The Only Guide to Graduate Schools by Students for Students

By: By Net Impact staff | January 3, 2017

Net Impact’s Guide to Business Schools for Social and Environmental Impact 2016 rates graduate programs on their focus on social and environmental themes.
Net Impact’s Guide to Business Schools for Social and Environmental Impact 2016 rates graduate programs on their focus on social and environmental themes.

Deciding to pursue further education through a graduate program is often a long and carefully thought out process, and the difficult decisions continue when you have to decide which program to choose. When making this difficult decision often the best advice is to pursue your passions and to find a program that aligns with not only your future career goals, but your impact goals as well. 

To help you assess graduate programs’ focus on social and environmental issues, Net Impact releases an annual Guide to Business Schools for Social and Environmental Impact (previously Business as UNusual). The guide is your opportunity to get the student perspective on nearly 100 graduate programs around the world by providing student ratings of their graduate programs' integration of social and environmental themes into curricula, career services, and student activities. 

Emerging Trends at B Schools

The Guide to Business Schools for Social and Environmental Impact 2016 edition highlights key trends in graduate programs and emphasizes a continued priority for social and environmental business criteria to be included in graduate programs. 

In 2016, over 92% of graduates say that learning about social/environmental business is a priority, the highest percentage the annual survey has ever seen. In order to compete, graduate programs are responding to profound student demand for building a sustainable future. While 87% of respondents are satisfied with the focus on social/environmental issues in their program’s curriculum, 63% feel their school could provide more career support for social/environmental issues.

This year’s guide also highlights a new trend that is emerging in the millennial job market; graduates are looking to make an impact from traditional roles in for-profit organizations. According to the survey, 56% of students are looking for a job at a private or public company where they can drive impact from within. This emphasizes a focus on driving impact from any career path and becoming an “intrapreneur” by applying a sustainable or social impact lens to all aspects of a corporate role.  For more information on how to make an impact from a private or public company, check out our impact career profile on corporate impact. 

Millennial Job Market

This is consistent with the current job market for millennials. Today, corporations across nearly every industry — energy, healthcare, consumer products, manufacturing, finance, agriculture, technology, chemicals, communications, professional services, to name a few — are actively engaged in some form of corporate impact effort.

The data proves that graduates want to leave their graduate programs with the skills that will allow them to have the greatest impact now and throughout their careers, and the vast majority of respondents are confident they will find a job that aligns with their values, interests, and passions. That’s good news for current and future graduate students and for the world as we are confident that these students will leave their programs and make an impact through their careers. 

Ranking Schools for Social and Environmental Impact

With the data collected from students across the world, Net Impact is able to rank schools on both Social Impact and Environmental Sustainability.  We've listed the top schools for each below (in alphabetical order.)

Environmental Sustainability: Bard College, Clark University - Graduate School of Management, Colorado State University, Cornell University - Johnson Graduate School of Management, Pinchot University, Presidio Graduate School, University of California, Santa Barbara - Bren School, University of Oregon - Lundquist College of Business, Villanova University - College of Engineering

Social Impact: Colorado State University, Georgetown University - McDonough School of Business, Northwestern University - Kellogg Graduate School fo Business, Pepperdine University - Graziadio School of Business and Management, Pinchot University, Pratt Institute, Purdue University - Krannert School of Management, University of Notre Dame - Mendoza College of Business, Villanova University - College of Engineering

Download the Guide now


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