Postgraduate degree programmes at Cranfield University

The Sustainability Group coordinates the School of Management’s sustainability-related teaching. This includes a core module on sustainable management in many of the school’s master’s programmes, ranging from the executive and full-time MBAs to the mainly pre-experience Masters in Management (MiM) programme.

The Centre also runs a specialist Master's in Management and Corporate Sustainability MSc. Drawing many of its core management modules from the MiM programme, students on this course also take three additional sustainability modules, one of which is run by the School of Water, Energy and Environment.

As part of studying at the Cranfield School of Management, will be invited to various events, conferences and competitions. Visit our events page to find out more.

A 'Serious Game'

Since 2018, Cranfield have been using a Scenario Exploration board game to help Masters students think about strategic decision making in the context of four different pathways towards a sustainable future by 2050. Players representing established businesses interact with players representing entrepreneurs, policy makers, civil society organizations and ‘the public voice’ as they all react to changes in economy, technology and society along these pathways. The ‘winners’ are judged not only by the amount of resources they have accumulated, but also by whether they have achieved their purpose, and the teams reflect on the nature of the world they have collectively created through their decisions.

The game concept was originally devised by the EU-Commission’s Joint Research Council (JCR), and this version of the game was developed in collaboration with Forum for the Future and the Academy of Business in Society (ABIS) as part of the EU-InnovatE project. Cranfield have since taken the lead in using and refining the game which has so far been played with over 200 students, with over 20 faculty and PhD students getting involved as ‘Game Hosts’ facilitating play at each table.

We are refining and improving the game with each use and have started to collect data on the effects on participants. Initial findings show that playing the game deepens students’ understanding of 1) the radically different, plausible futures that could unfold, 2) the role different actors play in societal change, 3) the interrelationship between business, society and the wider living world, 4) what might have to change in the world for sustainable development to happen and 5) the scope for business to both regenerate and degrade society.

There is open access to the visual assets required to print copies of the game for any other organisation wishing to use this innovative learning tool.

Student consultancy projects through company partnerships

Last year, students on the MSc in Management and Entrepreneurship and the MSc in Management and Corporate Sustainability carried out a consultancy project for non-profit Waste and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) whose mission is to help transform cities to benefit the millions who lack access to water and sanitation. WSUP asked the student teams to address key challenges relating to WSUP’s rollout of higher quality latrines in Madagascar, and to propose either 1) an improved sales strategy, 2) an improved tool for modelling the dynamics of the current sales model or 3) recommendations for alternative business models.

Cranfield have has a long-standing relationship with WSUP, primarily oriented around scientific research within Cranfield’s Water theme. This project helped broaden our collaboration to include the School of Management, as WSUPs focus evolves from innovation to implementation at scale. WSUP were impressed with the students’ innovative thinking and recommendations, and will be seeking input on a new set of challenges this coming year, as well as developing teaching cases with Cranfield. The projects gave the students a real-life opportunity to apply their management skills to balance both commercial and social imperatives.

MSc in Management and Corporate Sustainability students also had the opportunity to respond to a set of strategic questions posed by One Third, a start-up company, recently spun out of Ocean Optics (a division of FTSE100 Halma Plc). One Third want to use its parent company’s spectroscopy technology to assess the shelf life of fresh products and therefore reduce food waste for retailers. The students conducted analysis on the problem of food waste in the UK and Europe, the regulatory landscape around food waste, the relationship between plastic packaging and food waste and the pros and cons of ‘co-opetition’ between One Third and potential technology providers. One Third will use the insight to develop the strategy for this exciting venture.