IESE’s New Course in Social Innovation, Entrepreneurship

Spain’s IESE Business School has introduced a new MBA course in “Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship” that explores the connection between social and financial objectives.

A total of 72 MBA students are participating in the inaugural class, where they will have the chance to work directly with five companies from different sectors, and discover what it means to run a social enterprise from a hands-on perspective, the school explains on its website.

Organized in groups of 10, the students will work with the five enterprises over a five to seven-week period, during which time they will contribute their own ideas, analysis and strategic plans as part of the experience.

The elective will also feature a hands-on project component, where students work directly with social enterprises and other companies to learn about how the course concepts play out in the real world.

Among the learning outcomes, MBAs will master the distinction between hybrid organization and social enterprises, how to develop strategic models that combine financial and social value, and the geo-political perspectives of social innovation.

IESE Prof. Antonino Vaccaro, director of the course, says there is a growing interest in the subject of social entrepreneurship among MBAs. “This is because a social enterprise helps people feel their lives make sense and helps them feel realized.

“What we are seeing is that many top executives who, having worked for years in multinationals, are making a financial sacrifice in order to dedicate themselves to social entrepreneurial projects because the work feels more meaningful.”

And the benefits of adopting a social focus can yield concrete results, he says.

“Companies are realizing that a positive social impact has to go beyond corporate social responsibility. Some firms are beginning to think of themselves as communities of people and are incorporating social objectives into their overall strategy. They’re also discovering that a social focus makes them more competitive.”

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