Taking the Business School Path to Positive Societal Impact
- Business schools have expertise that can be applied to address today's urgent challenges, such as the climate crisis.
- Taking disruptive detours, surrounding oneself with extraordinary people, and experiencing joy are important to finding one's purpose.
- Universities are working alongside businesses to develop, refine, and research tools to help students create the change they want to see in the world.
Katell Le Goulven: [0:13] We need to kill the myth that business school don't have anything to offer because they don't have the expertise on climate change.
[0:20] Everything that we need to operate the shift to a low-carbon economy, in particular in the corporate world, is based on expertise that business schools do have.
[0:30] It's about changing business model. It's about adjusting supply chains. It's about developing a marketing system that helps consumers move away from intensive and carbon-intensive lifestyles. It's about corporate governance that keep the direction on the long term about these environmental goals, etc.
Everything that we need to operate the shift to a low-carbon economy, in particular in the corporate world, is based on expertise that business schools do have.
[0:52] All this expertise is what we have in business school is what we do. It can be applied to the digital revolution. It can also be applied to addressing a large crisis like the climate crisis. It's really a matter of using that expertise and applying it.
Jean Oelwang: [1:10] Purpose is more important than ever in the world right now. I guess I would give three bits of advice to students currently on how they find their purpose.
[1:19] The first one is, don't be afraid to take disruptive detours. I can remember I started my career with an amazing telecommunications company, and I decided I wanted to be a VISTA volunteer and work with homeless youth in Chicago.
[1:31] Everyone was like, "No, it's going to destroy your career." It was one of the most important things I did because I then understood what some of the issues were in society, and why we had thousands of kids that were homeless in Center City, Chicago.
When you're finding your purpose, that's important to go out, listen, and take those disruptive detours.
[1:44] I took some of these disruptive detours throughout my business career. That was one of them. Then, I went to work for the National Parks and Wildlife in Australia. Then, we set up Virgin Unite.
[1:54] Each of these detours help me build a humility and understanding what the other sector was going through and also just help me understand how to listen better and really understand the different perspectives and framing people were coming from. I feel like when you're finding your purpose, that's important to go out, listen, and take those disruptive detours.
[2:13] I say the second thing is really surrounding yourself with extraordinary people and that are people that live their purpose. That will help students and young people find what their path is and what their purpose is because it's very, very personal.
[2:27] The third thing is having joy. David Whyte, the poet, has a beautiful quote where he says "Anything or anyone [that] does not bring you alive is too small for you."
[2:37] Making sure that you feel alive with something that you're passionate about and that you want to get out of bed every day for it. It doesn't put you back to sleep. Having that fire in your belly is so important.
Many students are looking for ways to unite profit and purpose and do it at scale, so we can drive the type of societal impact that we want to see.
Corinne Dougherty: [2:48] We are finding that the skills needed for effective ESG leadership are so important in professional development, especially for those early in their careers. Basic accounting, soft skills, critical thinking skills, and a learning mindset are essential skills for ESG leadership.
[3:05] In particular for auditors, they develop their skillset in school, but also on the job. All those skills are applicable to ESG. For example, auditors understand how to identify risks, what are the different processes and controls, and provide insights to clients. All of those skills are integral to ESG work.
Jens Molbak: [3:25] We're really excited to share this work with business school students, and frankly, other students throughout the university. Many students are looking for ways to unite profit and purpose and do it at scale, so we can drive the type of societal impact that we want to see.
[3:40] We're creating tools in New Impact. We're working with universities to develop those tools, to refine them, to research them, so students can use these tri-sector tools to create the change they want to see in the world.
Business schools can again collaborate, join forces to bring the expertise that they have together to accelerate change.
[3:53] We'd encourage students to lean into their universities, to ask their professors questions. For the later-stage students who are doing PhD work, there's already dissertations being written about this. They can find more resources on our website at newimpact.care.
Le Goulven: [4:08] In addition to that, business school can again collaborate, join forces to bring the expertise that they have together to accelerate change.
[4:19] This is what we've done, for instance in Europe, by bringing together and collaborating with eight top business schools on the region and pulling these resources that we have, the business insights that we have, evidence-based, together to provide them for free to our alumni community and to leaders.
[4:40] Realizing that the expertise is there and can be applied to the carbon transition and joining force to accelerate change.