Originally published on TopMBA and republished with permission.

Responsible management is the commitment to acknowledging the ethical and environmental impact of business decisions, ensuring businesses make a positive and sustainable impact. 

There is a growing demand for graduates with expertise in these areas and today’s business leaders must prepare to be socially responsible and ethical managers. 

The Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM) at the University of New South Wales Business School’s MBA programmes are grounded in the principles of responsible management – a curriculum that was developed in collaboration with The Ethics Centre.  

AGSM is the first business school in the country to offer a fully integrated globally responsible management curriculum throughout all its courses, which are intentionally designed to enable a new generation of leaders to be responsible, sustainable, ethical leaders throughout their careers.  

Based in Sydney, Australia, AGSM’s new responsible management curriculum equips MBA graduates with the skills they need to meet this demand for ethical expertise in industry.  

Here’s why MBA candidates should care about responsible leadership: 

Respond to challenges in a socially conscious way 

Responsible leadership is not an afterthought – it must be woven through all practices of managers and leaders.  

Business leaders need to be able to respond to the many challenges facing enterprises today. 

With the threat of climate change, modern slavery and the growing need to address wider issues, it is more important than ever that leaders approach business problems from a socially conscious perspective.  

As a business school student, learning to approach problems in a socially responsible way can also make you significantly more employable.  

Associate Professor Michele Roberts, AGSM’s Academic Director said: “The pace of change in workplaces right now is truly unprecedented, and the skills we need at work have changed. The need to engage, learn and then implement ideas quickly is more dramatic than ever.” 

As one of the leading business schools in the world, AGSM @ UNSW Business School’s MBA programmes are globally ranked in several influential international and domestic rankings to externally benchmark its programmes against the world's leading business schools: 

- The AGSM Full-Time MBA ranks 35th among the best global MBA programmes in the QS Global MBA Rankings 2022

- The AGSM MBA (Executive) ranks in the top 10 in Asia Pacific and 33rd in the world in the QS Executive MBA Rankings 2022

- The AGSM MBAX (Online) ranks fourth in the world and first in Australia in the QS Online MBA Rankings 2022.  

AGSM has recently adapted its Full-Time and Executive MBA programmes to better equip graduates with the skills and capabilities executives need to be socially responsible managers.  

The updated MBA curriculum equips managers with the skills needed to embrace and respond to the challenges facing the world now and in the future. 

This new curriculum places a stronger focus on building competences and knowledge as well as soft skills. This strengthens the career outcomes for students and ensures they are equipped for the modern workplace.  

“Soft skills, or interpersonal skills, include the ability to lead and build culture in distributed workforces, to communicate when you can't have your employees in the same room on a Monday morning. But there’s also the increased need to lead and build culture in a contingent workforce,” Associate Professor Roberts said.  

Co-creator of the new curriculum, Dr Simon Longstaff AO, Executive Director of The Ethics Centre and Adjunct Professor at AGSM @ UNSW Business School, says the new programme is in line with UNSW’s commitment to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME). 

The curriculum aims to equip people, especially managers, with not only the disposition, but the skills needed to embrace and respond to the challenges facing the world now and in the future. 

AGSM MBA candidates also get the opportunity to further tailor their learning and have the option to select electives in social impact and responsible management.  

Discover how AGSM’s MBA programs can help you become a responsible manager

Help to change business priorities to build a more responsible future 

Recently there has been a shift towards taking ethical, social and environmental impact into account when making business decisions, particularly as consumers are starting to make more socially conscious choices when purchasing products.  

By making business decisions in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, managers get the opportunity to contribute to meaningful change and benefit society.  

However, socially responsible decisions can sometimes compromise traditional business objectives, such as profit. Responsible managers will need to balance seemingly competing objectives to produce an outcome that is both good for business and for society. 

Businesses used to distinguish themselves from the competition by what they did in terms of a product or service. But now it’s just as much about what you mean – who and what you represent and the values and principles that shape how the business operates on a daily basis.  

“It’s a new ecology of meaning,” Dr Longstaff said. “And people are deciding whether they want to be a part of it, either as investors, customers, suppliers and perhaps most importantly, as employees. This new ecology requires managers who can actually align themselves and the whole business to core ethical foundations about what they’re doing and why.” 

AGSM is redesigning its MBA programmes for a rapidly shifting business world. Candidates will benefit from experimental, adaptive classes and immerse themselves in active learning experiences to build the practical skills needed to become responsible managers. 

Dr Longstaff said: “AGSM is responding to a felt need within the business community for a different kind of person, particularly for those who occupy the executive ranks. This programme can help people build and flex their ‘responsible management muscle’ so that they are fit for the future that’s coming.”  

AGSM’s faculty is also dedicated to promoting responsible management. Dr Longstaff says that while the faculty will guide students through the curriculum, he is keen to see a model where the students start making their own enquiries.  

“Students will be equipped with the language and skills needed to challenge assumptions, develop new insights and then give them practical effect,” he said. 

While sustainable development goals expose the potential consequences of inaction, they also reveal the opportunity to make meaningful change – and the benefit of doing so.  

“Of course, there will be challenges, but this program will equip students with the skills needed to respond – for the better. And that's how business can help change the world for the better. Responsible management can be as rewarding as it is purposeful and exciting,” added Dr Longstaff. 

Learn more about AGSM's globally ranked programs here.