Letter from Liz Maw, CEO of Net Impact | Net Impact

Letter from Liz Maw, CEO of Net Impact

Liz Maw

This year’s Business as UNusual Guide is brimming with new innovations on graduate school campuses to enable students to drive positive change. Graduates want to leave their programs fully equipped to create social and environmental change in the workplace and the world. They expect even more from their programs as a result.

For this year’s guide, we tapped the wisdom of over 3,000 students across nearly 100 campuses to hear their perspectives on impact trends and programs. One student at Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs says that students "are leading a social impact renaissance,” including the doubling of membership to their Net Impact Chapter, and an explosion of student-led offerings such as a Social Enterprise Bootcamp, a two-day event featuring a pitch competition and hands-on impact workshops.

In order to compete, graduate programs are responding to profound student demand for building a sustainable future. While 88% respondents feel learning about these issues is a priority, an increasing number of students felt their schools could do a better job of integrating these themes into their programs.

Students cited impact career and experiential learning support as the top areas where graduate programs could do more. Respondents expressed interest in complementing social and environmental education with concrete skill building opportunities.

Bright spots abound, including the innovative Berkeley Haas Impact Investing Network, where students are tasked with investing real funds to solve community problems, and Cornell S.C Johnson’s customized one-on-one coaching through a dedicated sustainability counselor at the central career center.

Students are willing to make changes in their own lives to make an impact, too. According to the survey, 83% are willing to take a 15% salary cut for a job that makes a social or environmental difference in the world, a notable increase over last year. And the vast majority of future leaders are confident that they will find jobs that match their values. That's what we like to hear!


Liz Maw