Trends come and go at business schools, with only a handful sticking around for the long term. One of the most popular trends at the moment is impact investing, which has the goal of creating positive environmental and social impact while generating financial return. Impact investing has fascinated MBA students for years—for example, Columbia Business School has offered courses on the subject for more than a decade—but a number of top-ranked schools have only recently taken steps toward making the field accessible to students. Harvard Business School (HBS), for example, will offer its first impact investing course this fall.
At Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, the school’s five-year-old CASE i3 Initiative on Impact Investing has gradually attracted interest, and now 10% to 30% of each class applies to take part in the initiative. Although HBS has not previously offered courses on the subject, curiosity around campus has been strong. “Relative to five years ago, we see a significant uptick in student, faculty, and alumni interest [in the subject],” Matt Segneri, director of the school’s Social Enterprise Initiative, commented to Fortune.