Business, Leadership and Sustainability

This exchange programme will give you the opportunity to work in interdisciplinary teams with students and companies from all over the world. You will learn to think as an entrepreneur and develop a new innovative skill set. You will use creative and innovative methods to develop new sustainable business models and grow in your role as a leader. Learn to make an impact and become a game changer. Business, Leadership and Sustainability has been designed for students who wish to promote social, environmental and economic sustainability in their personal and professional lives.

Discover all about the programme in this video:

Why?

Today’s global social and environmental issues are complex and complicated. They cannot be solved by governments on their own. Companies and institutions also play a huge role in this necessary sustainable transition. By taking part in this programme, you will learn how to act upon these issues to make an impact.

How?

It is uncertain what various current developments will bring, but they are definitely here to stay. The Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and blockchain will provide our society and businesses with new opportunities.

As a course participant, you must prepare to embrace this uncertainty. You will challenge the existing business models from the perspectives of personal leadership and sustainable thinking. And you will develop new ones to make a meaningful contribution to the 21st-century embedded economy.

You will develop skills with respect to sustainable business models, sustainable strategy and transition, inner leadership, system thinking, ethics, creative thinking, change management, and intercultural collaboration.

In order to prepare you for the ever changing social and business reality, we will not provide traditional lectures nor specific books for you. In fact, rethinking a new economic system cannot be done with traditional teaching. Instead it requires a truly innovative didactic approach. Therefore, you will learn in a new, adventurous way by working on real-life projects and researching the business and sustainability themes that appeal to you. In this way you will shape your own learning path while contributing to the learning community of fellow students and coaches. That requires an inquiring, curious and open mind in addition to pro-activity, discipline and self-reliance. 

Coaches will support you in creating your own learning strategies, guide you through your learning process and act as sparring partners. You are fully accountable for your own learning process.

What?

You will benefit from the programme’s strong industry linkages as you will be working on actual projects with real organisations. Some of the projects previous students worked on in order to challenge the existing business models are:

  • How can the manufacturing industry contribute to a circular economy in North-Brabant?
  • Which business and/or societal solutions are possible to diminish the negative effects of ‘the last mile’?
  • How can Zero Waste NL develop a business model that allows the Zero Waste NL movement to become sustainable in the long run?
  • (A) Design the purpose-driven workplace of the future, (B) examine what is withholding organizations at this moment to become purpose-driven and (C) develop an integrated change-approach to turn these ‘traditional’ organizations to purpose-driven ones.
  • Based on multiple scenarios, how can Brundtland build an eco-village together with stakeholders that is sustainable and circular, both from the start and in the long run?

In order to answer these questions, students have conducted research in numerous fields of interest:

  • Planetary economy: challenging the models of endless growth
  • Re-thinking corporate strategies for a sustainable and equitable future
  • Transforming economic thinking towards sustainable development
  • Personal footprint: create your own model for a positive societal and environmental impact
  • Impact investment for both financial return and social and environmental good
  • Multiple value creation and social enterprising

Where?

This programme is part of the Bachelor of Business Administration at the School of Economics and Business Management in Breda. Breda is located in the famous Amsterdam – Eindhoven – Antwerp (B) triangle.

Meet your coaches

Ingrid Devjak

"I am an MBA post-graduate from the University of Bradford School of Management and I teach Business English for the bachelor's degrees in Accountancy and Finance & Control. In my role as coach and facilitator of this programme I stimulate students to find their own way of researching the field of sustainable business and ultimately make a real difference."

Joost van Hilst

"In the words of Kate Raworth: ‘Creating a business model isn’t simply about completing your business plan or determining which products to pursue. It’s about mapping out how you will create ongoing value for your customers and our society as a whole. In other words, to meet the needs of all within the means of the planet to ensure that no one falls short on life’s essentials, while ensuring that collectively we do not overshoot our pressure on Earth’s life-supporting systems’. I am looking forward to investigating that."

Chafik Cherkaoui Nahi

“Some of us have maybe heard of the saying ‘people who cannot practice teach’. Many teachers at Avans, myself included, have had careers working at various companies: banking, financial departments, sales, etc. We are here to reverse the statement above into: ‘Because we practiced, we teach’. My job is to coach and inspire, giving the student a broad, as well as a bright vision of his or her future. Helping the student to grow in his/her personal leadership and creating an added value in multiple layers. That’s what I love to do, that’s what I believe in, we definitely preach what we teach…”

Ben Berndt

"I spent most of my career at insurance company Nationale Nederlanden. My last function at NN was head of strategy and governance. At Avans I teach law, governance, risk management and compliance. Within risk management there’s a new topic called integrated risk management that also deals with non-financial long-term risks. This is also my starting point to further explore sustainability."

Meet former students

Maciej Fortunski

"Taking part in the minor of Business, Leadership & Sustainability was a positive experience which will resonate for the rest of my life. I have learnt that we as a species need to take responsibility for our actions, not only in scope of impacting the planet, but also the lives of other people. I have learnt that cooperation is key to success and that the real change, real impact, starts with myself. The minor also encourages students to look deeply into oneself, and nudges positive change; of character and view of the world. All the trips and assignments were great experiences, though I would have liked to see more lectures being done. Great time and great minor!"

Marta Teodoro

"I had been looking forward to study abroad for a long time and Avans University of Applied Sciences was an obvious choice for me. Here I knew I could develop my professional skills in regards to sustainability and leadership but also grow as a person and enjoy university life in an international environment. After finishing my experience here I can say I was able to do that and so much more!
This course has helped me to think more independently and to be more proactive: to search for things I can learn and things I can do regarding sustainability. The several group projects I have developed over these past months have also made me a better leader and encouraged me to keep improving my leadership skills.
I can confidently say I will never forget this experience. The skills I have learned and perfected here will be with me for the rest of my life. This was in a huge part thanks to all the amazing professors that guided and helped me on the several projects I worked on. No words in the world can describe how much they have helped me and inspired me. I would recommend this experience to everyone! It was definitely one of the greatest chapters of my life."