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 Social Responsibility (CSR) Social Impact Practicum (BUS 42708 - password protected) is a lab course that centers on a live project that allows students to consider the role of the firm in society. This course will explore the domains of corporate social responsibility and sustainability by project-based work that addresses the firm’s sustainability strategy. 

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.

In the Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation (BUS 34117 - password protected), Booth students will study social innovation with a focus on the role of social entrepreneurship for developing and scaling innovative solutions to society’s problems.

In Social Sector Strategy and Structure (BUS 42125 - password protected), Booth students will use cases and exercises to examine and unpack key topics in social sector management and strategy, including how organizations are structured from a tax-status perspective, common business models, management tools, impact measurement, and more. Students will develop the ability to analyze the distinctive components of a social sector organizations capacity to deliver the impact it promises.

The Social Impact Lab (BUS 42710 - password protected), is a project-based course that deeply examines a social or environmental issue, and in which students work in small groups to develop a proposal for a company, nonprofit, or other organization to address the issue. Throughout the quarter, students learn about strategy development with a client objective in mind. Alongside the project, students delve into the domain area to enhance their understanding and inform their recommendations.


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