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International Master in Sustainable Development and Corporate Responsibility

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  • Objectives
    The purpose of the IMSD programme is to prepare a new generation of responsible business and community leaders that will take organisations and policy makers to meeting the global challenges of the 21st century.
  • Course description
    International Master in Sustainable Development and Corporate Responsibility


    Common subjects (100 hours)


    Managerial skills
    This module addresses students personal and professional development. The emphasis is 100% practical in acquiring the different managerial skills required to address the challenges facing executive management. 

    Economic Framework
    Students will get familiar with the main concepts, procedures and tools of analysis of the economic environment. The general teaching objectives of this subject are on the one hand to establish basic knowledge on business and environment to allow further progress in the master.

    Corporate Strategy
    The strategist analyzes the industry environment and the internal generic conditions of its competitors in order to get clear conclusions about the situation of his company. He also analyses all the possible ways to compete within its sector. At the end, he will set the goals to drive the company into the selected direction.

    Accounting and Finance
    The aim is to provide the student with the view of the basic concepts and language of business. It completes the finance precourse that the students follow on an interactive mode. 

    Marketing
    The course shares a global vision of the marketing function, as a leveraging element of the company strategy towards a business model focused on customer knowledge, satisfaction and loyalty, while using imagination and innovative metrics and tools.

    Project management
    Is critical for a more efficient use of resources, effective cost control and compliance with project deadlines and terms. Various aspects and techniques are addressed, relating to planning, developing, management and control of projects learning to understand and analyse the various stages of the life of a project and its various activities and tasks. 

    Introduction to sustainability
    This subject covers the new role of business in society. Sustainable management of the private sector is not only key for business survival but it is also a fundamental element for the future of our society and its resources.

    Innovation management
    This subject prepares students to develop a managerial way of thinking which is familiar with innovation in a business environment as a key element for improving business competitiveness.

    An innovative outlook is encouraged in order to train professionals to develop and identify new opportunities and to respond in a rapid manner to the changing needs of clients and society.

    Entrepreneurial initiative 
    This module explains the process of creating ideas, their analysis and specification and how they are put into practice through projects which will create value for their organisations and for society. Students gain an in-depth knowledge of the management techniques and skills required in the process of implementing new business ideas and how to put these into action.

    Core subjects (470 hours) 

    - Theory and Practice for Development  

    Development perspectives
    The aim of the course is to provide students with a solid grounding in the key theories and debates relating to development. The first part of the course will offer an introduction to ‘development' from a historical perspective and an examination of new and alternative development paradigms. 

    The second part of the course will focus on development strategies with an overview of the key issues and actors involved in development promotion.

    Cross-sector Partnerships
    Students will explore the emergence of a partnership paradigm in which pressing economic, social and environmental challenges are addressed through crosssector collaboration. They will be encouraged to critically explore the concept of 'partnership' through an analysis of arguments for and against partnering and consideration of the process issues encountered when building partnerships between the private and public sectors and civil society.

    Management and measurement of sustainable development projects
    To ensure projects meet their development goals they need to be well managed taking into account environmental and social criteria. This module introduces the students to the Benefit-Cost analysis approach and its implementation to measure projects sustainability impact.

    Sustainability policies and programmes in International Organisations and the EU 
    This course analyses the role and responsibilities of the different institutions commissioned with the development, articulation and implementation of the new guidelines for policy making and change. 

    - Development and the environment

    Environmental and Energy challenges
    This course is divided into two main subjects:

    > Environmental Pollution: we will focus on providing a general understanding of major environmental issues such as water, air and soil pollution as well as the loss of biodiversity and its global implications for the planet. 
    > Conventional and Renewable Energies: different energy technologies will be reviewed from conventional forms such as coal combustion, to clean sources such as biomass, solar, wind and water. Students completing this course will gain a critical understanding in assessing the pros and cons of each of these energy options. The nuclear debate will also be addressed.

    Environmental Economics and Accounting
    Is an emerging discipline but also a controversial approach proposed to deal with current environmental challenges. It grows, evolves and changes day after day within a very dynamic framework. Environmental economics designs new instruments for the environmental policy such as the monetary valuation of ecological resources, the carbon markets or the ecological taxes. 

    Environmental Liability and Lobbies
    Students will better understand the political and legal context of environmental liability. They will review some of the most famous cases of environmental liabilities from the past years in terms of their economic, social and environmental consequences. Additionally students will get to know what lobbying is, how this activity is being carried out in the world, particularly in Washington and Brussels, and they will gain skills to carry out lobbying activities by themselves.

    Sustainability policies and programmes in International Organisations and the EU
    This course analyses the role and responsibilities of the different institutions commissioned with the development, articulation and implementation of the new guidelines for policy making and change.

    Environmental Impact Assessment and Strategic Impact Assessment
    We will be studying the methodology with which positive and/ or negative environmental (and social) impacts of a project can be assessed. This evaluation must be carried out prior to making major decisions and investments.

    Climate change and Low Carbon Economies 
    The main objective of this course is to provide a better understanding of the global climate change issue: the causes of the problem; the uncertainties; its possible impacts, with a special focus on particularly vulnerable developing countries; its relations with energy, sustainable development and other environmental issues; the international context of the negotiations (Kyoto Protocol, emission trading, clean development mechanism, new global climate agreement under negotiation) and the adaptation and mitigation options at the international level as well as at the business level.  

    - Corporate responsibility and reputation management

    Introduction to Corporate Responsibility or What is a responsible business
    The course will study the intricate relations between successful sustainability strategies in the current business environments, paying specific attention to governance issues and business ethics. The importance of developing a strategic corporate approach to intangible management will be discussed, with emphasis placed on practical assignments, debates and role-playing.

    Integrating CR into business strategy and operations
    Students will study how Corporate Responsibility can be integrated into the company's strategy as a way to maximize the benefits for the company, and the use of the Balanced Scorecard as a tool to implement the strategy in operational levels.

    Risk and Reputation Management

    The increasing pace of change, customer demands and market globalization put risk management (RM) high on the agenda of companies and executives. All projects and every decision made involve a certain degree of risk, and RM offers the conceptual framework and tools to identify it and respond to it, at different levels: strategic, business and project levels. 

    Mainstreaming CR into the funcional areas
    Furthermore, students will learn how an organization can take advantage of corporate responsibility for its day-today business, and how to integrate CR into the different areas of the company, such as Human Resources, Supply Chain, Finance, Marketing, Communications, Quality and Environmental Management, or Corporate Philanthropy.
    CR in Small and Medium Enterprises
    The module will also analyze how Small and Medium Enterprises adopt CR approaches. This part of the subject is definitively an "on hands" workshop that shows the way through which any SME can integrate CR and Sustainability in its strategy and be able to report it to its stakeholders.

    Sustainability Indicators
    Students will work on the tools and techniques that CR professionals use when identifying key performance indicators (KPIs) to assess and manage businesses from a sustainable development perspective. More that 50% of the aspects that should be monitored by KPIs are company-specific, as opposed to general aspects of sustainability. 

    International Standards and CR
    Different international Regulations, Norms & Standards related to Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability aspects will be explored: environmental management, human rights, social audits, accounting, international rankings and ratings, etc.

    Sustainability Reporting
    Students will learn how to create clear and dataprecise sustainability reports (e.g. using the Global Reporting Initiative- GRI). Clear CR reports help feed information to the markets, develop strategies, engage with special investor relations firms, inform internal stakeholders and bring many other benefits for the organization.

    Business and Sustainability 
    This last module tries to combine the different topics studied in the previous subjects: once students are aware of the social, economic and environmental challenges of our current society, once the contribution of the private sector for a more sustainable development has been discussed, they are in the position to analyse several real initiatives to solve these great challenges. 

    Elective subjects or study abroad (30 hours) 
    Students should select from the range of available modules/subjects a maximum of 3 credits (30 contact hours) which will enable them to increase and adapt their learning capacity based on their conceptual interests, area of specialisation and future professional sector.

    Each elective module/ subject shall require a minimum of 8 students for the course to be implemented.

        * Sustainable Cities, Agenda 21
        * Rural Development
        * Water and Development
        * Energy and Development
        * GIS (Geographic Information Systems)

    International experience
    Students have the possibility to participate in a 1-2 week international experience where the group will attend classes at one of our prestigious partner institutions. The fees of this study abroad programme are not included in the IMSD global cost.

    Final project
    During the last months of the Master, a Final Project must be undertaken in teams of aprox. 3-4 students (this depends on the total number of students in class). A tutor will be assigned to work closely with the students in selecting a challenging case study, drawing a constructive analysis, designing successful strategies in an innovative and creative way.

    The Final Project should present an in-depth study of a specific problem or case in sustainable development (energy, rural development, private-public partnerships, corporate responsibility, eco-efficiency and eco-design…) using research methodology and data; it should also propose innovative solutions and sustainable change.

    • Schedule: Oct 2012 to Jul 2013
    • Place: Madrid
    • Price: €14.820
    • Dedication: Full Time
    • Length: 700 hours (70 credits)

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