Nine Great Social Impact Courses to Consider This Spring

Interested in deepening your understanding of the business of social impact?  Wharton offers numerous courses that will help you understand and tackle many of the most pressing social and environmental challenges in the world.

7850768772_c9979976d0_zWe keep a running list of just some of the many MBA and undergraduate courses that relate to social impact, with offerings in Management, Business Economics and Public Policy, Finance, and beyond.  And we are always pleased to add a new class to the list, especially when students share their enthusiasm with us.

Here are nine exciting undergraduate and graduate courses to consider this spring semester. We’ve listed the options in alphabetical order by department.

BEPP 289: Nations, Politics, and Market, Professor Stephen Golub

Meets Tuesday and Thursday, 10:30 – NOON The course takes a historical and history-of-thought approach to the world economy over the last one hundred years.  This course is intended to deepen understanding of the major contemporary issues in the world economy for students who are interested in a career in international business or public affairs. The emphasis is on the “big picture” of global economic developments and the evolution of economic thought over the last one hundred years.  Topics include: financial market booms and busts; business cycles; monetary and fiscal policies; inequality; the social welfare state; technological change and economic growth; and international trade and financial arrangements.

HCMG 868: Role of the Private Sector in Global Health, Professor Stephen Sammut

Meets Mondays, 3:00 PM to 4:20 PM Issues surrounding global health have captivated the attention of the public sector and foundations for many decades. This course explores entrepreneurial and other private sector solutions for health services and access to medicines and technologies in the developing world and other under-served areas. The course also encompasses study of creative programs to engage the private sector in development of vaccines and medicines for tropical and neglected diseases.  Learning is driven through readings, class discussion and a series of guest speakers representing a wide range of global health issues.

HCMG 845:  Managed Care and the Industrial Organization of Health Care, Professor Amanda Starc

Meets Wednesdays, 4:30 – 7:30 pm HCMG 845 focuses on two fundamentally important and interrelated topics:  (1) efficient management of health care services and (2) health care market structure and performance.  The course covers many issues that are relevant to health care innovation, population health, health insurance coverage expansion, improving health care quality, and cost management following the enactment of the Affordable Care Act.  Many students explore opportunities for innovation (e.g., telemedicine, payment for value rather than volume, and innovative health care financing models) with the potential to solve critical issues with strong social impact.

LGST 215: Environmental Management: Law and Policy, Professor Sarah Light

Meets Tuesday and Thursday, 1:30 pm – 3 pm The law and public policy shape how business managers must think about their firms’ interactions with the environment.   As we address different topics in environmental law and policy, from pollution control and e-waste to climate change and the sharing economy, we will examine a series of case studies in which law, policy, and business intersect.  We will also examine the emerging concepts of private environmental governance, in which private contracting, third-party certification, and insurance can impose environmental obligations and create incentives in the absence of government action.

LGST 230: Social Impact and Responsibility: Foundations, Professor Gwendolyn Gordon

Meets Monday and Wednesday, 1:30-2:50 PM What role can business play in helping to meet global societal needs?  Is there any responsibility on the part of business to help meet those needs? What are models of successful business engagement in this area? How should success be measured?  Through cases, conceptual readings and guest lectures from practitioners, this course is designed to help students address the question: “How should business enterprises and business thinking be engaged to improve society in areas not always associated with business?”

MGMT 212/810: Social Entrepreneurship, Professor James D. Thompson

Create social impact and make financial returns. The Social Entrepreneurship course blends leading edge business thinking with a socially conscious mindset to address some of society’s great challenges.  Teams formed in class will use course concepts to select, and subsequently apply, course tools and frameworks on 1) an existing project of their choice; 2) a new initiative; or 3) an external early-stage social enterprise

MGMT 241: Knowledge for Social Impact:  Analyzing Current Issues and Approaches, Professor Katherine Klein

Meets Wednesday, 3- 6 pm In this course, we will take an in-depth look at two pressing social problems (food insecurity; barriers to college access) and examine current for-profit and non-profit strategies to solving these problems.  We will meet with researchers, business leaders, and non-profit leaders to learn what’s not working, what is working, and what might work even better.  Past guests have included leaders from Ethos Water, Bridgeway Capital Management, Turner Impact Capital, First Book, Philabundance, Whole Foods, Revolution Foods, and The College Board.

MGMT 715: The Political and Social Environment of the Multinational Firm, Professor Aline Gatignon

Meets Tuesday and Thursday at 1:30pm and 3pm (2 sections) This course will teach you to manage effectively in challenging political and social environments, specifically emerging markets – places where the institutional infrastructure (access to capital, labor, talent and vertical intermediaries) is too weak to adequately support firms’ development, but where opportunities to do business abound. The ability to engage diverse groups of stakeholders – not only customers and employees, suppliers and distributors, but also politicians, non-profit organizations, and local communities – is key to navigating these challenges. The class will provide students with an integrative perspective towards managing political and social risks through a combination of practical tools and the latest academic thinking on this topic.

For more information about available courses, professors, evaluation data, or registration, visit Wharton SPIKE.