With Questrom’s Social Impact Full-Time MBA program, you will study at the vital juncture where business fundamentals meet opportunities to create social value.
The Social Impact MBA program develops responsible leaders (for start-ups, established firms, and both for-profit and nonprofit organizations) who create innovative products, services, and business models that help address vital social challenges such as climate change, food security, global health, poverty, discrimination, and more. With a Social Impact MBA, you’ll be ready to grow and sustain your organization now and in the future.
Whether you aspire to work in sustainable finance, responsible business, or nonprofit and public management, Questrom's Social Impact MBA program gives you the opportunity to gain crucial business skills that allow you to create positive social change.
While you're here, you’ll learn the full array of business fundamentals like strategy, marketing, accounting, and finance, all while simultaneously specializing in topics like social entrepreneurship, sustainable energy and environment, global health, sustainable finance and impact investing, and philanthropy.
You'll develop bonds with your classmates and learn from their diverse personal and professional backgrounds. You’ll be fully integrated into Questrom’s dynamic MBA curriculum and community.
Inside and outside of the classroom, the Social Impact MBA program will connect you with best-in-class nonprofit and for-profit organizations through global field seminars, consulting projects, case competitions, guest speakers, and classroom activities. What’s more, studying in Boston puts you at the center of the action, enabling you to engage directly with academic experts and industry leaders in the social impact sector.
You can enroll in the Social Impact MBA as a part-time student and can complete the program on either of the two PEMBA tracks.
Part-Time Social Impact MBA Program Requirements
The part-time Social Impact MBA program and our Professional Evening MBA program share the same core curriculum. However, with the Social Impact MBA you’ll be able to specialize your MBA degree with our Social Impact targeted electives. Students must take one required course and choose three additional Social Impact electives in order to earn the Social Impact specialization.
The required Social Impact course:
Social Impact: Business, Society, and the Natural Environment (QSTSR801)
This course explores the relationship between corporations, society, and the natural environment. Specifically, it examines the ways in which governments, corporations and civil society (fail to) have positive impact and manage issues where the pursuit of private goals is deemed inconsistent with the public interest. There are two modules to the course: (1) The first module examines these issues and the tensions that arise between the different stakeholders. In particular, we will discuss different types of market failures (due to negative externalities, imperfect information, public goods, and market control) and their impact on the natural and social environment. (2) The second module explores how (non-profit and for-profit) organizations can take private actions to mitigate the previously identified market failures and respond to the increasing pressure to address environmental and social issues through the adoption of sustainable business practices. This course is ideal for any student interested in social impact such as corporate social responsibility, environmental sustainability, nonprofit & public management, sustainable finance & responsible investment, social entrepreneurship, global health, and clean technology & sustainable energy. It is open to all full-time MBA and PEMBA students, and it is the foundational course for students in the Social Impact MBA program.
Professional Evening MBA students at Questrom have choices—8 electives within the program to be exact. Social Impact MBA students are only required to take 4 social impact electives and may use the additional 4 electives as they wish. You can either take additional social impact MBA electives, pursue another concentration altogether, or explore any elective we offer that fits your interests.
Here’s a sample of some of the Social Impact electives you’ll be able to choose from.
Fnd Nonprof Mgt (QSTSR841)
Social Impact Seminar (QSTIM860)
This course provides an action-based learning experience for students interested in understanding how for-profit and non-profit organizations develop innovative products and services that help mitigate grand challenges such as climate change, food security, global health, and poverty, and enable them to grow their business and sustain their competitive advantage over time. Students will work on a live 'social impact' consulting project for a client from the host country, and present their recommendation to the client while in the country. Furthermore, students will visit and interact with various players in the social impact sector (e.g., entrepreneurs, high-level executives, non-profit leaders) to learn about the opportunities and challenges they face. This course is ideal for students interested in social impact, sustainable energy, environmental sustainability, social entrepreneurship, socially responsible investing (SRI), and global health and healthcare.
Health Sector Issues and Opportunities (QSTHM703)
This course provides a dynamic introduction to the health sector, beginning with the burden and distribution of disease and current patterns of expenditures. While the emphasis will be on the American system, a global context will be developed. The basic elements of insurance and payment, service delivery, and life sciences products will be described, and put in the context of the unique economic structure of the sector. The intense challenges of the sector will be explored, as well as both the ethical issues presented and the opportunities that emerge. Public policy and technological and practice development as drivers of change will be addressed throughout.
Sustainable Energy Business Models and Policies (QSTPL851)
The course will feature a series of 13 speakers, each from one area of sustainable energy business, in a discussion that connects the business strategy, business model, public policy and regulatory drivers that affect the business. The areas featured include solar and wind energy, the smart grid, energy efficiency businesses, energy storage, and several others. The goal of the course is to (1) introduce business students to this specialized area and to the range of subjects they will need to learn if they intend to pursue a career in this sector; (2) show students how different sustainable energy companies define their business model to respond to transformations and opportunities in their industry, and how that business model interacts with public policies. Students from outside of Questrom may enroll with permission of instructor, based on knowledge of energy technologies, regulation, and basic energy economics.
Clean Technologies and Supply Chains (QSTOM845)
The clean technology industry is one of the largest sectors of the economy and yet still undergoing significant growth and attracting a plethora of new entrants. It has been characterized by a great deal of experimentation around new technologies and around business models in the face of regulatory and market place disruptions. The course uses a combination of cases, simulation and analytical exercises to review trends and their co-evolution within the clean technology/energy eco-system. It aims to build a skill set around risk and opportunity assessment, and allied implementation challenges. This course is aligned with the requirements of the Entrepreneurship, PNP and Strategy concentrations.
Sustainable Electric Power: The Future Clean Power Ecosystem (QSTPL852)
This course will provide a solid understanding of the technology, regulation, and business of electric utilities. It will explain how the electric grid is changing into a sustainable, zero-carbon system - both the technologies and policies. It will also explain the original sales and business models of utilities and how utilities are moving into new lines of business, pricing, and business models. Finally, it will provide an overview of the rapidly expanding commercial clean energy ecosystem that surrounds and interacts with modern utilities.
The Leadership Challenge (QSTOB848)
This course examines the essence of leadership; its relationship to managing; and the behaviors, attitudes and perspectives that distinguish leaders. Leadership is considered in a variety of ways: leadership in crises, at the top, in the middle, and in groups. Case studies, students' past experiences, instruments, and other learning activities provide opportunities for students to assess and develop their leadership talents.
Starting New Ventures (QSTSI852)
This course focuses on the process of identifying and obtaining the necessary resources to launch an entrepreneurial venture through the development of a business plan. A well-written business plan will communicate the business concept in a way that attracts the various resource providers necessary for the venture's success. Students will individually develop a business concept and prepare and present a professional business plan.
Corporate Sustainability Strategy (QSTSI849)
Focuses on embedding sustainability (ESG/CSR) into corporate strategy as an approach for creating long-term shareholder/stakeholder value, where value covers the broad spectrum of economic, environmental and social outcomes. Through readings, lectures, case discussions, in-class exercises, lab session and a team project, this course will: 1) Introduce students to problem framing and environmental scanning techniques as methods for understanding macro-level social, economic and environmental systems and their implications; 2) Apply a variety of long-range strategic forecasting and analysis methods, techniques and tools through a scenario planning lab simulation; 3) Develop decision frameworks for corporate strategy development focused on creating/capturing value and managing risk through a sequence of strategic actions over time; 4) Explore newly emerging paradigms for sustainability-driven innovations in product/service, value chain and business model development and stakeholder-based, non-market actions.
Foundations of Environmental Sustainability (QSTSI836)
The changing relationship between business and the natural environment offers both challenges and opportunities for firms. In this course we will discuss many facets of business, including financing, risk management, measurement, competitive positioning, innovation, and strategy in the context of increasing pressures for improved environmental sustainability. The course will be interactive and discussion-oriented, with a case discussion in most class sessions, supplemented by debates, simulation exercises, visitors, student presentations, discussions of recent news articles, and mini-lectures. The course is appropriate for all students interested in how demands for sustainability will continue to change the business environment.
Strategic Fundraising and Corporate Philanthropy (QSTPL837)
This course is designed to help students develop a sophisticated understanding of the field of philanthropy and its role in building successful nonprofit organizations. The course is designed for students who want to become effective nonprofit managers and development professionals, securing financial resources for charitable organizations from foundations, corporations, and individuals. It is also designed to help students become thoughtful stewards of philanthropic funds as a foundation trustee or program officer, corporate giving officer, or individual philanthropist. Accordingly, the course will alternately adopt the perspective of the grant-seeker and the grant-maker. This approach will help prepare future leaders in the field, whether providers of funding or applicants for it, to understand the current and historical context of their work and to ask the right questions of prospective funders, prospective grantees, and their own organizations. The course will consider diverse viewpoints on philanthropy and explore some alternatives to traditional grant-making.
Social Entrepreneurship (QSTPL850)
The Social Entrepreneurship course is designed to: (1) explore the concepts, practices, opportunities, and challenges of social entrepreneurship; (2) provide frameworks and tools that will help students be more effective in this sector; and (3) provide an opportunity for students to create a business plan for a new social enterprise or an income-generating initiative of a nonprofit organization. In the business plan project, student teams will partner with external organizations. Students will identify and analyze opportunities, resources, and risks and apply skills from marketing, accounting, organizational behavior, strategy and other disciplines. Special emphasis will be placed on aspects of business planning and organizational strategy that are particularly challenging or distinctive in the social sector, including mission definition, leadership, organizational structure, raising capital, and measuring results.
Purpose-Led Marketing (QSTMK867)
Globalization, increasing transparency in business operations and the prevalence of social media have forever changed the way stakeholders view and interact with organizations. Societal and business imperatives are not only often considered compatible; they can be increasingly viewed as one and the same. People today often communicate, organize and engage based on mutual interests, and, generally, place greater trust in organizations and individuals that work for a better world. Marketing has often been referred to as the "science of sales." Whether you are selling a product, an intervention or an idea, it can be a powerful tool for advancing social change in today's dynamic environment. The strategic integration of a relevant social purpose into a product, business or nonprofit organization through brand-building citizenship activities can drive consumer and donor recall, consideration, acquisition, retention and propensity to recommend. However, these efforts do not usually constitute a "silver bullet" and may not be the best solution to a business problem or societal need at all. In the worst cases, ill-conceived citizenship marketing strategies can result in damaging consequences. Practitioners must be pragmatic when engaging in marketing social change. Understanding how to apply best practice, identify opportunities, address challenges, engage stakeholders and innovate strategically are essential skills in this rapidly evolving sector. The purpose of this course is to provide students with an in-depth understanding of how marketing principles can be applied to create both short-term and lasting social change. Students will explore dimensions of the modern landscapes of brand, corporate and nonprofit "citizenship" and how they relate to marketing. Areas of study include: cause-related marketing and cause branding; nonprofit branding and social movements, as well as corporate social responsibility and shared value creation.
Behavior Change Practicum (QSTMK838)
Every organization -- be it government, private company or welfare agency -- is in the business of changing behavior. In this course, students will learn to apply insights from behavioral economics to effectively produce it. In teams, students will: (1) translate a real-time business or policy challenge into a specific behavior change project; (2) use the frameworks presented in class along with research from economics, psychology, marketing, and other related disciplines to develop possible interventions and/or frameworks for addressing the challenge; and (3) audit the decision-making process of various stakeholders to identify pain points and opportunities for behavior change. Previous organizations include Warby Parker, the World Bank, and FCLT Global.
Leading the Mission-Driven Organization (QSTOB830)
Mission-driven organizations are created in order to accomplish goals that extend beyond profits for stakeholders and owners. Missions vary, ranging from, among many others, improving health care, providing meaningful work opportunities, educating or protecting youth, safeguarding the planet, eradicating poverty, building sustainable organizations, and enabling spirituality. Such missions occur in the context of various organizations, including non-profit and for-profit, philanthropic and religious, public and private, governmental and non-governmental. This course focuses on leadership theories, frameworks, and practices that take seriously the nature of workers, including both professional staff and volunteers, and their reasons for choosing to work in such organizations. This course is designed to build the capacities of students to use specific tools related to leadership, conflict, and change that are particularly useful in leading mission- driven organizations, and enable them to develop particular insights about specific mission-driven organizations of interest, related to their effectiveness and capacities for change.
Management Consulting Field Project (QSTOB840)
The purpose of this course is to provide students with an in-depth understanding of the management consulting process and its practical application. Students will explore dimensions of the consulting framework, engagements, work methodology, client relationship management, value creation, developing and delivering presentations and client follow-up. This course requires a series of interim deliverables contributing toward the final deliverable. This course is primarily a field-based course supported by lectures, readings, guest speakers and case discussions. The course simulates a small consulting firm where you are the consultant. By working on a consulting assignment with team members as well as using your classmates as resources for your project you are gaining the "real world" experience of working in a small consulting firm. This class is designed and best suited for second year students who have 3-5 years work experience in the public, private or nonprofit sectors. Management consulting experience is not required though it is helpful.
*QSTMK838, QSTSI852, QSTOB840 only count towards degree with qualifying project.
Four additional new courses are expected to be offered in the near future:
Integrated Reporting (expected Fall 2020)
ESG Equity Investing (expected Fall 2020)
Sustainable Green Supply Chain (expected Spring 2021)
Social Impact Fund (expected Fall 2021)
You will get the chance to specialize your focus with our intensive electives, and all Social Impact students get the opportunity to add an internship to their MBA. Full-time students are required to take this opportunity to break out of the classroom and experience hands-on learning to bring their education straight into the field. Part-time students may waive the internship requirement with applicable work experience, pending permission of the Social Impact MBA faculty director.
The advantages of being a student in the program will continue even after graduation. You’ll reap all the benefits that our Social Impact alumni network has to offer. We’ll connect you with alumni and professionals who share your social impact interests and goals as you grow your career.
You can tailor your Social Impact MBA with a custom focus area by combining Career Pathways and Learning Communities, or simply take electives that fall within a focus area you’re interested in. The program provides breadth and depth, and sets you up for success across sectors.
Related Degree Programs
You can take on the Social Impact MBA at a full-time or part-time pace. We also give you the opportunity to customize your degree with a concentration. Or, tackle two areas at once with our joint degree options. It's your vision. We'll help you make it real.
Take the Next Step
See for yourself how the Questrom experience can transform your world. Attend an admissions event in-person or online, grab coffee with a student, sit in on a class, and more. Ready to apply? Once you've submitted your materials, we'll start the review process. We're happy to answer your questions along the way.