CAN STUDENTS AT A BUSINESS SCHOOL IN MICHIGAN change the lives of women in Kenya—without even stepping past the shores of the Great Lakes? Through the innovative use of web-based technology, they certainly can. And b-school students in Pennsylvania can offer aid to high school kids in Bolivia without ever laying eyes on their counterparts.
Business schools have an extraordinary capacity for creating impact in many different ways and in many different arenas. Through outreach programs, they can nourish communities; through scholarly research, they can transform industries; and through educational programs, they can equip students with the skills to change the world.
In the following pages, we look at ten schools that have created programs that improve educational opportunities, business models, and the quality of people’s lives. Some achieved their goals through technology, some through entrepreneurship, and some through educational upgrades. All of them were drawn from entries submitted to AACSB International for its “Innovations That Inspire” initiative. All of these examples show not only how business schools can make demonstrable positive impact on the world, but also how their efforts could inspire other schools to do the same.
Innovations Through Technology
The Innovation from California State University, Northridge: A large-scale automated follow-up system that provides benchmarks on student earnings, employment, and industry over a ten-year period.
The Innovation from Grand Valley State University: t3, an interdisciplinary group that creates open-access computer programs with social impact.
The Innovation Saint Joseph's University: An advanced analytics program that allowed undergraduates to identify impoverished secondary school students in Bolivia.
Innovations Through Entrepreneurship
The Innovation from the University of Queensland: The Social Economic Engagement Program (SEEP), a co-curricular program that enables MBA students to work with community organizations on strategic projects.
The Innovation from the University of Victoria: Northwest Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs (NW-ACE), a partnership between the Gustavson School and Tribal Resources Investment Corporation.
The Innovation the Middlebury Institute of International Studies: The Frontier Market Scouts program, which trains students for careers in social enterprise management and responsible investing.
The Innovation from the Universiti Utara Malaysia: A recycling project that turns discarded coconut shells into salable charcoal.
Innovations Through Education
The Innovation from the Universidad Del Pacifico
: A collaborative program with Peruvian Public Universities Faculty that aimed to strengthen their capabilities in several fields, including business, economics, and public management.
The Innovation from the University of Maryland
: The Innovo Scholars Consulting program, which pairs instructors with students to innovate business school courses and programs.
The Innovation from Dublin City University
: The delivery of two undergraduate degree programs to a Saudi Arabian university for women.