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A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to engage in two events that allowed me to fully appreciate the plethora of opportunities available for MBA students interested in the social impact space – first at the 2012 Net Impact Conference and then at Kellogg’s Innovating Social Change Conference.

Net Impact is an organization that brings together students and professionals determined to use their business skills to tackle the world’s toughest problems. Kellogg has an impressive track record with Net Impact – our chapter has over 500 members who participate in at least one of the many clubs that falls under the umbrella of our Net Impact Community, and Kellogg was named Net Impact Chapter of the Year in 2011 and 2009.

Having missed our 2011 crowning due to midterms (we do take classes here, don’t forget), I was determined to attend this year’s conference and bought a ticket promptly after receiving my first paycheck this summer. The 20th annual Net Impact Conference was in Baltimore, and I was lucky enough to attend with several fantastic Kellogg students in the full-time and part-time programs. Highlights from the conference include a panel on improving access to healthy foods that featured representatives from PepsiCo and General Mills and a keynote address by the CFO of UPS.

Kellogg at the Net Impact Conference in Baltimore

Exactly a week later, I attended the Innovating Social Change Conference, organized entirely by 2nd year Kellogg students. As the first conference of the year, the ISC Conference had to hit the ground running, and they met the challenge head on, digging into the conference topic of “Profit and Purpose: A 360° View on Stakeholder Engagement.” From a design thinking workshop at which we brainstormed innovative ways to improve transportation issues in downtown Chicago to a closing keynote address by an executive at the recently beleaguered LIVESTRONG, the conference did not disappoint.

ISCC Design Workshop
Photo Credit: Amar Shah

Conferences are an interesting mixture of academic, professional and social engagement, and I encourage you to attend, plan and enjoy as many conferences as you can find time for in your business school career – in Baltimore, at the Allen Center and beyond.