Development of a curriculum integrating sustainability and responsibility in the MAccFin programme

Project A1-17

The class «Sustainability and financial management» (Original title: Nachhaltigkeit und Verantwortung im Rechnungswesen) was designed at the beginning of the project period in 2013 and held as a class from 2014-2016 to promote the understanding of sustainability and ethically responsible practices, especially in the field of future auditors, analysts, controllers and financial managers. The course offering was established as a selective class in the Master program «Accounting and Finance» at the University of St. Gallen but also open for bidding (the course allocation mechanism at the University of St. Gallen) for students of other Master programs. With this class, the University of St. Gallen (HSG) sought to addresses a key issue of the 21st century and to take the role of a strategic leader for sustainable development – especially in the field of accounting and finance, which is traditionally very much focused on solely financial issues. In addition to the course structure, the originality of the project was the unique combination of the project partners, which allowed viewing and discussing sustainability from different perspectives. Therefore, six chairs from different fields worked closely together. They were supported by advice from the Institute of Business Education and Educational Management to use proven and innovative learning approaches. Guest lecturers and discussants from corporate practice were able to shed light on actual challenges and discussed them with the students. As part of the examination, students had to write a reflective paper to discuss course topics and reflect on them. Additionally, in the final session, students were grouped into teams to elaborate and present sustainability strategy maps. In this task, students were able to apply the knowledge they gained during the previous sessions. In order to assess learning success of students, knowledge, sensibilities, and perceptions were tested by conducting ex-ante and ex-post surveys. Data as collected in these surveys indicated that students were able to effectively enhance their knowledge after the class and provided evidence that participants were increasingly sensitized with regard to the topics of the class.

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Project leader
Prof. Dr. Klaus Möller
University of St. Gallen
Institute of Accounting, Control and Auditing

Involved universities
University of St. Gallen

Project duration
01.06.2013 - 31.12.2016

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