Gain a new perspective on sustainability.
New study abroad opportunities are offered every semester. Contact Babson’s Glavin Office of Multicultural & International Education for current opportunities.
Social Responsibility in Malaysia
This course offered the study of and opportunity for hands-on contributions to high-quality social enterprises and corporate social responsibility programs in the world’s most economically developed Muslim community. Malaysia also is a multiethnic society with communities of Chinese, Indian, and native peoples for which government, corporations, and social enterprises are developing strategies for social coherence. For more than 150 years, American management models have dominated the enterprises of the world. Now, as we enter the second decade of what some call the “post-American century,” it is vital for Americans and everyone else to open themselves to lessons that can be learned from others. Malaysia’s underappreciated economic success, as well as its large challenges in sustainability and social justice, make it a potential teacher for the rest of us.
Within the business world, there is growing evidence and increasing acceptance that sustainability and environmental practices are the main drivers for current innovation and success. We developed an interdisciplinary, offshore course where undergraduate business students could truly investigate and experience the benefits of environmentally and socially responsible business through the lens of the ecotourism industry. Many in the environmental movement, as well as those who teach about it, see business and environmental issues as being in opposition to each other. We found that this is definitely not the case. By exploring the important ways in which ecology, law, policy, ethics, and culture need to inform business decisions, students were able to apply what they learned in the course to capstone projects in which they created business plans that took into account the ecology of the land, the laws they must adhere to, the culture of the Costa Rican people, and the financial opportunities for socially and environmentally responsible entrepreneurs.