Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability

As attention to business's social face grows, understanding how organizations can be both financially viable and socially and environmentally responsible is increasingly important for marketing, supply chain relations, risk management and employee motivation. The specific skills introduced in the Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Concentration can be an important complement to careers in traditional functional areas or in the newly emerging arenas of sustainability management and corporate citizenship.

The challenges of principled leadership at the global, organizational and individual level are woven into the Simmons SOM MBA. But this concentration goes deeper, focusing on specific skills and "live" cases that create sector-specific knowledge of best practices. Students gain access to and practice using templates for different components of sustainability and social responsibility project management. Whether you are new to world of corporate social responsibility and sustainability or have considerable experience, the MBA concentration in Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability helps build competencies valuable in corporate, new venture and non-profit environments.

Academic Objectives
After finishing this concentration, MBA candidates will have the knowledge and skills to manage stakeholder engagement and partnerships between corporations and non-profits; to evaluate sustainability and CSR standards; and to conduct cost benefit analysis of social investments from a social and business perspective.

Concentration in CSR/Sustainability (3 courses: 2 required, 1 elective)

  • Corporate Social Responsibility (GSM 512 — required)
  • Sustainability Analysis and Reporting (GSM 516 — required)
  • Marketing for npos and Social Change (GSM 529 — elective) \Strategy Consulting for Social Ventures (GSM 533 — elective)
  • Sustainable Business in Emerging Markets (GSM 547 — elective)
  • Sustainable Supply Chain (GSM 548 — elective)
  • Internship (GSM 501 — elective: must meet specific criteria, requires advance advisor approval)

Sample Courses:

Corporate Social Responsibility (GSM 512 — required)
Today's business world is full of examples where the unbridled operation of capitalism seems somewhat flawed. Observers commonly examine these failures from an ethical perspective. But this course uses economic analysis to help us identify market failures and to evaluate their causes and consequences so that we can understand their likely evolution. We take the perspective of business people and ask about the business risks and opportunities market failures present. The course bridges the fields of economics and strategy, teaching you a whole new way to think about market failures. Class sessions cover different economic sectors including software, travel, health care, finance, and 'public' utilities. Students research and write a short case study designed to dovetail with their career aspirations. Several recent School of Management graduates have been able to use these case studies to help land their dream job! Prerequisites: none

Sustainability Analysis and Reporting (GSM 516 — required)
This MBA elective course introduces students to best practices in sustainability analysis, evaluation and reporting in corporate and non-profit settings. As discussed in this course, sustainability includes environmental, economic and social considerations. The course reading includes a cutting edge book on sustainability practices. Teaching and learning is heavily project-based and involves surveying best practices in a particular industry/non-profit sector, evaluating feasibility in a specific organizational context and designing a data-collection, evaluation, reporting and communication plan. Prerequisites: none

Strategic Consulting for Social Ventures (GSM 533 — elective)
This highly hands-on, self-directed, faculty-supervised project-based class is designed to help MBA students practice in applying skills, especially analysis and recommendation formulation skills, in the context of a major research project related to a strategic growth initiative. This course will most heavily draw on your courses in Strategy I, Marketing Management and Quantitative Analysis. Projects might include helping your client organization in their expansion through a new program, service, or product area, expansion into a new geographic market, or a new customer segment. All projects will culminate in a detailed summary of the findings and managerial recommendations related to strategic growth for the organization.

This is a unique opportunity for "service learning" through MBA coursework as all projects will be conducted for social ventures; organizations can be incorporated as non-profits, for-profits, or hybrids, but all have a prominent social and/or environmental mission. Therefore, your course work will directly contribute to the community, and is strongly aligned with SOM's mission of principled leadership. Projects will be pre-selected by the faculty member and teams will be assigned. However, students will have the ability to indicate their preferences for specific projects. Each project will be assigned a team of up to 6 MBA students, with each student dedicating approximately 120 woman-hours (or 90 hours for the 2 credit option) to their project. The course will be heavily focused on independent self-directed work in groups, with faculty-directed "just-in-time" coaching and advising related to the specific needs of your assigned project. Prerequisites: GSM 427, GSM 425