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Top Universities are Preparing a New Generation of Business Leaders

Top Universities are Preparing a New Generation of Business Leaders

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, a perennially top-ranked business program, is set to roll out a new curriculum for its MBA students in 2012 that offers enhanced customization. This includes “the opportunity to integrate social enterprise into all major classes,” according to Leonard Lodish, Vice Dean of the Wharton Program for Social Impact.

Devoting one of only three Vice Deans to Social Impact is a bold statement of intent for Wharton, and if reality pans out as well as the soundbite, this could be a dramatic grassroots kickstart for the American social enterprise scene.

For too long, aspiring social entrepreneurs such as myself have been forced to dilute our focus on triple-bottom-business, being left to our own devices to extract the lessons out of the conventional business theory we were taught in our marketing, finance and management classes. This development will permit interested students to drag their passion onto center stage, hopefully making social entrepreneurs as boring—by which I mean common—as their conventional MBA counterparts.

Wharton also announced a new Wharton Program for Social Impact (WPSI), which at this point seems little more than a strategic consolidation of existing initiatives and academic opportunities. It will, however provide a point contact at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and offer publicity and logistical support to social ventures that have been launched out of the school.

Although Wharton’s approach is innovative, it isn’t the only heavyweight American university with awesome opportunities for social entrepreneurs. Here’s a snapshot of its North Eastern competitors’ best offerings that go beyond curriculum:

NYU‘s four year old Reynolds Program has been drawing top performers into the field for years with its $25,000 per year fellowships to five graduate students across all NYU schools, and a similar $20,000 per year scholarship at the undergraduate level. Beyond a great curriculum, Reynolds students have access to an enviable set of networking opportunities with some of social enterprise’s biggest names.

Yale‘s three year old Global Social Entrepreneurship course pairs student teams up with functioning social enterprises in India to act as consultants. Each team spends four months familiarizing themselves with operations before creating a set of recommendations for targeted management issues. These recommendations are then delivered on-site in India.

Harvard has a seventeen year old Social Enterprise Initiative center—ultimately a strategic consolidation like the WPSI—to study and support all organizations seeking to make a humanitarian impact, not just social enterprises. This vague and broad mission (along with the amusingly defensive tagline “…this is Social Enterprise”) speaks to the center’s relatively ancient pedigree, as it was founded at a time when the social enterprise concept didn’t even exist. The expected increasing focus on social ventures has manifested itself with a handful of Harvard’s IXP study-abroad experiences delving into social-entrepreneurial concepts.

Cornell‘s Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise touts an impressive portfolio of opportunities for social entrepreneurs to get involved with. These include a Base of the Pyramid Lab and Sustainable Innovation Lab, both of which bring together a consortium of “companies, NGOs, multilateral organizations and universities” to develop and commercialize the next generation of social ventures.

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Photo via wharton.upenn.edu

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44 comments

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5:04AM PST on Mar 5, 2011

ty

8:14AM PST on Feb 1, 2011

intersting

10:26PM PST on Jan 27, 2011

Be very afraid..:) same poison different package. unsustainable..illogical and doomed to failure..
corporations hate rules.. entrepreneurs hate rules..throw a sheep's fleece over a wolf and it's still a wolf..this is corporate greed on steroids..and no rules..great..corporate greed mutates into super bug corporate greed..
revisit Huxley. Pro-sumerism..tribal local regional global..not capital..innovation..money is corruption of the evolution of mans greater destiny.. to live in harmony together in harmony with nature..slow, pastoral, creatively liberated and self organizing..a free society to protect nature and grow spiritually together..no starvation..no artificial constraints to humanity..money issues..illusions..false value attached..one world, one people, one family of man..sharing equally and honestly with responsible fore thought..who lived eons here and did not pollute.. did not destroy.. enjoyed a freedom unimaginable to Europeans..who destroyed them..why to what end.. this end here now today..the brink..requires a rethink of the entire social mileu globally..or we are screwing our selves again..we are not corporatist we are the products of concerted corporatist mind controls over centuries..break the mold..think outside the capitalist box..please..slow down..thimk..
take a pill..all men are equals in ownership of the planet..all on it..go back go way back..have the best of all worlds sustainable and be free to pursue what ever you are drawn to that is not slavery.

6:08PM PST on Jan 26, 2011

I challenge all universities to implement problem solving as a mandatory subject for all students in any curriculum of which all pupils must excel in beginning, intermediate and advanced levels in order to graduate... Giving our future permission to banish the once problems turned opportunities of the world that we have created and cultivate a new culture of creative genius in action!!!! Focus on humanities brilliance and ability to implement solutions ~ ONWARD !!!

10:22PM PST on Jan 25, 2011

Wow, let's hope they turn out more environmentally friendly entrepreneurs, who will do less harm to our planet and society.

10:03AM PST on Jan 25, 2011

Thanks for the article.

5:54PM PST on Jan 24, 2011

thanx

5:49PM PST on Jan 24, 2011

Corrected comment:
I think all business "schools" should be shut down and we should go back to the days when people learned on the job and didn't come from all those blindered institutions who automatically have contempt for human beings and consider corporations and other businesses as their religion. I was prohibited from joining in the business world before there were MBAs because I was without a penis. As women attempted to break into management, suddenly a business degree was necessary. The men before them just need a degree in any subject. When "management training" was conducted on the job, there was more humanity and less separation from the rest of society, and there were fewer business ideologues.

5:48PM PST on Jan 24, 2011

I think all business "schools" should be shut down and we should go back to the days when people learned on the jog and didn't come from all those blindered institutions who automatically have contempt for human beings and consider corporations and other businesses as their religion. I was prohibited from joining in the business world before there were MBAs because I was without a penis. As women attempted to break into management, suddenly a business degree was necessary. The men before them just need a degree in any subject. When "management training" was conducted on the job, there was more humanity and less separation from the rest of society, fewer business ideologues.

7:36AM PST on Jan 24, 2011

Thanks for the article.

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