Yale School of Management

Social Impact

At Yale SOM, we’ve been thinking about “social impact” since before most people had heard the term.

Our founding mission of educating leaders for business and society has meant that every initiative at the school considers how business and market forces can improve the world. You could say that social impact is in our DNA. It’s wound into our curriculum, it’s the passion that animates our students, and it’s the focus of faculty inquiry. Our alumni have gone on to have major impact across industries and sectors by applying creativity, rigor, and a deep passion for making a difference in the world.

Areas of Focus
  • Social Enterprise
  • Economic Development
  • Nonprofit Management
  • Sustainability
  • Impact Investing
  • Healthcare
  • Diversity and Inclusion


When we teach the fundamentals of management and leadership, we include thinking that goes beyond the bottom line. In the MBA core, for instance, each course includes material that can be explicitly described as related to social and environmental issues. This material amounts to more than a quarter of classroom hours. But that’s only the beginning—social impact also comes up in discussions every day, since these are issues our faculty and students care deeply about.

View sample electives

Opportunities for Students

Yale SOM Conferences and Events

Major student-led conferences each year bring experts and innovators in philanthropy, education, economic development, and healthcare for conversations about how to drive beneficial change. Students organizers deepen their own leadership skills and knowledge of their chosen field. 

Global Social Enterprise

Each year, as part of a for-credit course, teams of students work with global organizations to solve real challenges and impact lives. Students act as consultants and travel to their client’s home country as part of the project. 

Social Impact Lab

Committed students and faculty sit down with a visiting expert each week to discuss leading-edge ideas for creating positive social and environmental change. Learn more. 

Net Impact

One of the school’s longest-running and most popular clubs, Net Impact serves as an umbrella organization for students interested in social impact. The club hosts talks, organizes job treks, and catalyzes interest in critical topics. 

Program on Social Enterprise

The Program on Social Enterprise (PSE) supports scholars, students, alumni, and practitioners interested in exploring the ways in which business skills and market disciplines can be harnessed to most effectively and efficiently achieve social objectives. 

Our activities span courses, research, conferences, and publications.  In addition to these formal activities, the PSE also serves as a focal point for social enterprise-related activities at SOM, facilitating, advising, and drawing connections among students, faculty, the Yale community, and the broader network in the US and internationally of interested practitioners and institutions.

Student Profiles

  • In my Corporate Environmental Management Strategy class, I was able to work on a personal project: how to decarbonize the Nigerian electrical grid.

    Edirin Aghoghovbia ’19
  • So much of what we do in public education relies on mission-driven leaders who really understand from start to finish how their ideas can impact the populations they’re trying to serve.

    Graham Browne
  • Transitioning into the nonprofit sector, I’ve relied heavily on classmates who have worked in nonprofits

    Elle Campion '19
  • It’s exciting seeing how we can transform our society for the good of the majority of our people.

    Ken Ofori-Atta

Social Impact Articles & Insights

Yale Insights on Social Enterprise

Social Impact at Yale SOM

Social Enterprise, economic development, international nonprofits: Program on Social Enterprise

Entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, and startups: Program on Entrepreneurship

Sustainability, green business, sustainable finance: Center for Business and the Environment at Yale

Student activities, events, and career support: Net Impact

Many other student clubs address aspects of social impact. View the full list.