Business Schools With a Social Appeal

Monday, January 24, 2011

LONDON – Business schools can be cutthroat places. After struggling to gain admission to the top schools, students compete for grades and the best work placements. Meanwhile, the schools themselves jostle for position in the various global rankings, competing in order to attract the most able students. But in the never-ending battle for dominance, one London business school has decided to appeal not to potential students’ wallets, but to their consciences.

Starting in September, the Hult International Business School will offer a master’s degree in social entrepreneurship. The Hult president, Stephen Hodges, said that the new program, which is “based on the principle that social problems can be tackled in similar ways to business problems,” grew out of the enormous response to the Hult Global Case Challenge, a competition that tackles social problems “through crowd-sourcing innovative ideas and solutions from the world’s best and brightest business school students.”

“One of our students, Ahmad Ashkar, organized the first competition last year,” Dr. Hodges said in an interview. “This was an entirely student-led activity. The school provided no support whatsoever. In the end there were teams from 100 different business schools who donated their time and expertise to helping One Laptop per Child – the charity that brings inexpensive computers to the third world. It made us realize that there is a tremendous appetite for this. Today’s business students are far more socially aware than their predecessors.”

Source: The New York Times (link opens in a new window)