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5 Top Schools for MBAs In Impact Investing—Plus One You May Not Have Heard of Yet

a mixed group of graduates celebrate

Where will you get your impact investing MBA?

Where business-minded millennials decide to pursue their MBA has far-reaching implications for where and how the largest wealth transfer in history unfolds. MBA graduates of the next ten to twenty years will change the face of impact investing and the schools they attend will help decide the flow of 21st century wealth.

From U.S. News and World Report’s 2014 ranking of the top business schools, we selected three U.S. based schools and two international schools where some of the social investing leaders of the future will learn their craft.

Harvard

Harvard Business School “pioneered the concept of social enterprise with the founding of its Social Enterprise Initiative in 1993.”

HBS creates a new breed of philanthropist-investors that create new financial instruments designed to generate returns from social investments. The school trains students to recognize that “socially-oriented investors are increasingly demanding opportunities to invest in projects that yield both social and financial returns.”

Impact investing demands new financial models, new social metrics, and new regulation. Students actively collaborate with professors, alumni, and business leaders to develop these new methods for impact investing.

“We need to be a force in drawing more people into being less risk averse, to try the new things that we need in order to create social change. And I think HBS can be a force in driving that change” Alvaro Rodriguez IGNIA MBA 1995

Wharton MBA Program

Wharton wants students to “make an impact in a rapidly changing world.” Wharton graduates generate social value in a business setting, assume positions of leadership in the non-profit sector, and become entrepreneurs that change the world of impact investing.

Wharton encourages hands-on, community engagement from day one both domestically and internationally.They apply business skills to promote economic development and improved quality of life.

Jacob Gray, Senior Director of the Wharton Social Impact Initiative, says, “Our goal is to provide the best experiential education available in the field of impact investment.”

Said Business School

Oxford’s Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at the Said Business School sees the next ten years as an “historic moment in business education.” The graduate program at Skoll champions entrepreneurship for developing new market systems, disruptive innovation, and new business models.

Students learn about new laws and regulations that guide socially responsible yet profitable investing. Graduates are “strategically positioned to take a leadership role in accelerating the creation of a new business architecture.” Cornerstones of the SAID program include entrepreneurship, collaboration, innovation, global focus, systemic impact, intellectual rigor, and honesty.

INSEAD

The Business School for the World

INSEAD, with locations on four continents, defines social entrepreneurship as the “use of business practices and market principles to bring about positive social change.”

INSEAD sees a need for impact investing in every sector and every market. To meet the needs of existing social leaders, who may lack the business, management, and strategy skills that wealth in the private capital markets, INSEAD leverages existing programs to train social entrepreneurs. The ISEP program, first launched in 2005, invites leading social entrepreneurs to join a network of support and knowledge sharing.

Leading with research and faculty involvement, INSEAD trains MBA candidates to develop a two-way dialogue that applies advanced management thinking to the challenges of social environments.

Yale Management School

Yale educates business leaders for society. They first introduced a school focused on public management in 1974 and although there is no single “social investing center,” like the other schools reviewed, Yale offers 13 electives ranging from “Financial Statements of Non-Profit Organizations” to the “Business of Not-for-Profit Management.”

Yale brings together entrepreneurship, business skills, and social responsibility to provide MBA candidates with one of the best educations available anywhere in the world.

And one you may not know about…

James Lee Sorenson Center for Impact Investing

The Sorenson Center at the University of Utah offers MBA candidates a comprehensive program with access to an “unparalleled learning opportunity.” Since practical experience in impact investing is difficult to create in classrooms alone, they designed a program where students interact with socially conscious leaders every day.

Students regularly collaborate with leading venture funds, banks, foundations, consulting firms and social entrepreneurs to identify, fund, and grow businesses for impact investing. Students work on live projects to develop strategies facing businesses in real-time settings.

Students and organizations work together to identify new markets, marketing strategies, and develop competitive advantages.

Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

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One thought on “5 Top Schools for MBAs In Impact Investing—Plus One You May Not Have Heard of Yet”

  1. The Impact Finance Center is dedicated to catalyzing investments that produce enduring value for the investor, society, and our environment. We believe that every investment has an impact – our job is to help our clients and partners understand those impacts on a broader scale and maximize the benefits while minimizing unintended harm.

    IFC is distinguished not just in the depth of our transaction expertise, but also in our dedication to intellectual thought leadership. As an academic research center that combines outstanding students and experienced practitioners, we offer an unrivaled blend of practical experience, cutting-edge scholarship and independent thought. And because we are a nonprofit enterprise, we work hard to ensure that our findings are quickly disseminated throughout the market.

    Working with IFC means advancing your own understanding of impact investing and advancing the impact investing field as a whole.

    The Impact Finance Center is a partnership between Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver and the Sustainable Endowments Institute, a special project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

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