Check Out These Spring 2021 Social Impact Courses

Learn more about the intersection of social impact and business with Wharton courses next semester.

Students—we are thinking of you all and wishing you the best as you finish the Fall 2020 semester.

If you’re interested in 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.

We’ve updated our Social Impact Courses page so that Penn and Wharton students can explore and find a course that matches their interests for the Spring 2021 semester.

Below in alphabetical order by department, we’ve highlighted just a few of the many undergraduate and graduate courses available.


ACCT270: FORENSIC ANALYTICS

Professor Daniel Taylor

Meets Monday/Wednesday 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., and 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. (undergraduates)

In this class, you’ll learn how to use Big Data to detect corporate misconduct. The class will cover basic program techniques used to build models to detect accounting fraud and insider trading. You’ll hear from multiple guest speakers from the SEC’s Enforcement Division, and various hedge funds managers who use forensic analytics as the basis for their investment strategies. No prior programming experience is necessary, though ACCT101 and STAT102 are prerequisites.


BEPP 201 AND BEPP 770: PUBLIC FINANCE AND POLICY

Professor Alexander Robert Rees-Jones

Meets Monday/Wednesday 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. (undergraduates and MBAs)

This course explores the economics and politics of public policy to provide an analytic framework for considering why, how, and with what success/failure government intervenes in a variety of policy areas. You’ll learn about important policy issues relating to taxation, social security, low-income assistance, health insurance, education (both K-12 and higher ed), the environment, and government deficits.


BEPP 233: CONSUMERS, FIRMS AND MARKETS IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

Professor Shing-Yi Wang

Meets Tuesday/Thursday 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. (undergraduates)

Developing countries account for 80% of the world’s population, and 49 of the 50 fastest growing economies. Economic life in developing countries—from consumption to production to markets—differs in fundamental ways from developed countries. Therefore, how we think about business, economics and public policy must also differ. Take this course to learn more.


BEPP/OIDD 263: ENVIRONMENTAL & ENERGY ECONOMICS AND POLICY AND BEPP/OIDD 763: ENERGY MARKETS AND POLICY

Professor Arthur van Benthem

Meets Tuesday/Thursday 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. (undergraduates) and 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. (MBAs)

Interested in learning about environmental and energy markets from an economist’s perspective? From fossil fuels to renewable energy to cap-and-trade systems, you’ll learn about how different regulations can provide efficient or counter-productive incentives for firms, consumers and politicians. The course pays special attention to renewable energy finance, economics, and policy. Note: the 263 section is part of the undergraduate concentration in Environmental Policy & Management, and the 763 section is part of the STEM-certified MBA major in Business, Energy, Environment and Sustainability.


HCMG 860: MANAGING HEALTH CARE ORGANIZATIONS

Professor Ingrid Nembhard

Meets Monday/Wednesday 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. (MBAs)

Take this course to improve your ability to effectively manage and lead health care organizations (HCOs, including hospitals, medical groups, insurers, biopharmaceutical firms, etc.) The course is designed to integrate previous course work in general management, health care, and health policy to further your understanding of organizational, managerial, and strategic issues facing HCOs and the health care workforce, and how they might be addressed. You will learn analytic frameworks, concepts, tools and skills necessary for leading and managing organizational learning, quality improvement, innovation, and overall performance in HCOs.


LGST 100: ETHICS AND RESPONSIBILITY

Professor Brian Berkey

Meets Monday/Wednesday 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. (undergraduates)

Global poverty. Climate change. Sweatshop labor. Executive pay. Manipulative advertising. Deception in business. This course addresses these issues and more. You’ll explore business responsibility from rival theoretical and managerial perspectives. Note: Please reference Penn InTouch or MyWharton for additional days and times available for this course.


LGST 220 AND LGST 820: INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS ETHICS

Professor Brian Berkey

Meets Monday/Wednesday 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. (undergraduates and MBAs)

Take this course if you’re interested in learning more about bribery in global business, human rights, global poverty, climate change, trade justice, global taxation, brain drain, and intellectual property. This course is a multidisciplinary, interactive study of business ethics within a global economy. You’ll develop a framework to address ethical challenges as they arise within and across different countries. The course also presents alternative theories about acting ethically in global environments, and you’ll analyze critical current issues.


MGMT 117: GLOBAL GROWTH OF EMERGING FIRMS

Professor Natalie Carlson

Meets Tuesday/Thursday 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. (undergraduates)

Take this course if you’re interested in the challenges and complexities of launching a startup in an emerging economy. You’ll learn about the challenges faced by founders in different global contexts, the components of a robust institutional ecosystem, and the ways in which creative solutions may flourish in response to local problems. Along the way, you’ll gain a virtual view into global startup communities, and personalized insights from firm founders operating around the world.


MGMT 209: POLITICAL & SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT OF THE MULTINATIONAL CORPORATION AND MGMT 720: CORPORATE DIPLOMACY: ALIGNING STAKEHOLDER ANALYTICS & STRATEGY

Professor Witold Henisz

Meets Monday/Wednesday 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (undergraduates); 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. (MBAs); and 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. (MBAs)

A company’s management of its stakeholder relations is a strategic, financial, operational and societal imperative. Managers, consultants and investors are increasingly drawing on new unstructured data on the identity and issues of concern of stakeholders to align corporate and investment strategy with stakeholder demands on issues ranging from climate change to human rights. In this course, you’ll get the latest tools to use this data for stakeholder and issue mapping as well as financial valuation. You’ll also develop more behavioral skills critical for external stakeholder engagement including trust building and communications as well as internal stakeholder engagement. In short, it prepares students to engage in Corporate Diplomacy.


MGMT 211 AND MGMT 711: COMPETITIVE STRATEGY AND INDUSTRIAL STRUCTURE

Professor Jim Ostler

Meets Tuesday/Thursday 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (undergraduates) and Monday/Wednesday 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (MBAs)

Fascinated by Tesla? This course explores the economics of strategy and industrial structure. Concepts will first be introduced using various industry and firm contexts. You’ll apply these concepts to the renewable energy and electronic vehicle industries, and then specifically to Tesla which will serve as semester long case study.


MGMT 241: KNOWLEDGE FOR SOCIAL IMPACT: ANALYZING CURRENT ISSUES & APPROACHES

Professor Katherine Klein

Meets Wednesdays 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. (undergraduates)

How do you create deep and sustainable social impact? In this class, we will examine two critical challenges in the US today: (a) barriers to college access and completion and (b) recidivism and barriers to employment following incarceration. We will dig into the research literature on these topics and meet with for-profit and non-profit executives who are leading the charge either to make college more accessible to those who can least afford it or to strengthen employment opportunities for individuals who were formerly incarcerated. Take this class if you want to gain the insights and skills to harness evidence, leadership, and innovative strategies to effect lasting and positive social impact.


MKTG 237 AND MKTG 737: INTRODUCTION TO BRAIN SCIENCE FOR BUSINESS

Professor Michael Louis Platt

Meets Tuesday/Thursday 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. (undergraduates and MBAs)

Interested in contemporary brain science and its applications to business? In this course, you’ll get a rapid introduction to the basic anatomy and physiology of the brain and become familiar with important techniques for measuring and manipulating brain function. The course then surveys major findings in neuroscience with applications to business, including vision, attention and advertising; valuation and marketing; decision making; learning, innovation and creativity; social influence, team-building, and leadership; and discussion of the ethical, legal, and societal implications of applying neuroscience to business. Applications to business, education, sports, law, and policy are discussed throughout.


REAL 205 AND REAL 705: GLOBAL REAL ESTATE: RISK, POLITICS, AND CULTURE

Professor Maisy Wong

Meets Tuesday/Thursday 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (undergraduates); 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. (MBAs); and 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. (undergraduates)

The UN estimates that 2.5 billion people will be added to cities around the world by 2050. What are the innovations and policies that can facilitate growth, inclusivity, and upward mobility in cities? We will discuss business and policy solutions to problems facing major cities around the world, such as housing affordability in London and Berlin, weak property rights in emerging markets, past and potential real estate and banking crises in China, India, and Europe.


Check out our full running list of social impact courses. We list courses that are available in Spring 2021 as well as courses that may be offered other semesters.
For more information about available courses, professors, evaluation data, or registration, visit MyWharton. Undergrads, don’t forget about the Social Impact & Responsibility concentration, housed in the Legal Studies and Business Ethics department.