How to live the sustainable idea

Published: 2022-11-28

The Master’s in International Strategic Management is one of LUSEM’s flagship programmes. The programme is ranked among the top 100 master’s programmes in the world by Financial Times, and programme director Ulf Ramberg is constantly on the outlook for novel approaches to develop the programme to stay competitive.

The kick-off tour visited the companies IKEA Social Entrepreneurship, Oatly, Botildenborg and Wihlborgs fastigheter shown in the picture.

I hope that the students on the “Living the sustainable idea”-track will connect the lessons in the programme with what organisations can do from a strategic perspective. The track ends just before the students start writing their Master’s thesis in the spring. They will then be better equipped to think about the implications of sustainability for business in their future career.
- Ulf Ramberg

This academic year, the MSc students at International Strategic Management were invited to join an extra-curricular track called “Living the Sustainable Idea”. Half of the students in the programme have accepted the challenge so far. Programme director Ulf Ramberg developed the track in collaboration with colleagues at the School like Ester Barinaga, a professor in social entrepreneurship and project manager Martina Oxling at the Sustainable Future Hub.

Ulf Ramberg, what is the extra-curricular track ”Living the sustainable idea” about?

”In essence, it is an extra-curricular track with a focus on sustainability issues that does not provide any credits, aiming at inspiring students. It culminates in a week-long project of the student's choosing. In our capacity as teachers, we aim to bring sustainability into our teaching in many ways, for example, through coursework, and case training. We really do try to get creative. I feel that the biggest challenge in sustainability teaching is to make the students reflect on which aspects that affect them, and what they then can have an immediate impact on. Our clever students already have thoughts about the future, but what can they act on right now?
To amplify the track, we have worked with Martina Oxling at the School’s Sustainable Future Hub and Ester Barinaga, a professor in social entrepreneurship. Their contributions will inspire the students and provide several perspectives on sustainability. The students get to think freely, without us teachers giving them a framework. It’s very much a free-form project where we balance the courses and this track.”

A new addition to the International Strategic Management programme

This is the first time Ulf Ramberg has tried something like this, and his ambition is to keep offering this track to International Strategic Management students.

“We will arrange more activities in the track, and the culmination of the project is that the students will choose a week to “live their sustainable idea”, and document it in some way. My hope is to see not just reports, but films, tangible objects or maybe something completely novel, and that we will be able to build a library of assets. A prize will be awarded to a student who has been specific about what sustainability is for them, and why they themselves need to change. But ultimately, I hope the track will impact their thinking and behaviour,“ says Ulf Ramberg.

Students will be better equipped to think about the implications of sustainability for business

“To launch the track, we had a kick-off on 9th November where we visited IKEA, Oatly, Botildenborg and Wihlborgs The companies are all in different sectors, giving the students several perspectives of sustainability. At IKEA, we got a closer look at their social entrepreneurship. Oatly had an environmentally sustainable perspective based on their products. Real estate is not always a sustainability-focused industry, but the Malmö based company Wihlborgs see themselves as region builders who are aiming for long-term sustainable growth,” says Ulf Ramberg.

Voices on the track:  

Andrea Wessels, a Student at International Strategic Management says: “For me, an important takeaway from both the programme and the concept of “Living the Sustainability Idea” is the realisation that there is absolutely no time to waste concerning sustainable development. Although it has always been a big interest of mine, I now realise that this topic is urgent, and I need to start acting. For me, that starts with finding a job after graduation that contributes to sustainable development. The combination of the programme and the “Living the sustainable idea” concept makes us both more aware of current issues. Still, it educates us on the many forms that sustainable development can take. It inspires me and gives me hope, but it also shows me that my generation has a complex way ahead of us”.

Mia Rolf, Marketing and communication manager at Wihlborgs says: “We are a Malmö based company, and we try to make sure the properties we buy are renovated to modern sustainable standards, with care for the city and the environment. We see ourselves as a region builder. We are aiming for long-term sustainable growth, consisting of three elements: property management, project development and support functions.”


Ulf Ramberg, Associate professor

The MSc in International Strategic Management is a one-year programme for bachelor’s in business administration, interested in how to analyse, formulate and implement strategies and in becoming a senior organisational leader.
Read more about the programme here

An example of collaboration on sustainability at the School

The "Living the sustainable idea" is a voluntary track on the side of the MSc programme International Strategic Management made possible by collaboration with colleagues at the School. The kick-off tour visited the companies IKEA Social Entrepreneurship, Oatly, Botildenborg and Wihlborgs fastigheter.

Sustainable Future Hub project manager Martina Oxling has participated as an advisor for the track, and planned and led the kick-off.

Professor Ester Barinaga offers the students a series of four extra-curricular inter-program activities, where various initiatives to re-organise the economy here and now are discussed.

Want to know more about sustainability at LUSEM? Read more here!