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Sustaining Impact Education - GBSN/CEMs Networking PDW at AOM 2014

Posted By Nicole Zefran, Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Business schools are increasingly looking for innovative ways to make a positive impact on society through their education, research and other activities. Around the globe pioneering educators are carving out new roles for business schools in the effort to tackle the myriad social and economic challenges our world faces. At this year’s Academy of Management Annual Meeting, GBSN partnered with the CEMs Global Alliance for Management Education network to co-host a breakfast and networking PDW, titled "How Can Business Educators Make a Difference at Home and Around the Globe? Sustaining Impact Education.”  The PDW presented current business school initiatives from 4 of our member schools that are making an impact on the lives of students and their communities in both developed and emerging countries.

Drawing from our elite network, we put together a diverse panel of speakers involved in innovative student programs. Panelists included:

  • Kristi Raube, Executive Director, Graduate Program in Health Management, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley
  • Lisa Jones-Christensen, Assistant Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School 
  • Olawale Ajai, Professor Legal, Social & Political Environment of Business, Lagos Business School, Pan-Atlantic University 
  • Veronica Vecchi, Professor, SDA Bocconi School of Management 

Find brief overviews of each institution's initiatives below

Institute for Business & Social Impact, UC Berkeley Haas School of Business

Professor Kristi Raube presented UC Berkeley Haas School of Business’ Institute for Business & Social Impact (IBSI), which she is the Associate Director of. IBSI’s mission is to inspire and empower members of the Berkeley-Haas community to develop innovative solutions to pressing social and environmental challenges. IBSI is comprised of four centers/programs that offer a variety of courses, activities and research, which span the for-profit, non-profit and public sector.

The Center for Non-Profit and Public Leadership: Prepares a new generation of cross-sector leaders with the practical skills to tackle complex global challenges and achieve social impact

The Center for Responsible Business: Brings together students, company leaders and faculty to redefine business and create a sustainable future

The Graduate Program in Health Management: Trains students for the future of health finance, health systems and new innovations in health care

The Global Social Venture Competition: Is the world's longest-running business plan competition for developing innovative business solutions to address social and environmental challenges

Social Impact Pathways Addressed:

>> Click here to Institute for Business & Social Impact Blog

Sustainability Leadership Capstone, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

Professor Lisa Jones Christensen presented UNC Kenan-Flagler's Sustainability Leadership Capstone, a course available to selected second year MBAs. Students undergo a competitive selection process to participate in the Capstone. If selected, students take no other courses. The Sustainability Leadership Capstone incorporates and strengthens proficiency of core business practices through experiential learning, individualized feedback, and classroom simulations. By taking students out of the classroom and into real-world engagements, students are immersed in strategies for how to use business as an engine for global and environmental change. Students spend three days in Eastern North Carolina and three weeks in Eastern Africa to translate how local and international issues of income poverty relate to sustainability and entrepreneurship. 

Focusing on systems and design-thinking and guided reflection, the course teaches students to identify and evaluate firm-level social, environmental and financial trade-offs. They are challenged to make decisions under conditions of extreme ambiguity. Crafting realistic and actionable change management plans, students learn to pack and sell sustainability concepts to not only friendly, but hostile stakeholders.

Watch a video made by students from 2013 Sustainability Leadership Capstone:

>> Click here to read the UNC Kenan-Flagler Sustainability Blog

Personal Responsibility Projects/ Social Impact Investment, Lagos Business School, Pan-Atlantic University

Professor Olawale Ajai talked about various personal corporate social responsibility projects & entrepreneurship course projects that students complete as part of the intense Executive MBA program at Lagos Business School.

Some examples he mentioned include: 

  • Executing a cancer awareness campaign
  • Fundraising for local orphanages
  • Adopting a school
  • Fostering the donation of refurbished computers from companies to schools 
  • School feeding from proceeds for social impact
  • Entrepreneurship project, challenging students to grow seed money. A recent student was given $40 of seed money and was able to turn it over to $15,000 in just four months
  • Donation of computers to schools from refurbished computers donated by companies
  • Business advisory for SMEs, etc. 

Impact Investing Lab, SDA Bocconi School of Management

Professor Veronica Vecchi talked about SDA Bocconi's Impact Investing Lab, a research lab, thats acts as national and international reference point, to endorse the development of Impact Investing as a new asset class with the ability to attract public and private funds. The Lab's mission is to generate knowledge, share experiences and bridge investors, entrepreneurs and policy makers, to develop new markets and businesses with social impact. The Lab aims to define the scope of impact investing and metrics to assess the generation of economic and social value, through a "street level" approach.

2014 Impact Investing Lab Activities:

  • generate research aimed at understanding the phenomenon of Impact investing
  • produce customized research and services for its clients and partners
  • organize a series of seminars and workshops open to investors, entrepreneurs and policy makers
  • contribute to the spread of Impact Investing culture and knowledge 

"It’s now time for encouraging all the actors to start applying a “reverse” approach: in other words there's nothing left to do but stimulate the key players (entrepreneurs, companies, investors and even the Government) to directly apply/experiment the key concepts underpinning impact investing into new businesses


This is what we are trying to do with our Impact Investing Lab, especially in Europe and in India (MISB Bocconi) …" 

>> Learn more about SDA Bocconi's Impact Investing Lab

Following the presentations, participants broke out into small group discussions, where they were able to discuss the presented school initiatives, as well as talking about their own institution's initiatives to give and gain valuable feedback from colleagues. Each speaker led an interactive discussion focused on participants’ regional and topical interests. With an appealing topic, the Networking PDW was a great success. A BIG thank you to Roland Siegers and the CEMs Global Alliance for Management Education Network for sponsoring the elaborate breakfast that participants enjoyed. Find pictures from the session below:

>> Click here to download the PPT presentation

Nicole Zefran is the Network Assistant at the Global Business School Network

Tags:  Experiential Learning  Impact Education  Social Impact  Sustainability 

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