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Social Impact - Cloned

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


Students working together

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.

Areas of Focus

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

Community stories

Ali Nourang Syed ’24

Ali Nourang Syed ’24

Preview image for the video "The Cross-Section of Business & Society: Social Entrepreneurship Lab".
In the Social Entrepreneurship Lab course, students from across Yale form teams to develop potential solutions to social and environmental challenges.

Through impact investments, we can put our money into good use and create more long-term sustainable positive impact for our world. We can help people. We can help our communities.

Our curriculum

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.

Sample courses

MBA core courses

  • State and Society
  • The Executive

Sample electives

  • Business and Environment: Management and Strategy
  • Business Ethics
  • Education Policy
  • Ethical Choices in Public Leadership
  • Financing Green Technologies
  • Global Social Entrepreneurship
  • Inclusive Economic Development Lab
  • Inequality and Social Mobility
  • Managing Sustainable Operations
  • Modern Philanthropy: Perspectives and Challenges
  •  Natural Capital: Risks and Opportunities in Global Resource Systems
  • Strategic Management of Nonprofit Organizations
  • Urban Poverty and Economic Development

Prof. Kate Cooney teaching

Teachers & Scholars

Faculty from across the school study issues related to social impact and bring their expertise into the classroom.

An impact case study

A case about a novel effort to revitalize a New Haven neighborhood brought together students and faculty studying economic development and commercial real estate.

Preview image for the video "A Multidisciplinary Case Study Explores the Birth of a New Haven Arts Incubator".

Opportunities for students

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. 

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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. 

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

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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. 

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Sample Events

A Night of Fun for a Good Cause
Alyssa Ferdetta ’24 shares a participant’s view of the Internship Fund’s biggest night of the year.

Alumni Discuss ‘Breaking Barriers’ During Second Donald H. Ogilvie ’78 Colloquium
Funmi Akinlawon Haastrup ’03, Beanie Barnes ’08, and Corey Harrison ’11 sat down for a candid conversation about their experiences as underrepresented leaders in their respective industries.

Clarifying Misconceptions: Insights from the 2023 Yale Impact Investing Conference
Feli Oikonomopoulou ’24 reflects on what impact investing does and does not mean.

Designer Stella McCartney Discusses Sustainability and the Future of Fashion
Fashion designer and climate activist Stella McCartney joined former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi ’80 at the Yale School of Management on April 24 for a talk about combatting the industry’s high carbon emission rates.

Video: Student Volunteers Help Afghan Refugees Build Sustainable Business
During a recent Food, Agribusiness, and Beverage Club event at Yale SOM, students offer local Afghan refugees a helping hand.

Yale SOM had all the elements I was looking for in a top MBA program. I wanted a global perspective and diverse classmates who were passionate about the school’s mission to educate leaders for business and society. 

Jackie Peszynski

Social Impact Landscape at Yale SOM

Numerous student groups, faculty-led centers, and other institutions at Yale provide opportunities to engage and learn about social impact.

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

Entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, and startups: Program on Entrepreneurship

Impact investing: Meng Impact Investment Fund

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

Student activities, events, and career support: Net Impact

Nonprofit board service around New Haven: Nonprofit Board Fellows

Pro bono consulting: Social Impact Consulting club

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

Listen in

Faculty- and student-produced podcasts can give you insight into the conversation around impact that's always happening at the school.

CityScope show art


A podcast about cities and inclusive economic development from Kate Cooney and her students at the Yale School of Management.

Impact & Innovation artwork

Impact & Innovation

Social entrepreneurs from around the world come to Yale SOM to share the challenges they are grappling with and the insights they are gaining in the field.