Judy Samuelson, SOM ’82, Discusses Business Education

The Aspen Institute’s Judy Samuelson (SOM ’82) visited the Yale School of Management on January 30, 2013 to speak about her work as executive director of the Institute’s Business and Society Program (Aspen BSP). The Aspen Institute, based in Washington, D.C., is an educational and policy studies organization with the mission of fostering nonpartisan, values-based leadership. Aspen BSP specifically focuses on aligning business with the long-term health of society.  The program designs its initiatives to help business executives and business educators promote a long-term orientation in business decision-making, explore business sustainability, and integrate the concepts of profitability and public good.

Samuelson’s talk focused on the importance of deep change in business education. With many CEOs and influential business executives earning their credentials at MBA programs around the world, successfully changing the way business decisions are made must start in the classroom. Samuelson is a firm believer that MBA faculty members have the ability to be agents of change. Since business school professors are the ones who teach management tools and frameworks to their students, they play a pivotal role in influencing the way MBAs and future business leaders engage in the decision-making process.  To promote long-term change in business practices, Samuelson believes business schools need to incorporate into their curricula topics such as social and environmental stewardship, corporate governance and accountability, ethics, and stakeholder management. Every two years, the Aspen Institute has been publishing Beyond Grey Pinstripes, a survey that highlights full-time MBA programs that are successfully integrating social, environmental, and ethical issues into their coursework. Yale School of Management currently ranks #5.

Prior to the Aspen Institute, Samuelson led the Ford Foundation's office of Program Related-Investments. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science and art history from UCLA and a master's degree from the Yale School of Management. Samuelson is also chair emeritus at Net Impact, a network of students and professionals interested in sustainability, corporate responsibility, and social entrepreneurship.