Social Impact Curriculum

Curriculum and CoursesWith its focus on teaching the fundamentals, Chicago Booth’s multidisciplinary approach to business education and practice is just as right for social sector leaders as it is for business leaders. The social impact curriculum at Booth combines the school’s foundational teachings in finance, economics, and operations with real-world experiences.

“The Global Social Impact Practicum was eye-opening for me, even as a former resident of India. I now have a much better picture of what it takes to implement sustainable initiatives in a developing country, which will make me a more effective nonprofit leader in future.”

—Sruti Balakrishnan, ’17

Booth Social Impact Courses

Along with a foundation in business fundamentals, Booth students have opportunities to complement their education with courses—including those listed below—to help build social sector expertise.

Corporate Responsibility (CSR) Social Impact Practicum (BUS 42708 - password protected) delves deeply into a project to address how corporate America can enhance its diversity and inclusion efforts with respect to people with disabilities, and will contextualize these questions by exploring the domain of corporate social responsibility. Students will work with a corporate client—one of the largest providers of mutual funds and exchange-traded funds—to help the client understand and measure current (and potential future) efforts.

The Global Social Impact Practicum (BUS 34721 - password protected) is supported by Tata Trusts, one of India’s oldest and largest philanthropies. Students in the course work with Tata Trusts on a development project and travel to India on a site visit. Past projects have explored the use of bamboo as a clean fuel source and opportunities to involve slum dwellers in responsible waste management initiatives.

Impact Investing (BUS 34113 - password protected) is a full-credit course that allows students to work in teams on a strategic project for an impact investing organization or an organization that is developing an impact investing strategy. In addition to team projects, case studies and course readings will build on the existing curriculum in corporate finance and private equity to focus on differences between social and traditional financial institutions. Students should have some working knowledge of finance and financial institutions.

The New Social Ventures course (BUS 34115 - password protected) is the academic component of the John Edwardson, ’72, Social New Venture Challenge (SNVC). One student from each SNVC team must enroll in New Social Ventures. In this course, SNVC teams develop an idea for an innovative social startup.

In the Scaling Social Innovation Search Lab (BUS 34722 - password protected), groups of students identify a nonprofit outside of Chicago addressing a specific social or environmental problem in a unique way. Then each group develops a plan to bring that innovation to Chicago. The course culminates with presentations by students to a panel of judges with the power to make their proposals a reality.

Social Enterprise Discovery (NEW) (BUS 34116 - password protected) The objectives of this experience-based course are to identify opportunities for innovative social ventures, then validate and refine the product/service, identify target customers, and propose a business model and go-to-market strategy. The expectation is that many of the venture ideas will proceed to the John Edwardson, '72, Social New Venture Challenge in the Spring quarter.

In the Social Enterprise Lab (BUS 34110 - password protected), Booth students learn about the differences between nonprofits and for-profit social enterprises, in class and through consulting projects at Chicago-based nonprofits and mission-driven businesses.

 

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