Since 1973, the Boston University (BU) Questrom School of Business (formerly the School of Management) has offered a Social Impact MBA (formerly the Public & Nonprofit Management MBA), specifically designed to cultivate business management skills that can make a real difference in the world. Standing at 28th among U.S. MBA programs in the The Economist’s 2021 rankings and fifth among the best MBA programs for nonprofit in the Princeton Review 2022 ranking, Questrom exposes Social Impact students to a robust general management core curriculum, mirroring that of the full-time MBA program, with one additional core course titled “Social Impact: Business, Society, and the Natural Environment.” Students in the Social Impact MBA program take ten elective courses, just like students in the full-time MBA program, but four of the ten must focus on social impact. Electives that fulfill the requirement include such courses as “Social Impact Field Seminar,” “Health Sector Issues and Opportunities,” “Environmentally Sustainable Supply Chains,” and “Starting New Ventures.”
Nearby, at Boston College’s (BC’s) Carroll School of Management, students enjoy a close-knit classroom environment in which they gain exposure to broad management skills, with a particular emphasis on business ethics. Both the school’s curriculum and the student community engender a set of core values: “honesty,” “integrity,” “mutual respect,” “the relentless pursuit of excellence,” and “accountability to self and others.” In addition to, for example, taking three courses on data analytics, full-time MBA students at the Carroll School must complete a 20-hour community service requirement, which the school believes will help instill in its MBAs an appreciation for and a spirit of giving back to the community.
These values are also reflected in the school’s core “Thinking Strategically: A Global Integrative Simulation” course, in which students learn to think critically about the challenges involved in business leadership. As one graduate commented in a past Bloomberg Businessweek profile of the Carroll School, “In the background of your core classes, and many electives, is a strong consideration on the moral and ethical dilemmas that often arise in the business world. I never felt that ‘morality’ was being pushed on us, but the consequences of each decision we make were always placed in front of us and we were left to make up our own mind.”