Bainbridge Graduate Institute

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Bainbridge Graduate Institute (BGI)
Motto "Changing Business for Good"
Established 2002
Type Private Non-Profit Educational
President Jill Bamburg
Admin. staff 15
Postgraduates 500+
Location Seattle, WA, USA
Coordinates: 47°37′41″N 122°31′07″W / 47.628105°N 122.518749°W / 47.628105; -122.518749

Bainbridge Graduate Institute (BGI) at Pinchot offers graduate studies in sustainable business. Based in Seattle, Washington, BGI was the first institution to offer an MBA in Sustainable Business and also offers an MBA in Sustainable Systems, and certificate programs in sustainability. With both a hybrid online and monthly weekend intensive format and a weekly face to face format, BGI offers students flexible options to become leaders in sustainable business, tailored to their personal and professional goals. BGI’s co-creative learning environment offers a unique opportunity for students to achieve positive economic, environmental and social impact for themselves, their businesses and the world.

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. In 2009, BGI was awarded the grant of accreditation from the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS). It is also accredited by the State of Washington's Higher Education Coordinating Board.

Programs of Study[edit]

MBA Programs[edit]

The MBA programs are designed for working adults. The program is built upon a learning community model pioneered at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA.

In the MBA in Sustainable Business program, students and faculty meet at one of the classrooms in BGI's Pioneer Square campus in downtown Seattle a few nights per week from 6 to 9 pm. All classes meet face-to-face. BGI's academic calendar uses the quarter system. Students of the Metro MBA attend classes year round in fall, winter, spring and summer quarters and may enter the program during any quarter.

In the MBA in Sustainable Systems program, 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 Hybrid MBA courses are offered in summer. A typical quarter at BGI consists of weekly online distance learning and three weekend intensives. Students can choose between a 2- or 3-year course plan.

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 at IslandWood, the LEED Gold Certified outdoor learning center on Bainbridge Island known for programs teaching stewardship and sustainability to school children and the community, 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

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

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[edit]

BGI also offers certificate programs in Sustainable Energy Solutions. Credits earned in the Certificate programs may be eligible for transfer into either the MBA in Sustainable Business or MBA in Sustainable Systems. The certificates are for people who want to make a future or existing business more profitable, equitable, and restorative to the environment.

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

Student body[edit]

BGI's student body has an average age of 35, and a range from 22 to 66. 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 full-time jobs in the private, non-profit and public sector.

Companies including Boeing, REI and 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.[1]

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." In 2011, BGI was the only school in the report where 100% of the student body agreed that they were committed to social and environmental issues.

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.

BGI alumni are recognized as thought leaders in the sustainability movement and the field of sustainable business, such as Kevin Wilhelm, Cecilia Utne, Kevin Hagan and others.


External links[edit]