IESE Launches an MBA Elective in Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship

New course reflects a growing commitment by business schools to address the unique needs of social enterprises

Spain's IESE Business School has launched a new MBA elective that focuses on social entrepreneurship, according to the school's website.

The new course is called "Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship," and explores the relationship between social and financial objectives. Among other outcomes, the course will help students be able to develop strategic models that combine financial and social value.

The elective will also feature a hands-on project component, where students will work directly with social enterprises and other companies to learn about how the course concepts play out in the real world.

According to professor Antonino Vaccaro, who teaches on the course, there is a growing interest in social entrepreneurship among MBAs, as well as within the larger business community.

"Companies are realizing that a positive social impact has to go beyond corporate social responsibility," Vaccaro says. "They’re also discovering that a social focus makes them more competitive."

Indeed, a number of business schools have developed research centers and other initiatives to research the interaction between social enterprise and competitiveness and other topics. In 2003, for instance, Oxford's Said Business School launched its Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, which seeks to advance social entrepreneurship through research and collaboration. Through the center, Oxford offers three MBA courses in social entrepreneurship, including "Social Finance," which explores social finance markets and social investments; and "Social Enterprise Design," which focuses on development aspects of social enterprises. 

Harvard Business School, which launched its Social Enterprise Initiative in 1993, is perhaps the pioneer in this space; the school produces a wide range of research and case studies on topics related to social enterprises. Today, Harvard now offers a number of MBA electives that focus on social enterprises, including "Business at the Base of the Pyramid," which addresses the challenges and opportunities of businesses operating in developing countries.

For more about MBA programs with a focus on social enterprise, please see FIND MBA's list of Top Business Schools for a Career in Sustainability / CSR / Social Entrepreneurship.

Image: Mika58 / Creative Commons

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