How we teach social impact

The Social Impact curriculum features a wide array of courses designed for students who want to create positive social change. Students develop the necessary skills to pursue leadership positions with a wide range of organizations, from corporations and governmental entities to startups and social enterprises. Social Impact is woven through coursework both in the classroom and in experiential learning.

Explore the Social Impact Curriculum

The Social Impact Pathway

In addition to majors, Kellogg provides “pathways” to students interested in building expertise in emerging areas and evolving industries. The Social Impact Pathway is designed for students who want to create positive social change throughout their careers. The conceptual basis of the pathway includes classes to define social value, identify and implement strategies to effect change through partnerships between business, government and nonprofits, and anticipate and manage inevitable value conflicts.


Social Impact Courses

Conceptual Basis: Explore the foundations of social value and key strategies to effect change

KPPI-440-5 Leadership and Crisis Management

Based on a rich set of case studies and crisis simulation exercises, this class focuses on crisis management from the point of view of managers and consultants. Students learn to anticipate and manage crises successfully, combine strategic thinking with an awareness of the importance of the ethical dimensions of business, understand the motivations and strategic capabilities of stakeholders, and appreciate the importance of value-based management in preventing and managing corporate crises.

KPPI-441-0 Strategy Beyond Markets

Structured around coalition formation, institutions, and integrated strategy, this course focuses on non-market strategy from the point of view of managers, consultants, and investors. Through concepts, skills, and analytical tools rooted in economics, political science and, to a lesser extent, social psychology and law, students will learn to formulate and execute a successful non-market strategy.

KPPI-460-0 Values Based Leadership

Leaders in the 21st century confront a daunting set of challenges: doing business in countries with radically different values, heightened public awareness and scrutiny of business practices, and the combination of technology and ever-present media. The course is built around three themes. First, understanding how emotions and ethical values interact to drive behavior. Second, identifying and navigating tough choices. Third, confronting the inevitable tensions between the short and long term, and real motivations and rationalizations.

KPPI-470-0 Public Economics for Business Leaders: Federal Policy

At the heart of this class is the fundamental question underlying most public policy debates around the world: what should national governments do, and what defines the limits of their activities? The course examines why society might want government to intervene in the marketplace and studies frameworks for analyzing public policies that affect business. The goal is not to learn how to shape policy outcomes to a company’s advantage, but instead, to evaluate policy from a public perspective.

KPPI-480-0 Public Economics for Business Leaders: State and Local Policy

Why did Chicago win the competition for the relocation of Boeing's corporate headquarters? Why are property values higher in neighborhoods with good public schools? Why do commercial and industrial properties face significantly higher property tax rates than residential properties? This course applies tools and concepts of microeconomics to analyze how state and local governments operate, and how their decisions affect the business environment. Topics include tax incentives for business, K-12 education finance, local property taxes, and state fiscal crises.

Policy: Examine the intersection of social impact and policy

KPPI 484-0 Thought Leadership Seminar

Thought leadership seminars undertake an in-depth exploration of a particular topic in the interactive setting of a small class. The goal is to develop the ability to independently research and critically analyze information, form and defend a conclusion, and find original solutions to business and public issues. Thought leadership seminars cover fundamental knowledge, current thinking, and key open questions.

Class sessions often take the form of seminar-style group discussions, debates, and presentations where students take an active part in shaping the learning. Students may also engage with original research, thought leaders and complex cases. The seminars require a willingness to challenge yourself and others, understand and take diverse positions, and bring to class a high degree of energy and mental agility. Different topics are offered as separate sections under the same course number.

Nonprofit: Explore mission-driven enterprises and board governance

KPPI-450-0 Leading the Mission Driven Enterprise

Students will gain a strong understanding of for-profit and nonprofit social enterprises by focusing on the critical issues faced by managers of mission-driven organizations. Designed for students who seek to start, lead, volunteer for, consult, fund or contribute to social enterprises (especially nonprofits), the course will address finance, accounting, strategy, marketing/fundraising and metrics-performance.

KPPI-453-5 Board Governance of Nonprofit Organizations (Board Fellows)

This application-only course is designed to provide an understanding of how nonprofit organizations are governed for students who are likely to serve on or lead a nonprofit board. With focus on unique aspects of nonprofit board governance and what comprises an effective board, the goal is to help students understand the workings of nonprofit organizations the roles and responsibilities of boards and their members, and how they function.

KPPI-455-5 Board Governance of Non-Profit Organizations

Designed for students who will serve as board members, volunteers, or staff of nonprofit organizations, this course explores how nonprofit organizations are governed. The intent is to help students appreciate the nature of nonprofit organizations; the roles and responsibilities of boards, the staff, and volunteers; how the boards of nonprofit organizations function; and what makes boards and individual board members effective and ineffective.

KPPI-471-0/C/N Advanced Board Governance

This second, required course for students participating in the Kellogg Board Fellows Program follows the course Board Governance of Nonprofit Organizations, KPPI 453 B. A combination of academic training and practicum experience offers students an in-depth understanding of key issues relevant to effective board governance. Students are matched with a Chicago-area nonprofit to gain experience working with a board of directors and its leader, in order to further the students’ experience of how boards are governed and to understand how they can be more effective.

Social Innovation: Examine social enterprise as a mechanism for designing for social problem solving

KPPI-452-0 Social Enterprise: Designing for Change

In this experiential lab course, students will explore - in class and through quarter-long consulting projects - social enterprise as a mechanism for designing for social problem solving. The lab component of this course places teams of Kellogg students in a social change initiative in partnership with a local organization. Teams will work with nonprofit organizations with revenue-generating initiatives and for-profit companies working in: energy & sustainability; housing & community development; civic/open data; access to social services; alternative education; and employment for underserved populations. This class will be beneficial for students who want to start, work for, advise or invest in a business designed to have a social impact.

KPPI-917-5 Corporate Social Innovation

This course explores corporate investment of greater resources in social responsibility, environmental sustainability, and strategic philanthropy. This course explores how today’s leading corporations design, manage, and measure social strategies to generate business value. Students will learn frameworks, methodologies and tools, and use these to develop CSR strategies for real-world corporations.

Engagement/Lab: Delve into hands-on opportunities that cross industries and sectors

KPPI-454-5 The Education Industry

Intended for students interested in education reform or educational entrepreneurship, this course examines the economic, social, historical, and technological forces that shape the education sector. In addition to understanding the implications emerging from the confluence of these forces, students are also introduced to the key issues facing the industry and prepared for engagement with education reform, from volunteering to running for an elected board membership of a school district.

KPPI-918-0 Education Consulting Lab

Apply to work on a team of students to complete a strategic consulting project for a network of charter schools. Teams will work with high-level client contacts at a managerial level to scope an issue, collect data, analyze information, and present final recommendations on real-world, real-time issues in America’s dynamic public school system.

KPPI-933-0 Health and Human Rights

The course examines the intersection of health and international human rights by focusing on whether there is a universal right to health; how to maximize access to health; the health implications of war crimes and atrocities; and the meaning of rights and access in resource-poor settings such as refugee camps and fragile states. Students will work in interdisciplinary groups on a health assessment and intervention known as the Access to Health Project, in addition to participating in a needs assessment and intervention for a community in Mali affected by public health issues.

KPPI-973-5 Medical Technologies in Developing Countries I

This application-only course provides students the unique opportunity to inform the design and launch of medical technologies for developing countries by conducting in-country market research. Students will spend five weeks in the classroom (KPPI-973-5) learning the science of high-burden diseases; the background on medical technologies under development for these markets; the essentials for conducting medical product market research in these geographies; the basic economics, culture, and politics of the country of interest; and the fundamentals of the country’s healthcare system. Following this initial coursework, students will spend two weeks in a developing country understanding how the medical technologies are perceived by the key stakeholders in the market. After the fieldwork, students will then return for five weeks in the classroom (KPPI-973-5), where they will learn to analyze their field work, synthesize key findings and provide recommendations to the developers of these medical technologies. Students may not drop after the first week of the class.

KPPI-973-5 Medical Technologies in Developing Countries II

Following five weeks in the classroom (KPPI-973-5) and two weeks in a country learning the science of high-burden diseases; the medical technologies under development for these markets; the essentials for conducting medical product market research; the basic economics, culture, and politics of the country of interest; and the fundamentals of its healthcare system, students return to the classroom (KPPI-973-5) to analyze their field work, synthesize key findings, and provide recommendations to the developers of these medical technologies.

Explore Faculty & Research

Faculty perspective

Paul Christensen, clinical professor of finance, talks about teaching Social Impact at Kellogg

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