November 6, 2013 8:52 am

Berkeley Haas strengthens focus on social impact of business

Haas School of Business©Edward Caldwell

The University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business is strengthening its commitment to responsible business through the launch of the Institute for Business and Social Impact.

The Institute will be the hub for the school’s teaching and research in the field, incorporating the school’s existing centre for responsible business and its centre for non-profit and public leadership.

“We want to want to build upon our strong tradition and programmes . . . to engage with social and environmental challenges,” says Laura Tyson, who heads the initiative. “The school should be proud of its innovation in this field.”

The strength of the Haas school lies in its interdisciplinary ties with other schools at Berkeley, as well as the number of leading professors who have directed their research towards social impact, says Prof Tyson, a former dean at Haas.

By bringing together faculty from a breadth of specialisms, the institute will act as a bridge between the for-profit, non-profit and public sectors, she says. “Solutions to some of the world’s greatest problems require partnership between [all three sectors].”

One of the institute’s objectives is to equip students with the skills and mindset to become responsible business leaders. “First and foremost, [the institute’s] impact will be through student projects,” says Prof Tyson. Haas MBA students take an applied innovation course to develop leadership skills in real-life projects, many within NGOs or focusing on corporate social responsibility.

The Global Social Venture Competition – an international student business plan competition for emerging social ventures – was founded by Haas MBA students in 1999 and is to be housed within the new institute.

A focus will also be the impact of women on business and the economy. Prof Tyson – who co-authors the World Economic Forum’s global gender gap report – says that programmes will explore strategies to encourage the advancement of women in corporate management, entrepreneurship and non-profit leadership.

http://www.haas.berkeley.edu/

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