citizens' unite for change
demands it, and thanks to a faculty-student partnership, the
SEEK curriculum supplies it: training for socially responsible
executives reveal the issues that keep them awake at night,
social and political acceptance of corporate activities is
a top concern, according to IBM Distinguished Professor of
Regulation and Competitive Practice Daniel
Diermeier, who is also director of the Kellogg School's
Center for Business, Government and Society.
when Kellogg students express their main career objectives,
making a meaningful, positive impact on society is consistently
those forces, the Kellogg School launched its dynamic Social
Enterprise at Kellogg (SEEK) major in 2005 as a response
to the market's increased demand for socially responsible
leaders. With student and faculty collaboration, SEEK approaches
business management with a progressive, values-focused framework.
new era of thinking
Chouinard, left, founder and chairman of outdoor equipment
and apparel company Patagonia Inc., talks with Hadar Kramer
'06 during a November visit to Kellogg. Chouinard discussed
Patagonia's commitment to environmentally conscious practices.
© Nathan Mandell
traditional way the business community has thought about business
management is inappropriate now. It was divided by tax status:
nonprofit, for-profit and government," explains Diermeier,
SEEK's director. "Our research reveals a blending in
these fields. Global corporations now have to solve problems
traditionally held by nonprofits, while nonprofits are more
and more adopting management techniques from corporations.
Leaders are not in one 'world' exclusively."
global shift by stakeholders now holds leaders accountable
for social responsibility, and that changes the approach to
business management, Diermeier says. A corporation now must
engage in citizenship, presenting leaders with new challenges,
such as providing healthcare for foreign workers of their
is an example of a corporation affected by this shift, notes
Diermeier. The corporation's current repositioning is aimed
to overcome its image as an enterprise that underpays its
labor force and falls short on workplace protections and labor
SEEK's core classes, students are taught, through simulated
crisis situations, how value-orientation is critical for business
success," Diermeier says.
of Public Management and Director of the Center for Nonprofit
Haider says SEEK's blending of disciplines proves ideal
for the changing demands of business and nonprofit management.
a 'best citizen' and having a good brand is connected with
how leaders interact with community, media, interest groups
and stakeholders," Haider says. "Cutting across
disciplines, SEEK examines how other countries may approach
problems in those non-marketing environments," he says.
"We teach students to consider consequences and implications
of different approaches, including the financial and cultural,
1987 "As class president, I found that all of the
school's administration, particularly support
staff, were always ready, willing and able
to help us in whatever we needed. We met with
Dean Jacobs every week, and even had Professor
Phil Kotler join us in a brainstorming session
on improving the international business curriculum."
Tim Hennessey '87, Graduate Management
student-influenced courses are "realistic" and "dynamic,"
Haider says. About three years ago, students grew increasingly
interested in the intersection of for-profit, nonprofit and
public ventures. Leveraging this interest, along with insights
from Kellogg alumni and the Social
Impact Club — an award-winning group of some 500
Kellogg students who strive to direct the power of business
to positively influence social and environmental concerns
— Kellogg created SEEK.
Box '06, Social Impact's academic chair, has been involved
throughout this development. "The Social Impact president,
strategy chair, a multidisciplinary group of faculty and administrators
and I convened to discuss the program," she says. "After
multiple discussions, SEEK was born, with the goal of creating
an academically rigorous, globally relevant, holistic curriculum
that provides students with strong skills to manage in whatever
sector(s) they pursue."
Howard, associate director of SEEK and the Center
for Nonprofit Management, says student input sets the
curriculum apart from social enterprise programs offered at
other institutions. "SEEK students are involved not only
in academic activities but also in co- and extra-curricular
activities that enhance their learning and understanding of
different sectors and the role leaders play in each,"
of their influence is garnered through a "lean decision-making
structure," Diermeier says, when faculty and students
gather informally to exchange perspectives on the program.
Key decisions are made in collaboration with students.
teaching is largely driven by research faculty because students
expressed what they really want are concepts," Diermeier
adds. "We'll continue to develop the curriculum through
a launch on public policy aspects and involve as many departments
as possible. For instance, this year we offer a class on environmental
finance that discusses market solutions, such as carbon trading
schemes, to environmental problems."
progress has been "tremendous," according to Diermeier,
who notes that second-year SEEK students will start class
one week early this fall to complete a five-day mandatory
course, Values in Crisis, enabling them to hit the
ground running in the new academic year.
that development, and a significant financial contribution
from Mr. and Mrs. Alan Leventhal,
SEEK is on track to emerge as a global resource center. One
aspect of The Beacon
Capital Partners Fellowship and Nonprofit Executive in
Residence programs, funded by the Leventhal gift, gives graduating
students a nontraditional, one-year
work experience. With this opportunity, and eventually
others like it, SEEKers will co-create knowledge with faculty
and leaders, helping them achieve economic and social good
says SEEK's applications will prove invaluable for diverse
constituents. "Someone who goes to work for Goldman Sachs
will need to understand Wal-Mart's reputational challenges
and their business impact.
Leaders have to manage reputation and engage stakeholders
who want to have an impact on how a corporation affects society.
Our students recognize they need to be ready for this."