Array (  => June  => 15,  => 2021 )15June
Becoming a Successful Sustainable Entrepreneur: How a Key Module Can Kick-start Your Sustainable Career Path
At TUM School of Management, we are on a mission to achieve sustainable development and the Sustainable Development Goals 2030. Guiding entrepreneurship towards sustainability is essential for that. As part of our master’s programs, we established the key module ‘Sustainable Entrepreneurship: Theoretical Foundations’. In this seminar, we go beyond a simplistic win-win rhetoric, sharing profound knowledge in sustainable entrepreneurship research, discussing the difficulties of balancing the triple bottom line, the gap between sustainable entrepreneurial intentions and action, the role of culture, gender and diversity.
After recently introducing our PRME report and path to sustainability, we spoke with Clara Reinartz, Fabienne Demmerle and Kristina Stojanovska, three of our students, about their views on sustainability in teaching at TUM School of Management.
An entrepreneurial university teaching sustainability
Fabienne Demmerle first discovered her interest in sustainability in the first semester of her master’s program, when she learned about sustainable entrepreneurship in her Qualitative Research course with Prof. Belz, who holds the Chair of Corporate Sustainability and is the PRME Sustainability Manager. Clara Reinartz on the other hand found her fascination for the possibility to generate social impact with entrepreneurial means through an internship. Through her sociology studies, she had already acquired theoretical knowledge about the dynamics of societal change, social justice, and inclusion as well as environmental sociology. Entrepreneurship, however, had remained uncharted territory for her. “Since TUM School of Management is known for being an entrepreneurial university, I figured it would be a good place to fill this knowledge gap,” Clara explains. With the Master in Consumer Science at the TUM School of Management, she found a program in which she could learn about simultaneously addressing social as well as ecological problems with one business concept.
Kristina Stojanovska also had no experience with any academic courses targeting sustainability prior to starting her master’s degree at TUM School of Management. She says: “I really wanted to get a good grasp of the basics, both in terms of theory and practice. The module ‘Sustainable Entrepreneurship: Theoretical Foundations’ offered a comprehensive introduction to the theories underpinning sustainable entrepreneurship.”
Within the course, the emphasis on group work and practical exercises ensures that lessons are interactive and that different opinions and approaches are taken into account. Kristina continues: “Our classes are very diverse and there are always multiple opinions to be heard.” Clara adds: “On the one hand, I have gained a lot of necessary hands-on knowledge to get involved with entrepreneurship. On the other hand, I have personally really benefitted from looking at the phenomenon of sustainable and social entrepreneurship through a theoretical lens as an emerging field in research.” Fabienne agrees as she explains: “I thoroughly enjoyed the combination of theory and practice throughout the program.”
To ensure that our students get to individualize their timetables according to their interests, all our master’s programs offer a variety of courses to choose from, allowing students to select what suits their interests. Clara, for instance, mainly focused on sustainable entrepreneurship but complemented those seminars with classes such as Environmental Policy, Renewable Energy Systems in the Global South and Business Ethics. “This flexibility in the selection of courses led to a diverse course composition and allowed me to network and get to know people from different fields. Especially in the context of sustainability, which requires holistic approaches and solutions, this interactive and interdisciplinary teaching is important,” Clara states. Student initiatives around sustainability complement the teaching aspect with a support system for students who want to take their knowledge a step further and start their own businesses.
“Choosing the sustainability module of the master’s program will equip you with some valuable tools,” says Fabienne. Kristina concludes: “If a student is motivated to make use of all the resources provided by TUM School of Management and the respective program, they are well on their way to becoming a successful sustainable entrepreneur.”