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The skillzBainbridge Graduate Institute on Bainbridge Island, Washingtonmarker offers an MBA in Sustainable Business and a Certificate in Sustainable Business and a Certificate in Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Intrapreneurship. BGI's unique curriculum infuses social and environmental responsibility into all of its courses. BGI's mission is to prepare students from diverse backgrounds to build enterprises that are financially successful, socially responsible and environmentally sustainable.

They mean this mission in the broader sense – not only preparing our own students, but also helping other business schools integrate sustainability (i.e., environmental and social responsibility) into the heart of their programs. Founded in 2002 by Gifford Pinchot III, Libba Pinchot, Sherman Severin and Jill Bamburg. The school has grown in enrollment and impact over the years and in 2009 BGI was awarded the grant of accreditation from the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools.

Programs of Study

MBA Program

The MBA in Sustainable Business is a 2- or 3-year, part-time program designed for working individuals. Students and faculty meet in intensive classroom sessions for a 4-day weekend once a month, October through June, at the IslandWood environmental learning center on Bainbridge Island, 35 minutes by ferry from downtown Seattle. Between sessions, classes utilize a variety of distance-learning technologies to support student learning. This hybrid format combines our emphasis on building an immersive learning community with the flexibility, focus and self-paced engagement afforded by distance learning. BGI’s academic calendar uses the quarter system. No required courses are offered in summer. A typical quarter at BGI consists of weekly online distance learning and three weekend intensives.

The program is built upon a learning community model pioneered at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. The learning community formation begins with a 5-day orientation retreat at Channel Rock, our eco-retreat center on Cortes Island in British Columbia. The community continues to develop in face-to-face intensives once a month, supplemented with distance learning and online interaction.

MBA program credits are awarded for graduate course work in a combination of 3-credit and 1-credit courses. Individual courses may vary as to the distribution of lecture, lab and practicum.

Lecture/directed instruction can include a combination of:
    •     in-person and distance faculty lecture/presentation,
    •     faculty-moderated analyses and dialogue,
    •     case  studies,
    •     simulations,
    •     faculty-led exercises with debrief,
    •     facilitated classroom and web-based discussions,
    •     online conferences,
    •     guest speakers and panels of experts,
    •     threaded online discussions,
    •     computer-guided instruction, and
    •     other options.

Lab/practicum includes team-related work and collaboration to address assigned structured problems,beyond individual time reading and writing.

BGI offers content focus called Industry Concentrations that include:

Other program highlights include a strong focus on entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship with a capstone course and business plan presentation. Change Agents in Residence program that invites entrepreneurship, executives and activists to spend time with students in and out of class during an intensive. Action Learning Projects where students work in teams with companies that are working on timely issues about sustainability.

Certificate Programs

BGI also offers two certificate programs in downtown Seattlemarker, Washingtonmarker in Sustainable Business and Sustainable Entrepreneurship & Intrapreneurship. Up to 18 credits earned in the Certificate program may be eligible for transfer into the MBA program in Sustainable Business.

The Certificate in Sustainable Business is for people who want to make a future or existing business more profitable, equitable, and restorative to the environment.

The Certificate in Sustainable Entrepreneurship & Intrapreneurship helps people explore entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial opportunities in the context of sustainability by studying principles and practices of creativity, growth issues, stages of enterprise development, and what makes an organizational climate conducive to entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship.

Both Certificate Programs offer the opportunity to deepen students' understanding of entrepreneurial and sustainable business practices that champion social justice, environmental responsibility and profitability.

Student body

BGI's student body has an average age of 35, and a range from 22 to 66. Each year, students and faculty attend nine intensives. Students come from all over the nation and Canada. About 65% are from the Pacific Northwest, they also draw students from the Bay area and other parts of the US. The majority of students hold fulltime jobs in the private, non-profit and public sector.

Companies including Hewlett-Packard have reimbursed for some employees to attend BGI. BGI has attracted professors from some of the top universities across the nation (including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Virginia) to teach classes.

BGI was recognized as the #1 MBA program overall in Net Impact's ( report: "Business as UNusual: The 2008 Net Impact Student Guide to Graduate Business Programs." BGI has been rated #1 since 2006.

BGI was one of only a handful of business schools chosen by BusinessWeek magazine for its international list of Best Design Schools - schools emphasizing creativity, innovation and design as a strategic advantage.

President and Co-Founder Gifford Pinchot III

President and BGI Co-Founder, Gifford Pinchot III, Gifford Pinchot is a well-known author, speaker, and consultant on launching businesses and innovation management. He has helped to launch over 700 businesses, several of which are each doing over a billion dollars in sales. He has built four companies and sold three of them, one for a profit of over 100-to-1 for the original investors. He is a partner in a successful angel capital firm, Alacrity Ventures.

Mr. Pinchot has published three books. The first, in 1985, INTRAPRENEURING: Why You Don’t Have to Leave the Corporation to Become an Entrepreneur, was a business best-seller and introduced the concept of intrapreneuring – creating innovation within existing organizations. Intrapreneuring has now been published worldwide in fifteen languages and is a classic text in business education. The word “intrapreneur,” which was coined by Mr. Pinchot to describe the intra-corporate entrepreneur, has been included in the American Heritage Dictionary and Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary. In 1999, he co-authored Intrapreneuring in Action – A Handbook for Business Innovation, the long awaited follow-up. Mr. Pinchot has appeared on Larry King Live and the Today Show to discuss his approach to innovation.

In his second book, The Intelligent Organization (Berrett Koehler, 1994), written with Elizabeth Pinchot, the vision is broadened to include a revolutionary way of organizing all work, from the most innovative to the most mundane, that increases intrapreneurship and promotes democratic participation.

Since 1983, Mr. Pinchot has led Pinchot & Company, a firm that helps companies launch new businesses and implement more sustainable business practices. Its client list includes half of the Fortune 100 and numerous government and non-profit organizations as well as clients on every continent except Antarctica.

Mr. Pinchot has facilitated numerous sustainability projects. He has licensed two of his inventions. Mr. Pinchot graduated with honors from Harvard University in 1965 with an A.B. degree in economics, then completed his coursework for a Ph.D. in neurophysiology at Johns Hopkins University.

In 2008, Executive Excellence Publishing listed Gifford as number 32 in their Excellence 100 - The top 100 Leadership Consultants. Also, in 2008 he was awarded a Doctor of Laws Honoris Causa from the University of Puget Sound.

In March 2009 he was awarded The Olympus Lifetime of Education Innovation Award. The national program, executed by Olympus in partnership with the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA), recognizes individuals who have fostered or demonstrated innovative thinking in education.



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