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Social Impact

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

Mission-driven

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. 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

“It's going to take a diverse team of people with a diverse skillset to tackle one of the most persistent, challenging problems of our time, which is that of health disparity.”

—Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, director of the Pozen-Commonwealth Fund Fellowship in Health Equity Leadership

“It’s not just a finance case and it’s not just a case about urban renewal. It requires you to think through all of these different perspectives and to think about a strategy that would make, not just NXTHVN work, but a strategy that would benefit New Haven.”

—Prof. William Goetzmann on the NXTHVN case

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

Core courses: State and Society, The Executive

Electives: Aligning Profit and Purpose, Economic Development Lab: Education Policy, Financing Green Technologies, Global Social Entrepreneurship, Impact Measurement & Financial Reporting in the Social Sector, Inequality and Social Mobility, Managing Social Enterprises, Market Failures and Economic Policy in Developing Countries, Metrics, Tools and Indicators in Corporate Responsibility, Public Health Entrepreneurship, Private Capital and Impact Investing, Social Entrepreneurship Lab, Strategic Management of Nonprofit Organizations, Urban Poverty and Economic Development

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. 

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. 

Creating Real Value: Social Impact Week 

Net Impact hosts the annual Social Impact Week in celebration of the vast social impact opportunities and interests shared amongst the Yale SOM community. Each Social Impact Week is filled with social, professional development, and educational programming hosted by mission-driven clubs across Yale SOM.

Featured events, 2022:

  • Creating Real Value in a Changing World with Judy Samuelson ’82 
  • How Do I Do the Most Good with My Donation? The Effective Altruism Approach
  • Bringing Impact into the Banking Space
  • New Haven Impact with Kate Cooney

“I was attracted to Yale SOM’s mission and its commitment to educate leaders for business and society. Once I got here, it was easy to see how that mission is lived and breathed in the curriculum, clubs, and culture of the school.”

Ezra Nelson ’21

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.

Social Impact Landscape 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.

Our insights