Starting point: Gifford Pinchot’s concern with limits of traditional MBA program

Organizing strategy: Create a graduate MBA program that focuses on sustainability, social entrepreneurship and collaboration

Tools: faculty, resource materials, students

Outcomes: Graduate program gains increasing acceptance as sustainability becomes more mainstream

Primary Resources:

Changing Business For Good

Starting in 2002, Bainbridge Graduate Institute offered the nation’s first MBA in Sustainable Business. Since then, more than 700 change agents have created a networked community like no other, with an 82% job placement within three months of graduation.

In 2015, BGI changed its name to Pinchot University to be better positioned for future growth. Our name may be new, but our core values are stronger than ever and our integrated programs still lead the industry in sustainability. We are a fully accredited graduate school committed to the common good.

Starting A New Kind of Business School

Pinchot University is built upon more than a decade of hard work, determination and belief in changing the world through business.

In 2001, Gifford Pinchot III was in New York preparing for a meeting at the World Trade Center on September 12. Instead, with the rest of the world, he watched the towers fall. His wife, Libba Pinchot, was studying in India, also watching the events unfold, not knowing where her family was or if they were safe.

Things had to change.

That week, a group of change makers, including Bob Willard and Amory Lovins, huddled around a hotel room. They knew the best mechanism for driving change on a massive scale would be the one with the most power: business. It was apparent we’d need new ways of making things, new ways of communicating, and new ways of conducting business. We needed to educate a new generation of strong business leaders who would operate business in a sustainable way that cared for the welfare of people and planet to ensure that future generations could thrive.

In 2002, with a mission to “Change Business for Good,” they started the Bainbridge Graduate Institute and offered the country’s first MBA in Sustainable Business. The early years attracted a diverse range of faculty, students and followers; people from a wide range of backgrounds, from artists to CEOs, who felt discouraged by traditional models of business and wanted something new and positive.

A Winning Formula

Since 2002, Bainbridge Graduate Institute has come to be a thriving institution, offering MBAs in sustainable business and industry-specific certificates, creating a network of more than 700 alumni. We were accredited in 2009 from the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACIS), in addition to our authorization by the State of Washington’s Student Achievement Council. With an expansionary mindset, Bainbridge Graduate Institute moved its headquarters to Seattle in 2012 and changed its name to Pinchot University in 2013.

Pinchot University is a university for the common good, offering two MBAs in sustainable business, certificate programs, professional development courses, and the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship (CIE), a program that provides entrepreneurship and enterprise support to under-served communities.

Our name may be different than it was when we started, but our core values are stronger than ever and our integrated programs still lead the industry in sustainability.

MBA Sustainable Systems

MBA Sustainable Systems

MBA Sustainable Business

MBA Sustainable Business

Certificate Programs

Certificate Programs

A Pinchot University Education

Pinchot students learn through doing. All our programs incorporate a balanced mix of theory and strategy, instruction and practice, idea generation and concrete tools. Learners explore how to make change within existing organizations, as well as develop new ventures, and then actually do it through a variety of in-class exercises and industry-based learning.

Business Skills to Change the World

Our degrees culminate in a practicum capstone. Learners in our MBA programs develop their own business plan or co-design and implement a project for executive sponsors in existing organizations. Certificate learners complete projects in their specific industry concentrations.
» Download the 2015-2016 Pinchot University Catalog