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Social Impact Gains Ground At Business Schools

MBA students want to make an impact on society. Business schools are catering for social impact and social entrepreneurs, and many students seek internships with social enterprises.

Thu Jul 17 2014

Brad Krauskopf turned to a career where he felt he could have the biggest impact. His social venture, Hub Australia, was founded through IE Business School’s Net Impact Club.

His business, a collaborative empire of incubators and community centres, has grown to more than 1,000 members across three Australian cities. They are all branches of Impact Hub, a wider organization with global locations which tries to help people create “impact”.

“I met the founder of Hub Madrid through the IE club. I was inspired by how someone with very little resources made a huge impact,” said Brad, who specialized in sustainability and social innovation during his MBA.

He thinks that businesses which cater for social impact have a competitive advantage. “The individuals and organizations that can figure out how to harness the value of it will find themselves with a significant advantage over companies that don’t,” added Brad, who launched his first social venture in 2010.

His career path is unlikely, but business school students are now more interested in careers that have a social impact. Public and private sector organizations have responded by offering internship and job opportunities for MBA students.

The World Bank’s private sector investment arm saw postgraduate job applications more than double to 2,600 this year from 1,200 in 2013.

Dirk Holshausen, who works at CDC Group, the leading private equity firm that invests in businesses in some of the world's poorest places, said many of his colleagues have MBA degrees from top business schools, in roles from equity investing to posts on the fund of funds team.

“The company has recently returned to direct investing, while maintaining its fund of funds capability, and the teams are growing,” said Dirk.

Careers at CDC offer students the chance to invest with impact – in countries where private sectors are weak, and where growth leads to jobs for its citizens. The company’s portfolio of investments is valued at about £2.25 billion.

Mark Kochanski, from Rotman School of Management's Net Impact Club, said the group strives to affect positive social and environmental changes by empowering MBA students to use their skills to improve the world.

Members are encouraged to explore potential impact-career opportunities in diverse areas such as social entrepreneurship, sustainability consulting and renewable energy.

“I have developed a firm belief that companies can operate in a socially and environmentally conscious manner, and still realize sustainable long term profitability and growth,” said Mark. He plans to work in management consulting with a focus on sustainability.

The London Business School chapter of Net Impact, the non-profit organisation that supports social and environmental causes, has nearly 2,000 members, a 77% rise from 2010.

Pamela Hartigan is the director behind the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford's Saïd Business School. It was founded in 2003 with a reported £4 million investment by the Skoll Foundation’s Jeff Skoll, the founding president of Ebay – the largest such fund of its kind at the time.

MBAs have been lured into social impact and social entrepreneurship by the prospect of innovation, real change and challenging the status quo.

“Unlike older generations, they don’t want to wait until they’re 50 to give back,” said Pamela. “They want to start now. They want to do away with that traditional fragmentation that has separated where we make money and where we do good.”

Each year, the centre provides a crop of MBA scholarships to highly impressive candidates – Skoll Skollars – who plan to pursue entrepreneurial solutions for urgent social and environmental challenges.

One such Skollar is Chris Raine, an MBA student who received a scholarship, based on his social venture Hello Sunday Morning. The business helps people who desire to change their pattern of drinking or alcohol abuse. Users sign up to Chris’ website for a free online platform, and pledge to go sober for three months, and can blog about their experiences.

“The core of it is a sense of community; people that want to make a change in their lives get support from each other to achieve that,” he said. Chris graduates this summer and plans to return to Australia, where the organization is based, to work on it full-time.

His site has about 25,000 users. But he wants to double that every year for five years – “considering there are two-billion drinkers in the word, 200 million of which have some issue with alcohol in their lives”. Hs venture is funded by government health organizations.

Other business schools have reported increases in students wanting social impact summer internships. Yet they are often on a voluntary basis, making them less attractive to MBA students, many of whom are paying off tuition.

To combat this problem, schools have launched funds to support MBAs who pursue internships with impact.

NYU Stern created the Social Impact Internship Fund, a financial stipend of up to $10,000, which supports first-year full-time MBA students who wish to complete a summer internship working at the intersection of business and society. Several other schools have followed suit.

Recipients have worked with non-profit organizations, for-profit social enterprises, and started their own social ventures.

Many impact internships see students enter the public sector. Amanda Tincknell, the chief executive of the Cranfield Trust, said the public sector is under pressure to do more with less income.

The CT has over 700 volunteer consultants and hires talent from some of the best business schools in the world, who work with more than 250 charities. Cranfield School of Management, the UK-based school, offers a crop of MBA scholarships for CT members each year.

“There is an awful lot of demand out there for more support. Looking ahead at next five years, we need more help,” said Amanda.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for people who want board-level opportunities, and a great opportunity to develop skills as a manager.”

Student Reviews

IE Business School




On Campus

My Review

Madrid Is incredible, I've had a fantastic time at IE University. I've had some excellent lecturers overall. They sincerely want the students to flourish and are concerned about developing a personal relationship with them. Having said that, students typically must fulfil their half of the contract by putting in the necessary work and demonstrating a desire to achieve success.




On Campus

Coming Master

I spent 1 semester on my Erasmus during my BBA trip. This was the great experience and after that I decode to enroll for the master program there. I must say that the only disappointing fact is connected to distribution of the students. Master students are being connected to the old campus what is not fully fail.




On Campus

Former BBA

As the former BBA student I can say that the level of the learning is quite high. In addition the place (IE Tower) is probably one of the most innovative and networking-support place in the Europe. I totally recoupment this Uni for business students.




On Campus

International focus

IE university has a global perspective and attracts a highly diverse student body, with students from all over the world. This international environment fosters cross-cultural understanding and prepares students to work in a globalized world. This is same for the faculty members as well, the university's faculty members are from diverse parts of the world and are reputable. they are not only experts in their fields but are also often actively engaged in research and industry. Their practical experience and academic expertise create a stimulating learning environment.




On Campus

Loved it

IE University, in my experience as a student, stands out as an outstanding institution for higher education. Its international perspective is a major strength, evident in the diverse student body that represents a multitude of countries and cultures. Interacting with such a global community has broadened my horizons and deepened my understanding of various subjects, providing a rich and comprehensive educational experience. The quality of the faculty at IE University is exceptional. Many professors bring real-world experience to the classroom, making the learning process more practical and relevant. This approach not only enhances engagement with coursework but also ensures that students are well-prepared for their future careers. The accessibility of professors and their willingness to engage with students personally fosters a collaborative and supportive learning environment. Practical learning is another significant advantage at IE University. The integration of real-world projects, internships, and case studies bridges the gap between theory and practice. This emphasis on hands-on experience equips students with practical skills and industry insights, making them more competitive in the job market. IE University offers a wide range of programs across various fields of study, making it a versatile choice for both undergraduate and postgraduate students. This diversity ensures that individuals can find a program that aligns with their academic and career interests. However, like any institution, IE University has its challenges. The cost of attending can be a major concern for some students, as tuition fees are relatively high. While scholarships and financial aid are available, not all students may qualify for them. This financial aspect is an important consideration, particularly for those with budget limitations. The competitive nature of some courses and programs can create a high-pressure environment. While competition can be motivating for some, it may also lead to stress for others. Maintaining high academic standards can be demanding, and students should strive for a balance between excellence and well-being. The workload can be quite challenging, especially for students undertaking double degrees or heavily involved in extracurricular activities. Effective time management is essential to manage academic demands while maintaining a healthy work-life balance. In conclusion, I would recommend IE University to prospective students with specific considerations. If you value an international perspective, practical learning, and a diverse educational environment, IE University is an excellent choice. However, it's crucial to carefully weigh the tuition costs against the benefits and to be prepared for the competitive nature of some courses. Students should also be ready to handle a demanding workload. IE University has provided me with a rich and globally-focused education, equipping me for a career in an interconnected world. Ultimately, it's important to make an informed decision based on your educational and financial goals, along with a willingness to confront the challenges that may arise.




On Campus

Rather Exciting

As a student at IE University, enrolled in the Business Administration program, I can confidently say that my experience at this institution has been overwhelmingly positive. IE University's innovative approach to education stands out as one of its most remarkable features. The interactive classes and focus on critical thinking, particularly through the use of case studies, have significantly enhanced my ability to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world business scenarios. Additionally, the global perspective at IE University, fostered by the diverse student body and international faculty, has broadened my understanding of global business practices, which is crucial in the field of Business Administration. The university's strong industry connections have proven to be invaluable. These connections provide students with numerous internship opportunities and networking prospects, allowing us to gain practical experience and build professional relationships while still studying. Moreover, the comprehensive career support services offered by IE University, such as resume building, interview preparation, and job placement assistance, have been instrumental in preparing us for the job market. On the flip side, it's important to mention that tuition costs at IE University can be relatively high, which may pose a financial challenge for some students, even though there are scholarships and financial aid options available. Additionally, the programs at IE University can be intensive, demanding a significant time commitment, which might not align with everyone's preferences. In conclusion, I wholeheartedly recommend IE University to individuals considering a degree in Business Administration. The innovative teaching methods, global perspective, strong industry connections, and comprehensive career support make it an excellent choice for those aspiring to enter the world of business. However, prospective students should be aware of the financial considerations and be prepared for the intensive nature of the programs. If you're willing to invest in your education and are dedicated to your studies, IE University offers an exceptional and enriching educational experience in the field of Business Administration.




On Campus

A Decent Experience

I've had the privilege of being a student at IE University, where I've been pursuing a degree in arts. My experience at IE University has been highly rewarding and unique. One of the aspects I appreciate the most is the university's strong emphasis on interdisciplinary learning. The opportunity to collaborate with students from diverse fields, including business, technology, and social sciences, has enriched my artistic endeavors. This cross-pollination of ideas has added depth and diversity to my creative work. IE University's international perspective is another significant advantage. The institution's diverse student body and faculty from various corners of the world have broadened my artistic horizons and encouraged me to think more globally. In the field of arts, where cultural influences play a pivotal role, this global outlook has been invaluable. The university also invests in modern resources and technology, providing students with access to cutting-edge software, creative tools, and state-of-the-art facilities. These resources have allowed me to explore new mediums and techniques, pushing the boundaries of my creativity. Furthermore, IE University places a strong emphasis on practical experiences. This practical orientation has given me insights into the professional art world and how to navigate it effectively. Opportunities for internships and collaborations with art institutions have been instrumental in bridging the gap between academic learning and real-world application. On the downside, tuition costs at IE University can be relatively high, which may pose a financial challenge for some prospective students. Additionally, the university's programs are quite intensive, demanding a substantial time commitment and strong time management skills. In conclusion, I would wholeheartedly recommend IE University to students seeking an arts education with an interdisciplinary and global perspective. The institution's innovative resources, practical experiences, and international approach have significantly enriched my artistic journey. Nevertheless, it's crucial to consider the financial aspect and be prepared for the demanding nature of the programs. If you're willing to invest in your arts education and are committed to hard work, IE University offers a truly unique and rewarding artistic experience.




On Campus

A Great Experience

As a student at IE University studying architecture, I have a unique perspective on the institution. Let me share my thoughts on this university: Overall, my experience at IE University has been quite positive. The university's commitment to a holistic education, combined with its innovative approach to learning, has made my time here rewarding. Here are some key aspects I appreciate: Interdisciplinary Approach: IE University places a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary learning. In the field of architecture, this means I've had the opportunity to collaborate with students from various backgrounds, such as engineering, business, and design. It's been enlightening to work on projects that integrate different disciplines, mirroring the real-world scenarios architects often find themselves in. Faculty and Industry Connections: The professors at IE University are experienced professionals in their respective fields, and they bring a wealth of practical knowledge into the classroom. This has greatly enriched my architectural education. Additionally, the university's strong connections with industry professionals and firms provide students with valuable networking opportunities and potential internships. Global Perspective: IE University's international approach to education is a significant advantage. I've had the chance to collaborate with students from all over the world, which has broadened my cultural awareness and global perspective. This is particularly important in architecture, as it's a field where global influences and trends play a significant role. Innovation and Technology: The university's commitment to staying at the forefront of technological advancements is impressive. In architecture, this means access to cutting-edge software, tools, and resources, which have been instrumental in my academic and design work. On the flip side, there are a few aspects that might not suit everyone: Tuition Costs: IE University is a private institution, and as such, tuition can be on the higher side. This might be a challenge for some students, but there are scholarship opportunities and financial aid options available. Intensive Programs: The university's programs are often quite intensive, requiring a significant time commitment. While this can be beneficial for learning, it can also be demanding, so time management skills are crucial. In conclusion, I would certainly recommend IE University to those interested in studying architecture. Its unique approach to education, international perspective, and strong industry connections have enriched my architectural journey. Just keep in mind the financial considerations and be prepared to put in the effort, and you'll find a stimulating and rewarding academic experience at IE University.




On Campus

A Global and Innovative Learning Experience

IE University is a dynamic and innovative institution that has gained recognition for its unique approach to education. There are several aspects that make it stand out, and while it may not be the perfect fit for everyone, it certainly has a lot to offer. One of the notable strengths of IE University is its commitment to fostering a global perspective. The university attracts a diverse student body from all over the world, creating a rich multicultural environment. This diversity enriches the classroom experience and prepares students to thrive in an increasingly interconnected world. The emphasis on international exposure through study abroad programs, exchange partnerships, and a global network of alumni further enhances this global outlook. IE University is also known for its focus on entrepreneurship and innovation. The institution places a strong emphasis on practical, real-world learning experiences that encourage students to develop an entrepreneurial mindset. This approach aligns well with the demands of the modern job market, where creativity and adaptability are highly valued. Furthermore, IE University's faculty is often comprised of professionals with extensive industry experience, providing students with valuable insights and connections in their respective fields. The small class sizes enable more personalized attention, fostering a close-knit community and facilitating meaningful interactions between students and professors. However, no university is without its drawbacks, and IE University is no exception. One potential downside is the cost of tuition, which can be relatively high compared to some public institutions. While scholarships and financial aid options are available, this cost may still be a barrier for some prospective students. Another consideration is the intensity of the academic programs. IE University is known for its rigorous curriculum, and students often find themselves facing a demanding workload. While this can be an advantage for those who thrive in a challenging environment, it may not be suitable for individuals seeking a more relaxed college experience. In conclusion, IE University is an excellent choice for students who are looking for a globally oriented, innovative, and academically rigorous education. Its emphasis on entrepreneurship, international exposure, and practical learning experiences can prepare students for success in a competitive job market. However, the high cost of tuition and the demanding nature of the programs should be carefully considered. Ultimately, whether IE University is the right fit depends on the individual's goals and preferences, but for those who are up to the challenge, it can be a rewarding and transformative educational experience.




On Campus

The liquid learning method

I do like my program so much, since it gives me the possibility to develop my own personal skills while building a strong professional cv with plenty of extracurricular material. The amenities are extraordinary and the campus is super professional and convenient for networking!