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Booth Social Impact Courses

Social impact courses are an area of significant growth and innovation in the MBA curriculum. While the specific number varies each year, the school now offers more than 20 courses, half of which were designed in the past five years.

Current students: Click here to watch an overview of Booth’s social impact curriculum from Professor Robert H. Gertner.

To help illustrate the breadth of offerings, here is a sample of select social impact courses offered recently:

Social Sector Courses:

  • Social Sector Strategy and Structure
    Provides an overview of the structures, strategy frameworks, and management tools employed by social sector organizations to ensure that they actually deliver on the impact they seek. 
  • Impact Investing
    Focuses on measuring, and incorporating, impact in investment decisions. Student teams work on several projects, including designing and pitching an impact investment fund, including sourcing potential investments for Booth’s student-managed Steven Tarrson Impact Investment Fund. 
  • New Social Ventures
    The academic component of the John Edwardson, ’72, Social New Venture Challenge, in which teams develop ideas for innovative social startups. At least one student from each SNVC team must enroll in New Social Ventures.
  • Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation
    Studies social innovation with a focus on the role of social entrepreneurship in developing and scaling innovative solutions to society’s problems. Students identify opportunities for an innovative social venture, research, validate and refine the product/service, propose a business model, articulate the underlying theory of change, and identify an impact measurement/management strategy.
  • Social Impact Lab
    This project-based lab course has student teams develop proposals for a business, government agency, nonprofit, or other organization, to drive social impact on Chicago’s South Side and surrounding neighborhoods. Students learn about strategy development and social impact with a client objective in mind.

Purpose, Corporate Citizenship, ESG:

  • Corporate Social Responsibility Social Impact Practicum
    Centers around live consulting projects that allow students to consider the role of the firm in society by exploring the domains of corporate social responsibility (CSR), Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), and Sustainability.
  • Navigating the ESG landscape: Sustainability. Information and Analysis
    Introduces students to the emerging ESG landscape, with a focus on using and analyzing information, disclosure and sustainability reporting. It provides frameworks and tools to navigate corporate ESG information, and to make links between ESG information and performance and firm value.

Role of Business in Society:

  • The Firm in the Non-Market Environment
    Focused on understanding the non-market environment for firms, discussing strategies in the light of regulatory, legal, political, and social constraints that they face. In addition, the course examines firms’ strategies in light of environmental, safety, or intellectual property concerns, and discusses lobbying strategies.
  • Perspectives on Capitalism
    Equips students with tools and perspectives that help them engage thoughtfully in debates over the accomplishments, limitations, and future of capitalism, and to apply them in their own roles as corporate, non-profit, or entrepreneurial leaders. 


  • Designing a Good Life
    Focuses on the fundamental psychological processes that lead people to behave ethically and unethically. Understanding these processes gives insight into how to design your life, your teams, and your organization to be as ethical as they can be.

Climate, Environment, Sustainability

  • The Political Economy of Climate Change 
    Studies the activities and influence of various government entities on climate change, along with thinking through the roles of other actors that interact with the state. 

International Development:

  • The Wealth of Nations
    Develops quantitative analytical frameworks and uses case studies to examine the role of institutional factors such as financial markets and labor market regulations to understand the performance of firms in emerging markets vs. wealthy countries. It also examines the elements of successful and disastrous growth strategies in selected emerging markets.

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