Programs with Impact

Six schools launch initiatives aligned with their missions—and designed to make a difference.
Programs with Impact

IMPACT HAS BECOME one of the most popular buzzwords for business schools in the 21st century—but it’s also become one of the most powerful measures of a school’s reach and purpose. Today’s business school administrators and educators are carefully considering just what kind of mark they want to leave on their communities and the wider world. The result? They are designing more programs and launching more initiatives specifically designed to make the world a better place.

But what challenges should schools address with these new programs, when there are so many social and environmental issues that need to be solved? The only way schools can narrow down their focus is to take up the challenges that align with their specific missions.

Here we take a look at six schools that are finding their own ways to make the world a better place—by training responsible leaders, educating migrants, boosting the local economy, or helping students learn the best way to tackle grand challenges. And their collective efforts point to a sea change in the way some schools are teaching management education.

“The veneration of the profit-obsessed business leader has become increasingly unfashionable over the last 20 years,” notes Aunnie Patton Power of the London School of Economics in the U.K. “While profit clearly remains a relevant concern for business founders and leaders, the next generation is looking beyond shareholder value toward the needs of all stakeholders, including society and the environment.”

And academic institutions are meeting that demand with rigor, creativity, and dedication.

By Sharon Shinn
The University of North Alabama reinvigorates the local economy by promoting an entrepreneurial mindset.

By Aunnie Patton Power
An executive master's program at the London School of Economics teaches social responsibility to executives.

By Sharon Shinn
The Grenoble Ecole de Management takes on wide-ranging social issues with targeted initiatives.

By Sharon Shinn
Oxford University's Map the System competition teaches students to develop a deep understanding of social problems.

By Nick Barniville 
ESMT's Responsible Leaders Fellowship program enables graduates to practice what they've learned.

By Fida Kanaan and Bijan Azad 
The American University of Beirut focuses on scaling up companies within the region--which could have profound effects on the local economy.