Sunday, January 16, 2005

"Life is short. How can I make a difference?"

I have always believed that to solve the big social problems in the world we need the best brains in the world to work on them. The MBA degree attracts some of the best performers from various fields. And MBA graduates are one with knowledge, experience, networks and ofcourse money.

Business Week writes about the growing awareness in business schools and students all over the world about the need for being socially responsible.

The beginning of the new year is a good time to reflect on one of the more encouraging trends in business education: The growing numbers of MBA students who are embracing a socially responsible philosophy similar to Bayard's. Taking their cue from the September 11 terrorist attacks and the corporate scandals of recent years, many MBAs are looking to do more than just make money in the business world. They're working or volunteering for nonprofit organizatons, or seeking jobs at companies with a social mission -- such as Patagonia, a maker of outdoor gear and a supporter of environmental causes, or Target, which sponsors affiliated charities.

The shift in attitudes is having a big effect in the classroom. The nonprofit sector, once seen as a backwater by many MBA students, is enjoying soaring new interest. In the last five years, applications to BU's Public & Nonprofit Management program have doubled, McCormack says.

At other schools, students are pushing for a new emphasis on social responsibility and ethics. The Net Impact chapter at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School was vital to getting faculty approval for the spring 2005 course, Entrepreneurship and Social Wealth Generation, where students will help develop businesses plans that address a social problem. And around 45% of U.S. B-schools, up from 34% in 2001, require students to take one or more courses in ethics, corporate social responsibility, sustainability, or business and society, says advocacy group Beyond Grey Pinstripes.

MBA students are also doing more charitable work. At the Yale School of Management, second-year student Colleen Curry, who oversees the pro-bono consulting program, says her classmates are seeking the "double bottom line" -- making both a difference and a profit.

A few B-schools are emerging as leaders in integrating social responsibility into their programs. Beyond Grey Pinstripes analyzed MBA curriculum in a 2003 study and found that 6 of 100 B-schools surveyed -- George Washington University, Michigan, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Kenan-Flagler Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business, Yale, and York University'sSchulich School of Business in Canada -- are tops at integrating social issues into courses, offering relevant extracurricular activities and supporting faculty research on relevant subjects.
To profit, to make a difference and to make the world green - The triple bottomline.


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05 February, 2017 00:07  

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