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

BLAW-437-0 Issues in Antitrust

Whether your professional interest is marketing, investment banking, mergers and acquisitions, or distribution channels, a solid exposure to federal and state antitrust laws should be a prerequisite to your academic training at Kellogg. For example, pricing decisions on consumer products cannot be made without a reference to the federal Robinson-Patman Act. Further, state statutes and section two of the federal Sherman Act often guide potentially below cost pricing decisions of products by manufacturers. In addition, termination of dealers, distributors and resellers will most undoubtedly involve consideration of Section 1 of the federal Sherman Act and various state trade regulation laws. The federal Lanham Act regulates issues of trade dress and false advertising. Non compliance with these laws raise many intellectual property issues. On the subject of intellectual property, patent infringement is one of the most highly litigated areas in the federal courts today. Undoubtedly in many of these cases, antitrust counterclaims (e.g., Section 2 of the federal Sherman Act), become more significant than the patent claims that commenced the trial. Finally, the federal Hart-Scott-Rodino Act and Section 7 of the federal Clayton Act guide all merger, acquisition and joint venture activity in the United States. One of the primary analytical questions in any such asset or stock deal is whether the transaction would be approved by the antitrust regulators.

FINC-941-0 Macroeconomic Policy and Global Capital Markets

How do national economies evolve and interact in a globalized world? This course focuses on the economic forces and the policy responses that are relevant for business and investment strategies. Specific topics include the meaning and measures of national and international economic activity; what determines which emerging markets develop and grow, while others stagnate; what drives business cycles, how they are propagated globally, and how government policy responds; monetary policy decisions and their effect on financial institutions and credit markets; government liabilities and how markets react to government debt; what determines trade deficits and surpluses, and the relative strength of a currency. The course provides a high-level overview to aid business planning, investment strategies, and policy analysis.

KPPI 454-5 The Education Industry

The education sector is a critical component of our society, and significant energy has been directed at education reform in recent years. This is a course about the economic, social, historical and technological forces that shape the education sector. One goal of the course is to understand the implications for new value creation emerging from the confluence of these forces. Consequently, this course will be particularly helpful to students with interest in educational entrepreneurship. A second goal is to provide an introduction to the key issues facing the sector for students interested in engaging with education reform in a variety of ways - from volunteering in the field to running for an elected board membership of a school district.

KPPI 470 Public Economics for Business Leaders: Federal Policy

To be an effective business leader in today's complex world requires an understanding of the important public policy issues facing society. Managers need to understand society's problems and the range of possible public solutions and policies in order to know how to influence, incorporate and respond to public actions. This class will enable students to understand, analyze and take the perspective of government and non-government organizations as they attempt to alleviate societal problems. .

Topics include the interface of government and business, the justification for and principle methods of government intervention in the market place, the primary means of paying for government, measuring the costs and benefits of government policies, and current policy applications such as social security reform, education policy, health insurance and tax reform.

KPPI 480 Public Economics for Business Leaders: State + Local Policy

Why did Chicago win the competition for the relocation of Boeing's corporate headquarters? Did the city give away the store? 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? In this course we apply 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.

STRT-466-0 Strategic Challenges in Emerging Markets

International markets present unique opportunities and pitfalls for business growth and development. This course outlines fundamental differences among developed and developing countries, starting briefly with broad historical differences and moving on to specific issues such as the protection of property rights, corruption and the effects of political institutions. The role of international institutions such as the IMF and World Trade Organization also are discussed. The results from cutting-edge economic research are complemented by business examples to provide the international business manager with a broad, fact-based perspective on international markets today.

FINC-484-5 Contemporary Issues in Business and Society

This seminar will use a roundtable discussion format to facilitate an in-depth exploration of current issues in corporate governance and finance, and how they affect and are influenced by society. Our sessions will focus on a combination of predetermined topics and ones chosen by students from the current events of the week. We will begin by debating a central question in corporate governance: should creating value for shareholders be the firm’s first priority? The seminar will also discuss major issues such as corporate decisions to lay off employees, public policies aimed at achieving gender parity in corporate boardrooms, the growth of executive compensation, and the rise in the top one percent (all topics are subject to change). Source materials will include a combination of business cases, recent academic research, and news articles from the popular press.

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.

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

ACCT-459-5 Sustainability Reporting and Analysis

Traditional financial reporting is often criticized for ignoring some of a company's most important economic assets and liabilities. On the assets side, mainstream accounting often ignores brands, human resources, intellectual property, supplier/customer relationships, and (more generally) the goodwill that accrues to a business through its involvement in the wider community. On the liabilities side, despite numerous attempts, accountants have been unable to develop a coherent framework for reporting on the risks, or contingent liabilities, posed by deleterious environmental and social policies. This course introduces students to sustainability reporting, a system of analysis and reporting that attempts to bridge these gaps and provide a more expansive view of an organization's social and environmental performance, sometimes called the triple bottom line. Through lectures, cases, and a research project, we will examine markets for sustainability reporting and metrics that have been developed to supply information to these markets. The class will address a number of important topics, such as socially responsible investing, the Global Reporting Initiative, carbon disclosure, tracking and controlling product and labor standards in the supply chain, accounting for legal and environmental liabilities, and the role of intangible assets in long-run performance.

FINC-937-0 Micro-finance and Financial Inclusion

Microfinance can be defined as “the supply of loans, savings, and other basic financial services to the poor” (CGAP). Historically excluded by traditional financial service providers, the majority of the world’s 2.5 billion people living on less than $2 per day have no access to formal savings, loans, insurance, and/or payment services. Over the past 40 years, specialized microfinance institutions (“MFIs”) have sprung up globally to meet the financial needs of the poor while claiming to help lift people out of poverty.

This class provides an in-depth overview of the global microfinance industry, tracing its evolution from an NGO-dominated movement to an increasingly commercial $100 billion industry. Readings, lectures and case studies will be used to investigate current microfinance practices and to highlight some of the current industry controversies, including interest rates, commercial investment, over-indebtedness and social impact.

The course also explores how microfinance has paved the way for a broader set of new financial inclusion efforts around the world, an initiative now championed by the World Bank and United Nations to promote universal financial access by the year 2020. Specifically, students will learn the ways in which banks, credit card issuers, mobile network operators, retailers and fintech startups are seeking to profitably serve low-income and unbanked consumers around the world.

FINC-946-0 Impact Investing and Sustainable Finance

Can an investment strategy focused on creating positive change in the environment and society also generate superior financial returns? What if the financial creativity that created the CDO (collateralized debt obligations) and ABS (asset back securities) was directed at the massive market opportunities in climate change, resource constraint and the bottom of the pyramid? How are institutional investors catalyzing these strategies? This course examines these questions. We'll bring into the classroom leaders of investment firms executing these strategies in sustainability-driven public equities funds, green real estate, energy efficiency financing, green fixed income, carbon financing and environmental services, and micro-finance and micro-enterprise.

KPPI 957 The Business of Social Change

In this foundational social impact course, students will gain an understanding of the causes, measurement, levers and outcomes inherent to the business of social change work. Starting from the perspective of an economic assessment of market and system flaws and failures, moving through policy, business and externalities, we will explore the complexities of a singular social issue, learn to identify and utilize effective measures of outputs and progress, and explore the core levers and potentials to change outcomes for people, communities and markets.

This term our course will focus on the challenge of the 5.5 million American youth aged 16-24 who are neither working nor in school. We will be visited by policy experts, large-scale employers of youth, impact measurement experts and experts on labor, detention and workforce development in the U.S. These guest speakers and the course overall will allow students to delve deep into this particular challenge as a means to gain the tools, approaches and analytical acumen necessary to succeed in social impact work, influence and innovation in any area of practice.

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.

KPPI 940 Early Stage Impact Investing

Impact investing has the opportunity to generate both financial returns and positive social or environmental impact – also known as “double or triple bottom line.” More and more entrepreneurs are launching businesses that reflect their values, and the rapidly-growing field of early stage impact capital investment plays a critical role in funding these innovative companies. In this course, students will gain practical, hands-on experience with impact angel and venture capital investing, from sourcing deals through investment recommendations.

During the course, student teams will identify, analyze and perform initial due diligence on a promising, early stage impact investment opportunity. Students will present these companies to a panel of judges as their final project for the class. This course, in contrast to Kellogg’s FINC 946 which focuses on institutional impact investing, will focus on direct investing in early stage impact companies through a venture capital lens.

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

INTL-473-0 Global Initiatives in Management – Social Impact

All FT GIM classes will hold a final, mandatory class session on Wednesday, April 6th from 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Global Initiatives in Management (GIM) is an international experiential learning course designed to provide students with an introduction to the unique business opportunities, management practices and market dynamics of a specific region or global industry. The course combines in-class lectures, reading discussions and case studies during the winter quarter with ten days of international field research over spring break. Immersed in the culture and language of their host countries, students will have the opportunity to meet with local business and government leaders, conduct interviews and collect data for their group research projects, and experience some of the unique social and cultural facets of the region. Final presentations and written research reports are due in spring quarter after completion of the overseas portion of the class. Each class section is taught by a faculty member with deep knowledge of the region or industry and supported by an advisor from the Kellogg staff who assists students in planning the field experience. Students are financially responsible for their travel costs, and financial aid is available to those who qualify.

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 471 Advanced Board Governance

This practicum in board governance is an extension of Board Governance of Nonprofit Organizations, in which students selected as board fellows are matched with a Chicago-area nonprofit to gain experience working with a board of directors and its leaders for an entire year. Course instruction, readings and discussions occur monthly during the academic year. A final paper is required. This course is worth a full credit.

KPPI 452 Social Innovation: Designing for Change

In this experiential lab course, students will explore - in class and through quarter-long consulting projects - innovation as a mechanism for social problem solving. The lab component of this course places teams of Kellogg students with a local organization that has an innovative product, service or business model. Teams will work with nonprofit organizations with revenue-generating initiatives and for-profit companies working in: education; energy & sustainability; financial services; healthcare; and housing & community development. This class will be beneficial for students who want to start, work for, advise or invest in a business with an innovation that is designed to have a social impact.

KPPI 936 Sustainability Across the Enterprise

This course integrates concepts from a variety of courses in the MBA curriculum with the principles and practices of sustainability, and brings them to bear on a "live" sustainability project with a client organization. Throughout the quarter, teams of 3-5 students work on projects with an enterprise that has requested Kellogg's help in addressing an issue related to sustainability. The course also has a smaller lecture based component that provides a crash course of sustainability management topics relevant to the projects.

The class is suitable for students who want to pursue a career in sustainability, and for students who are interested in exposure to sustainability aspects of any business. No background in sustainability is needed. Enrollment is through application for specific projects

Venture Lab (FINC-915-0)

This new course offers students an experiential learning opportunity in the venture capital industry. For the duration of the class term, each student will be placed with a venture capital firm and will be required to submit a project report (presentation) at the end of the quarter based on work the student completed for the firm throughout the academic quarter. The insights from this hands-on course will be most beneficial to students who have not had extensive experience in the venture capital space, but who would like to pursue a career in that field. More information can be found on the Heizer Center webpage.
Registration for this course is by application only.

Explore Faculty & Research

Faculty perspective

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

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