Ski Resort Life

Higher Education

Western Colorado University debuts an MBA program for the outdoor-career minded. It's the first such graduate degree in the country.

Your parents always told you: Make a career out of something you love to do, then it will never seem like work. Now it’s easier than ever to follow that sage advice. This fall, Western Colorado University, in Gunnison, rolls out the first ever MBA program geared toward careers in the outdoor industry.

The new offering is a two-year online program with either a Product or Service concentration. It’s designed for people already working in the outdoor industry who are looking to grow into leadership roles. Students take core MBA courses with the added benefit of specialized classes tailored to the specific concerns and challenges of the outdoor industry. But unlike traditional MBA programs, Outdoor MBA students take their specialized courses first. No matter which concentration is chosen, all coursework has an emphasis on sustainability, with classes such as Sustainable Accounting, Natural Resource Regulation and Economics, and Sustainable Outdoor Product Development and Material Sourcing.

Not coincidentally, Western Colorado University is an ideal location for such a program. Gunnison sits about 30 miles from Crested Butte and a few scenic hours from Telluride and Durango. It’s already a popular outdoor-industry feeder university, and we certainly don’t expect that to change anytime soon.

Originally published in the October 2018 issue of SKI Magazine.