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Oct 11, 2017 by

Social Impact MBAs: Programs That Help Students Make a Difference in the World

Social Impact MBAs

For years, social impact has been a growing area of emphasis at business schools. Increasingly, MBA students are stating that a well-paying career isn’t enough: They also want to make a difference.

As Sherryl Kuhlman, the managing director of the Social Impact Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, told U.S. News & World Report: “Our students want to make the world go round in a different way. [They are no longer willing to] take a job they don’t like so they can give their money away later. They want to merge the money and the purpose.”

MBA programs incorporate social impact into their programs in various ways, through global experiences, coursework, clubs, competitions, and more. MBA students may also have opportunities to team up with corporations, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations to get hands-on experience during their graduate studies.

So if you’re interested in social impact, what opportunities should you look for within an MBA program?

Centers and Initiatives

Some schools run entire centers and initiatives dedicated to the idea of social change. Typically, these centers provide the foundation around which a variety of social impact opportunities are built, including research, career help, events, and course development.

For example, the McCombs School of Business at UT Austin recently launched its Social Innovation Initiative, which provides students, faculty, and the community with preparation to promote social change. The initiative offers graduate-level curricular offerings, with courses such as “Energy Technology and Policy” and “Invisible Global Marketing.” There are also many extracurricular activities such as the Social Impact Investment Fund, a peer-created fund that provides financial support for MBA students pursuing internships in the social impact space.

“The creation of the Social Innovation Initiative is a crucial step in bringing UT’s overlapping communities together to collectively address the world’s most pressing challenges,” Dr. Meeta Kothare, managing director of the initiative, said in a press release. “The interdisciplinary nature of the initiative is key because the most impactful social innovations often result from collaborations among private, public, and social sectors.”

At Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB), the Center for Social Innovation aims to bring about social and environmental change through research, education, and experiential learning opportunities. For MBA students, the center offers social innovation courses, study trips, the potential to participate in an investment committee, and fellowships to provide leadership opportunities. The school even hosts an annual ceremony each spring drawing together a tight-knit core of students, faculty, and alumni who share a commitment to social innovation. Three classes of awards are handed out to a dozen students at the event, and Dean Emeritus Arjay Miller, 101, attends to encourage the continuation of a community of social innovation he helped found at the GSB while dean from 1969 to 1976.

Then, there’s the Yale School of Management Program on Social Enterprise. This initiative supports faculty, students, alumni, and practitioners in their pursuit of using business skills to achieve social objectives. It does this by offering a span of programs including courses such as “Global Social Enterprise” and “Managing Sustainable Operations,” as well as research, conferences, and publications. For extracurricular activities, students can participate in the Social Impact Lab, a weekly forum with opportunities to engage with industry leaders and each other, as well as the Economic Development Symposium, an annual conference that brings together eminent scholars, action agents, and key opinion leaders to work on solutions to pressing economic development issues.


For many business schools, social entrepreneurship is offered part and parcel with their MBA degrees. These programs can range from a one-week social enterprise trip overseas to a formal concentration within the MBA program.

At Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, MBA students can elect a Social Impact pathway concentration. This pathway is designed for students who want to create positive social change and includes required courses on a variety of topics from “Leadership and Crisis Management” to “Public Economics for Business Leaders” and “Health and Human Rights.” Within the pathway, there are three tracks: policy, nonprofit, and social innovation, each offering in-depth coursework to position students for their desired careers.

Meanwhile, MBA students at Emory’s Goizueta Business School can explore social impact through an annual seven- to 10-day Social Enterprise @ Goizueta Trip. These trips take students to countries around the world to observe the challenges that local economies face and develop market-based solutions. Alumni and evening MBA students can also travel to Nicaragua to visit coffee farms and meet growers. Full-time MBA students can visit Nicaragua or El Salvador to explore social enterprises on the ground and work on community health projects.


Some schools offer hands-on experience in social impact to their students in the form of social venture competitions.

Through Harvard Business School (HBS)’s Social Enterprise Initiative, which aims to educate, inspire, and support leaders across all sectors to create social change, MBA students can participate in the New Venture Competition (NVC). The competition offers participants a grand prize of $50,000 as well as workshop opportunities, feedback, and business plan development advice.

Designed for students and alumni interested in using their business skills to create innovative approaches to tackling social problems, the Social Venture Competition at NYU Stern School of Business is similar to that of HBS’s NVC. Over the last 11 years it has awarded more than $900,000 to startup social ventures developed by students.


Net Impact is one of the most popular social impact clubs, with chapters across the globe. More than 100,000 individuals have joined more than 300 chapters across the world to take on social challenges, protect the environment, and orient business toward social impact. The Net Impact chapter at UCLA Anderson School of Management, for example, has been awarded Gold Status, which recognizes it as a high-performing chapter and qualifies it to serve on the national Net Impact advisory board.

One of highlights of Net Impact is the annual Net Impact Conference, which welcomes attendees from across the globe to hear from keynote speakers, such as Clif Bar CEO Kevin Clearly and Derreck Kayongo, the CEO of the Center for Civil and Human Rights. Attendees at the Net Impact Conference can also take part in a variety of workshops, panels, and boot camps on topics ranging from civic engagement to equity.

In addition to Net Impact chapters, many MBA programs also offer their own social enterprise-focused student organizations. For example, the Social Enterprise Club at Columbia Business School connects students with faculty, alumni, professionals, and organizations to develop business skills and create social, environmental, and economic value.


At Oxford Saïd Business School, MBA students have the opportunity to apply for the Skoll Scholarship, a competitive award for students pursuing entrepreneurial solutions to urgent social and environmental challenges. The scholarship provides funding as well as opportunities for the award winners to meet and interact with world-renowned entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and investors. To qualify, an applicant must have three years of experience in social enterprise and be an incoming MBA student.

At Duke’s Fuqua Business School, there’s the CASE Social Sector Scholarship for incoming daytime MBA students. Scholarship recipients receive at least 25 percent tuition support as well as funding from the CASE Summer Internship Fund. Incoming MBA students who can demonstrate their commitment to applying their business skills in the pursuit of social impact are eligible to apply.

This is far from an exhaustive list—rather it’s a sampling of the wide-ranging opportunities to study social impact across MBA programs around the world. We hope it can provide a jumping off point as you begin to investigate social impact opportunities at your target schools.

This article has been edited and republished with permissions from Clear Admit.

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Oct 6, 2017 by

Chicago Booth Alum Pair Give $75 Million to Their Alma Mater

chicago booth $75 million

The University of Chicago Booth School of Business’s coffers just grew—and its top scholars will be called by a new name—thanks to a $75 million alumni gift announced today. In recognition of the gift, students who earn highest academic honors while at Booth will be known as the Amy and Richard F. Wallman Scholars, after donors Amy Wallman, MBA’75, and Richard Wallman, MBA’74. The Wallmans’ gift will be used to support several initiatives, including scholarships for students in the full-time, evening, weekend, and executive MBA programs, as well as enhanced co-curricular programming, faculty research, and emerging priorities.

“We have great affection for the University of Chicago—the Booth School of Business is world class, and we hope our gift makes it even better,” Amy Wallman said in a press release. “The Booth School is very special to us not only because we met there,” Richard Wallman added, “but also because we have sponsored 26 scholarship recipients over the years and are delighted to have had a modest impact on these students’ lives.”

Amy Wallman began a 26-year career at EY after completing her Booth MBA, retiring as an audit partner in 2001. She later served as director at pharmaceutical firm Omnicare from 2004 to 2015. Richard Wallman began his post-MBA career with the Ford Motor Company and went on to serve as chief financial officer and senior vice president of Honeywell International Inc., a diversified industrial technology and manufacturing company, and its predecessor AlliedSignal, from 1995 to 2003. He also held senior financial positions with IBM and Chrysler Corporation.

Dean Madhav Rajan, who took the helm at Chicago Booth this past July, welcomed the generous gift, calling it an “endorsement of Chicago Booth’s enduring strengths, in our programs and our extraordinary faculty.” Continued success rests on maintaining and extending the school’s prominence in research and in developing the world’s next leaders, he added.

“The Wallman Scholars will be recognized as preeminent in this cadre of future leaders, modeling the potential and the spirit of their benefactors,” Rajan said. The permanent designation will be bestowed upon graduating MBA students who earn high honors at Booth. It will also be given retroactively to top alumni, according to the school’s press release.

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The Wallmans, for their part, shared that they were impressed with Rajan’s vision for the school and hope their gift will help advance that vision. “This is a unique opportunity to make a difference in the careers of Chicago Booth students for generations to come and express our gratitude to those who have helped us,” Amy Wallman said in the press release. “Our parents were great role models to both of us; they gave us the confidence that we could accomplish anything.”

Richard Wallman also shared appreciation for the impact working for former Honeywell International Chairman and CEO Larry Bossidy had on his career and his life and thanked friends at Centerbridge Partners and Merrill Lynch, whom he called “key enablers of this gift.”

For more about the Wallmans’ $75 million gift to Chicago Booth, click here.

This article has been edited and republished with permissions from Clear Admit.

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Oct 5, 2017 by

Oxford Saïd Launches New Virtual Hub

Oxford Said Virtual Hub

The Oxford Hub for International Virtual Education (HIVE) is the first of its kind in the United Kingdom and the second of its kind in the world. Located at the University of Oxford Saïd Business School, the new virtual classroom will use technology to connect students, faculty, and participants from around the world. It’s the latest development in the school’s digital agenda.

HIVE is a physical room with 27 high-definition screens shaped in a U. The technology—developed by SyncRTC and operated by the software—will allow up to 84 participants to engage with each other at one time. It’s far more advanced than traditional conferencing platforms. The software uses robotics along with facial recognition technology and 4D high-definition projections to create an immersive experience for both learners and teachers.

Oxford Saïd plans to use the HIVE in many ways, for everything from classes to pitching competitions. It will be especially useful for connecting faculty and students around the globe. Teachers will be able to address participants individually, split users into groups, conduct polls, and more. It’s a fully immersive experience that allows all participants to see and hear one another. Not only that, the software monitors the attentiveness of each individual and provides a score for them at the end based on their facial expressions and engagement with the class.

A look inside the Oxford HIVE

“While the Oxford experience is an integral part of our approach, the methods by which we teach and learn are changing,” Saïd Dean Peter Tufano said in a press release. “At Oxford Saïd we’ve been making decisive investments so we can learn about new pedagogies. The Oxford HIVE will allow us to teach, learn, and share ideas as a global community, and we see it as a crucial tool to unite our global community in support of our mission to tackle world scale challenges.” He added that it will also allow alumni to gather virtually as if they were on campus in Oxford.

“In a hive, bees work to make honey. At the Oxford HIVE, we will work to build knowledge,” Tufano said.

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Sep 29, 2017 by

LBS Opens New Sammy Ofer Centre Expanding Its Teaching Space by 70 Percent

LBS Sammy Ofer Centre

On September 26, the London Business School opened its new, state-of-the-art teaching hub: the Sammy Ofer Centre. Located in Old Marylebone Town Hall, the new center will increase teaching space at LBS by 70 percent. It includes 37 seminar rooms, six new lecture theaters, a new library, and multiple breakout areas. The center also features a mix of classical 1920s structure with the latest in architectural design for a beautiful aesthetic.

Of the new center, LBS Dean François Ortalo-Magné said in a press release: “The school’s London location puts us at the heart of the world’s financial and business community and has shaped our character and success since the early 1960s. The Sammy Ofer Centre embodies the quality of the LBS brand and promotes an exciting future for the school.”

The opening of the Sammy Ofer Centre was made possible due to a fundraising campaign that raised more than £125 million, a portion of which was used to develop the new facility. During the campaign, LBS also received its largest gift ever, a £25 million donation from the Idan and Batia Ofer Family Foundation. Thanks to that generous gift, the new center was named in honor of the late Sammy Ofer KBE, an entrepreneur and philanthropist.

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As for the motivation behind the £25 million donation from the Ofer Family Foundation, Idan Ofer was an MBA graduate from LBS and wanted to give back to the school that helped shape him.

“Seeing the new center with my own eyes has brought alive to me the tremendous spirit of this institution and why it deserves its reputation,” Idan Ofer said in a press release. “LBS is rightly considered among the best in its class, renowned for nurturing the entrepreneurs and leaders of tomorrow, something which has always been close to my heart. I am confident that this wonderful new building will ensure the school is fully equipped to serve the next generation of students and to remain at the front rank of business education worldwide.”

Many school officials and influencers attended the official September 26 opening ceremony for the Sammy Ofer Centre. Among them were Idan and Batia Ofer, the Hon Apurv Bagri, chairman of LBS’s governing body and managing director of the Metdist Group of companies; LBS Dean François Ortalo-Magné, and former LBS Dean Sir Andrew Likierman.

For more on the much-anticipated new addition to the LBS campus, click here.

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Sep 22, 2017 by

U.S. Small School MBA Programs are Shrinking

Small School MBA Programs are Shrinking

Large U.S. graduate business programs—those with more than 200 students—report that times are good. In fact, three in four (73 percent) of these programs saw application volume increase this year, according to the 2017 Application Trends Survey, released yesterday by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC).

But the news is not as rosy for smaller programs. For programs that count 50 students or fewer, only 39 percent saw growth in application volume, while 7 percent remained steady, and 55 percent lost applicants year over year. Overall, among full-time, two-year MBA programs, less than a third (32 percent) of U.S. programs reported application volume gains this year, whereas 64 percent saw application volume decreases. The results mark the third consecutive year in which the majority of U.S. full-time, two-year MBA programs experienced application volume declines. Just three short years ago, those numbers were almost reversed, with 61 percent of U.S. programs reporting application volume increases in 2014.

Elsewhere in the world—including in Europe, East and Southeast Asia, and India—business schools had a very different story to tell. In each of these regions, the vast majority of programs saw application volume increases. In Europe, 76 percent of one-year, full-time MBA programs saw growth; in East and Southeast Asia, 77 percent of full-time, two-year MBA programs saw growth; and in India, 85 percent of full-time, two-year MBA programs reported increased application volume.

Source: 2017 GMAC Application Trends Survey

A Combination of Factors Chills Overall Demand for U.S. Graduate Business Programs

What gives? Why are business schools around the world seeing such demand for their programs while U.S. schools—with the exception of the largest, best-known schools—faltering?

“Demand for graduate business education remains strong, especially among the largest programs, which also tend to be the most well-known programs with brand recognition,” Sangeet Chowfla, GMAC President and CEO, said in a press release. “While non-U.S. programs are thriving, a strong economy and a disruptive political climate are likely contributing to the downward trend in application volumes among smaller U.S. programs this year.”

Strong Economy Hurts Domestic Application Volume

Citing past GMAC research, the current GMAC report notes that application volume to U.S. graduate business programs frequently runs counter-cyclical to the labor market. When jobs are plentiful, fewer see the need or can justify the opportunity cost of taking time out of the workforce to pursue an advanced degree. This could help explain why only 42 percent of U.S. programs reported growth in the domestic market this year, down from 61 percent in 2016. Exceptions to this trend can be seen in two degree programs, though, according to GMAC. Domestic application volumes grew for more than half of all full-time, one-year MBA programs (54 percent) and Master’s in Data Analytics programs (58 percent).

Trump Rhetoric Takes a Toll on International Applicant Volume 

More notable than the decline in domestic applicant volume was the decline in international applicant volume for U.S. programs. Less than a third (32 percent) of U.S. programs saw more international applicants this year than last—down from 49 percent the year before. Master in Data Analytics programs proved the only exception—67 percent of these in-demand programs saw international applications increase.

In fact, for the bigger, better-known U.S. schools that have been largely buffered from overall application volume decline, it’s because domestic applicants have applied in increasing numbers at those schools, offsetting declines in international applicants. According to GMAC, there has been a resurgence of domestic applicants at large programs, with 69 percent reporting increases in this applicant pool this year over last. Of these same programs, only 38 percent saw international application volume increase.

READ MORE: What are the Most Common Application Mistakes?

Other regions of the world, meanwhile, may be attracting some of the international applicants that have been giving U.S. programs a wider berth given concerns about potential changes to immigration policies and their impact on visas both for study and for work. According to this latest GMAC survey, twice as many graduate business programs in Europe and Canada saw international application volume increases as did programs in the United States. In Canada, 77 percent of programs reported upticks in international applicants, up from 46 percent in 2016. In Europe, 67 percent of programs saw international application volume growth, a more modest rise over the 65 percent reported there the year before. But even in the United Kingdom, where there was concern that the 2016 Brexit referendum could adversely impact international applicants in some of the same ways that Trump’s election and proposed changes to immigration policy did in the United States, almost two-thirds of programs have wooed more international applicants, not fewer. Notably, graduate business programs depend more heavily on international applicants than on domestic applicants, In Canada, domestic applicants comprised 30 percent of overall applicant volume, and in Europe, just 11 percent.

Women Are Applying to Graduate Business Programs at Record Levels

Another significant finding from the 2017 Application Trends Survey was an increase in women applicants. Women now represent 42 percent of all applications received by the participating programs, up from 37 percent from four years ago. Looking specifically at MBA programs, women accounted for 39 percent of applications, a six-point percentage gain since 2013.

Growth in female application volume was most widespread among MBA programs—44 percent saw increases this year over last. Fewer business master’s programs—39 percent—reported increased female applicant volume.

Additional Key Findings

A few other interesting statistics revealed by the most recent survey:

  • Overall part-time MBA volume has declined or remained stagnant since the Great Recession. The only exception is part-time lockstep programs, which enroll students in cohorts and provide more of a consistent set of classmates. Of these, 54 percent reported a growth in applications.
  • Employer sponsorship remained stable, with approximately 52 percent of part-time students expecting to receive support.
  • The experience level of applicants also remained consistent, with the majority of full-time MBA applicants having between three and 10 years of prior work experience.

The Application Trends Survey 2017 reviewed a total of 351 business schools around the global and 965 total graduate business programs—a record for the survey. To see the full results, download the 41-page report.

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Sep 15, 2017 by

Top MBA Programs for Producing Founders: 2017-2018 Report

business schools most companies

Recently, PitchBook released its latest 2017-2018 Top 50 Universities Report. The ranking focused on those universities that produced the “ultimate building blocks of the venture industry: founders.”

This ranking is vastly different from rankings of top schools for entrepreneurship by U.S. News & World ReportPrinceton Review, and Entrepreneur Magazine, all of which focus on factors like peer assessment surveys, curriculum, and entrepreneurial study options. Instead, PitchBook looked at a single criterion: founders of companies who received venture capital (VC) funding between January 1, 2006, and August 18, 2017, and where they went to school.

The report provides a fairly detailed breakdown of top undergraduate programs, companies (by capital raised), MBA programs, female founders, unicorns (companies that have attained the coveted $1 billion evaluation), and more. This article will focus solely on the results that relate to MBA programs, including information on female founders and unicorns.

Top MBA Programs

For the 2017-18 academic year, the top 10 MBA programs to produce founders who received VC funding were ranked as follows:

  1. Harvard Business School (HBS): 1,203 entrepreneurs, 1,086 companies, and $28,495 million raised
  2. Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB): 802 entrepreneurs, 716 companies, and $18,259 million raised
  3. University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School: 666 entrepreneurs, 585 companies, and $16,001 million raised
  4. INSEAD: 455 entrepreneurs, 406 companies, and $7,795 million raised
  5. Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management: 445 entrepreneurs, 417 companies, and $5,680 million raised
  6. Columbia Business School: 441 entrepreneurs, 410 companies, and $5,465 million raised
  7. MIT Sloan School of Management: 437 entrepreneurs, 384 companies, and $7,797 million raised
  8. University of Chicago Booth School of Business: 405 entrepreneurs, 368 companies, and $5,470 million raised
  9. University of California – Berkeley Haas School of Business: 344 entrepreneurs, 314 companies, and $5,191 million raised
  10. UCLA Anderson School of Management: 247 entrepreneurs, 232 companies, and $3,957 million raised

HBS stands out immediately for producing founders who receive VC funding. Harvard produced twice as many founders as its next closest competitor, and those founders pulled in $10M more in funding for their 1,000+ companies.

As for the reason behind Harvard’s success, there are multiple elements that contribute to its production of entrepreneurs. The school is home to the Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship, which offers programs for budding entrepreneurs including curricular offerings (over a dozen courses), a New Venture Competition (which offers $300,000 in cash prizes), the Rock Accelerator, the Harvard Innovation Lab, and even a Loan Reduction program that supports graduating entrepreneurs with a one-time, need-based award of $10,000 to $20,000. HBS’s extensive alumni network also provides students with connections with managing directors, partners, and founders of top VC firms including Bain Capital Ventures, Apax Partners, and Accel Partners.

Another standout for the 2017-2018 year was INSEAD. The only non-U.S. MBA program to appear in the top 10, it also moved up a spot this year over last. INSEAD grew from 393 entrepreneurs, 348 companies, and $6,131 million in capital raised to 455, 406, and $7,794 million respectively.

INSEAD’s students are supported by the INSEAD Centre for Entrepreneurship (ICE), which was founded in 2003. The center offers MBA students a chance to participate in the INSEAD Venture Competition (IVC), Entrepreneurship Bootcamps, and the Entrepreneurship Teaching Innovation (ETI) Fund, which supports the development of the “Your First Hundred Days” elective for budding entrepreneurs.

Another MBA program of note is MIT Sloan School of Management, which was fourth in capital raised on this year’s PitchBook ranking. This could indicate more successful companies coming out of MIT or a higher percentage of VC funding available to Massachusetts’ graduates.

Some of the unique entrepreneurship opportunities available from other top programs include Stanford GSB’s Startup Garage, an intensive, hands-on project course for MBA students, as well as MIT Sloan’s Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, which includes an accelerator, coaching, and various events. Finally, the Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship Center offers resources, events, and courses for MBAs looking to explore, develop, launch, and scale a startup.

Top Female Founders & Unicorns

PitchBook also reviewed the top MBA programs for female founders. Once again, HBS and Stanford GSB ranked first and second, respectively, with 202 and 119 female founders. Columbia Business School ranked third with 77, Wharton ranked fourth with 71, and MIT came in at fifth with 60 female founders.

As for the unicorns, the top five MBA programs are similar to the previous lists.

  1. HBS: 22 entrepreneurs, 17 companies
  2. Stanford GSB: 14 entrepreneurs, 11 companies
  3. Wharton: 11 entrepreneurs, 8 companies
  4. INSEAD: 8 entrepreneurs, 7 companies
  5. MIT Sloan: 6 entrepreneurs, 6 companies

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