

There was a time when greed was good, and ethical practices and sustainable business took a back seat in business.

While the corporate appetite for profits has never changed, the public expectations of business leaders has, according to Associate Professor Chris Fleming, the MBA Director at Griffith Business School.

“It is widely recognised among the more innovative businesses that as an entrepreneur, a manager or leader your obligation goes beyond just shareholder return,” he said.

“You have responsibilities to your employees around their wellbeing, responsibilities through supply chains, and to customers. Ultimately you also have a responsibility to the community in which you operate.”

Sustainable business practices and responsible leadership are core elements of Griffith Business School’s MBA program, which was ranked fourth nationally in the 2017 Australian Financial Review Boss Magazine MBA rankings. It’s a legacy that stems from the origins of Griffith University and its commitment to sustainable development goals.

“An MBA program needs to equip graduates to understand this new space because the community demands a higher level of responsibility than they did in the past,” said Associate Professor Fleming.

While he concedes it’s a challenge for all businesses, it also creates a world of opportunity.

“The real solutions to the problems facing this world are going to come from innovators and private-sector capital,” Associate Professor Fleming said.

“Through our MBA program, we show our students that there may be expectations in business, but this shouldn’t be viewed as a burden. It should be looked upon as an opportunity.”

The Griffith MBA program takes a practical perspective when preparing graduates for the challenges of business in the 21st Century. More than 90 per cent of course convenors have a PhD, yet they are among the most engaged in industry, enriched with hands-on business experience.

This has drawn a national cohort of students to the program, each of them either striving for elevation to senior management in the public or private sector or seeking to start their own business.

Flexibility has been central to the success of the Griffith MBA program given that the majority of students are juggling active careers and family commitments.

“We’ve worked hard over the past few years to increase our flexibility so that all courses can be studied either traditionally in class or online,” said Associate Professor Fleming.

“It’s a program designed for people who are busy, always on the move and not physically able to attend classes all the time.”

The Griffith MBA program has proved life-changing for Ben Evers-Swindell, the Senior Manager of Corporate and SME at Air New Zealand.

Ben Evers-Swindell.

The ambitious professional and dedicated family man credits the program’s flexibility and online support capabilities for his career success.

“Griffith seemed very proactive with understanding the pressures and doing what they could to modify the way timeframes or assessment weekends worked,” he said.

“I found that engagement, constantly checking in and then modifying on the go, was really quite dynamic”.

Two years since graduating with a Griffith MBA, Mr Evers-Swindell has secured his third position at Air New Zealand. He accepted a role within the company’s Future of Work project while studying for his MBA.

“I wouldn’t have had the confidence to approach this role head-first without the MBA,” he said.

“I’d attribute a majority of my success at Air New Zealand to the confidence that the MBA has given me to take risks, to push boundaries, to challenge the business, to be more responsible, to be more community-focused, and to be more focused on sustainability. It has changed my life phenomenally.”

While Associate Professor Fleming concedes an MBA is challenging, the potential rewards are worth it.

“It’s one of the most powerful acronyms you can put to your name in the business world and we provide a space where students flourish as an entrepreneur or a leader,” he said.

“The Griffith MBA is designed to develop critical thinking skills among students and to help them identify new solutions that will improve the world around them.”


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Ben Ready
Ben Ready founded MBA News in 2014 and is the Managing Editor. He is a former business and finance journalist with Australian Associated Press (AAP) and Dow Jones Newswires in London. Ben completed his MBA in 2012 and was awarded the QUT GMAA Entrepreneurship Prize. He is also the founder and Managing Director of RGC Media & Mktng (