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MBA Students Unite at Michigan Ross To Address Climate Change at the 2024 ClimateCAP Summit

Students gather to listen to Lt. Governor of Michigan Garlin Gilchrist

In mid-February, the Ross School of Business hosted the largest ClimateCAP event to date, with 406 MBA students from around the world assembling in Ann Arbor to exchange ideas about using business to address environmental sustainability concerns.

The ClimateCAP Initiative is a global partnership of more than 40 business schools working to give MBA students the skills they need to lead in a business landscape where climate action has become imperative.

This year’s two-day ClimateCAP Summit at Michigan Ross brought together 39 schools, 54 speakers and moderators, 33 educators, and 14 sponsors to assess the risks and opportunities associated with climate change.

“I was incredibly proud to host this year's ClimateCAP Summit. It was amazing to bring students from 39 different MBA programs together to discuss our generation's biggest challenge — climate change,” said Sarah Cohen, MBA ’24, one of the student co-chairs of the event. “While this problem must be tackled from different angles, I was particularly struck by the diverse set of interests the attendees came with. I met students interested in energy, agriculture, mobility, non-profits, the public sector, and more. It was inspiring to see so many people passionate about the same problem and excited about so many different ways to solve it.”

The event opened with a roundtable discussing climate and business education, featuring Sharon Matusik, dean of the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, Ann Harrison, dean of the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, Andrew Karolyi, dean of the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, and Stuart Hart, founding faculty director of U-M’s Erb Institute and one of the world's top authorities on the implications of environment and poverty for business strategy.

“There are many people with great ideas both in the United States and around the world, and a key component to the transition is certainly leadership from the business community,” said Dean Matusik when discussing the progress of making sustainability a critical aspect of business.

The remainder of the first day featured speakers from various industries, including energy, real estate, and climate equity and justice. Students in attendance also had the opportunity to network with more than 30 speakers, sponsors, and alumni attending the event.

Day two of the event was highlighted by a series of breakout panels where students and speakers had dialogues about topics including onshoring clean energy supply chains, corporate political responsibility, going beyond carbon neutrality in agriculture, the intersection of climate and AI technology, and more.

“In my opinion, the 2024 ClimateCAP Summit was a transformative and necessary experience for any MBAs interested in climate change and/or sustainability,” said Kyla Harrison, a Chicago Booth MBA student. “I attended a session on corporate political responsibility, a term I wasn't super familiar with prior to the conference, that was particularly insightful and engaging.”

ClimateCAP 2024 wrapped up at Michigan Stadium, where Michigan Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II implored students to treat the challenges of sustainability as an opportunity to work together and chart a path to a more equitable, prosperous, and sustainable world.

The final announcement of the evening unveiled the host of the next ClimateCAP Summit in 2025: the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.

“We are not here just to create chief sustainability officers,” said Ann Harrison, the California Haas dean, as she touched on preparing students to combat climate change from any role in the day one roundtable discussion. “Every single student is going to be encountering challenges related to climate change, whether it's in consulting or investment banking, you name it.”

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