The Business of Doing Good: Social Impact at Stern
At NYU’s Stern School of Business, students learn the fundamentals of business success—and how they can use that knowledge to drive change. In addition to preparing for the corporate world, undergraduates explore business ethics and sustainability through the four-year Social Impact Curriculum. This four-course series focuses on how businesses can solve societal issues, reduce their environmental footprint, and support vulnerable communities. Furthermore, those students who are particularly invested in making a positive impact through business can join the Social Impact Fellows program, which builds on the core curriculum. Fellows grow their networks and receive mentoring from like-minded professionals while exploring sustainable business solutions.
Here are just a few other ways Stern students do good—and do good business.
Hearing from Industry Experts
In partnership with other NYU schools, the student-run Social Impact and Sustainability Association (SISA) hosts the annual Social Innovation Symposium. The conference features professionals from an array of industries, speaking on how to achieve a better future. This year’s theme was Human-Centered Capitalism, Leveraging Resources to Drive Impact. “[A couple of years ago] we had a faculty debate between four Stern professors,” says Pooja Vittal, a Stern alumnus and former co-president of SISA. “They really dug deep into the possible roles that business will play in our society’s future.”
Inventing New Ways to Help
Stern’s annual Entrepreneurs Challenge, organized by the Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship, includes two competition tracks: New Venture and Social Venture. Through the Social Venture Competition, students with entrepreneurial aspirations can submit their idea for a socially responsible business. Then, they receive mentoring services, pitch their idea, and learn how to market it. Winners receive seed funding and pro-bono services (worth more than $250,000!) to make their vision a reality.
NYU Stern alumnus Umar Belal co-founded the 2021 Social Venture Competition winter, ONE432. His sustainable apparel and shoe brand shares 50 percent of its net profits with its female artisans. In addition, it sponsors children’s education in Pakistan.
Supporting Burgeoning Businesses
By joining socially aware NYU clubs, students can help businesses grow while keeping an eye on corporate responsibility. For example, Net Impact connects Stern students to workshops, speakers, volunteer opportunities, and mentors, mobilizing its members to drive social and environmental change. Additionally, 180 Degrees Consulting, open to the larger NYU community, provides nonprofits and socially conscious organizations with affordable consulting services. Past clients include The Rainforest Alliance, Kiva, and Girls Who Code. “These clubs are a way to take what you learn from the classroom and apply it in a real-world setting,” explains Pooja.