5 Great MBA Programs for Social Entrepreneurship

In a recent Justmeans article, I pointed out that the increasing number of students interested in starting social enterprises has created a need for business schools to develop new curricula for the aspiring social entrepreneur. Below I list five excellent business programs for aspiring entrepreneurs devoted to doing good.

1. The Fuqua School of Business at Duke University

Launched in 2002, the Center for the Advancement of Social Enterprise (CASE) at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business is a research and education center that “promotes the entrepreneurial pursuit of social impact through the thoughtful adaptation of business expertise,” according to its website. Under CASE’s leadership, the Duke MBA ranked #1 in Social Enterprise in Net Impact’s 2006 Guide to Graduate Business Programs. Fuqua students are permitted to take classes at the Nicholas School of the Environment, the Sanford Institute of Public Policy, and Duke Law. The school also features professor Greg Dees, a vanguard thinker in the field of social entrepreneurship.

2. The School of Management at Yale University

Ranked #1 in Best Business Schools Specialty Rankings: Nonprofit, US News & World Report (2010), the School of Management (SOM) at Yale University is home to the Program on Social Enterprise (PSE). Led by Sharon Oster and Frederic D. Wolfe, two leading social entrepreneurship scholars, PSE “supports scholars, students, alumni, and practitioners interested in exploring the ways in which business skills and disciplines can be harnessed to most effectively and efficiently achieve social objectives.” Yale SOM is unique among other management schools in its interconnectedness with the entirety of Yale University’s Academic Programs. Students are permitted to take classes in nearly every other program at Yale, including the Law School and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

3. Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley

Ranked #2 in Best Business Schools Specialty Rankings: Nonprofit, US News & World Report (2010), behind only Yale SOM, the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley boasts the Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership. The school offers a “robust series of courses prepares our students in nonprofit and public sector management, leadership, and social entrepreneurship.” The school’s core curriculum consists of a comprehensive CSR component, and nearly half of the cases addressed concern CSR. The school boasts faculty members such as Dr. Kellie McElhaney, Nora Silver, and David Vogel, all leaders in the field of social enterprise and nonprofit management. Moreover, Haas students can access classes on the entire UC Berkeley campus, including the Department of Environmental Science Policy Management, the Energy Resources Group, the Goldman School of Public Policy, and the Boalt Hall School of Law.

4. The Graduate School of Business at Stanford University

Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business (GSB) ranked #1 in U.S. News and World Report’s overall ranking of business schools and #3 in its nonprofit specialization. GSB is home to the Center for Social Innovation, which “cultivate leaders who can solve the world’s toughest social and environmental problems.” The Center for Social Innovation boasts Faculty Directors Dale Miller and James Phillis Jr., and aims to teach students about the social impact their organizations can have in areas such as health care, education and other fields.

5. F. W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College

Babson College was the world’s first academic institution to offer a course in entrepreneurship. Since then, Babson has been recognized as a leader in entrepreneurship education, especially social entrepreneurship, a subject which the college strongly emphasizes. Among Babson’s course offerings are “The Social Entrepreneur,” which is “about social entrepreneurs and the organizations they create and run… which seek to achieve both social objectives and financial sustainability,” and “Socially Responsible Entrepreneurship,” which is about businesses that are focused not only on the bottom line, but society and the environment as well. According to one Babson student, “there is an “integrated curriculum that weaves social and ethical responsibility themes into all classes, allowing students to see these issues in greater clarity because they are combined with issues of accounting, organizational management, finance, etc.”