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Stanford GSB Students Love Social Impact and Innovation

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More and more Stanford GSB students are taking social impact and innovation classes throughout their education. According to the university, this year, more than 90 percent of the 488 MBA and MSx students took a course related to social innovation and social impact—95 percent of the MBA Class of 2019 and 81 percent of the MSx Class of 2019.

Certificate in Public Management and Social Innovation

In addition, more and more students are interested in earning a Certificate in Public Management and Social Innovation. From 1990 to 1999, only 35 students received the certificate. From 2010 to 2019 interest explored to 114 students—a 225 percent increase. This year alone, 118 students are on track to earn the certificate compared to just two students in 1971.

Social Entrepreneurship

There’s also rising interest in social entrepreneurship among MBA students. Over the past three years—2017 to 2019—MBAs pursuing social entrepreneurship have increased from 12 percent to 13 percent to 18 percent, respectively.

Celebrating Social Impact and Innovation

“I see two trends … The first, and one that deserves great celebration, is the remarkable number of our students and young alums who are dedicated to social impact, and to seeking purpose and mission along with professional success,” Jonathan Levin, the Dean of Stanford GSB, told students. “The second theme I want to celebrate is students’ collective dedication to addressing big issues. Their willingness to ask challenging questions about the world, and even about the GSB, is fundamental to bringing about change in organizations. And I think this willingness—in a leading business school!—is also to be celebrated.”

Student Awards

These achievements were celebrated at an annual awards ceremony that recognized students for their contribution to the Stanford GSB social innovation community. During the event, two students, Karin Underwood and Christina Guilbeau, also received a $110,000 Social Innovation Fellowship. Both students are pursuing technology ventures related to health and mental wellness services for underserved communities.

Social Innovation Fellowship recipients Christina Guilbeau (left) and Karin Underwood (right). | Stacy Geiken

Ten additional students were recognized as social change leaders of the future and awarded the Miller Social Change Leadership Award. MBA and MSx students earning a Certificate in Public Management and Social Innovation were eligible and chosen based on their contribution to the GSB community and their commitment to social and environmental action.

2019 Miller Social Change Leadership Award winners. From left to right: Matias Lanus, Abiodun Buari, Karin Underwood, Valerie Shen, Judy Dunbar, Christina Guilbeau, Julia Osterman, Dean Jonathan Levin, Jackie Rotman (not pictured – Kate Wharton and Kathryn Geskermann)| Stacy Geiken

The ten students who received the award:

  • Abiodun Buari
  • Judy Dunbar
  • Kathryn Geskermann
  • Christina Guilbeau
  • Matias Lanus
  • Julia Osterman
  • Jackie Rotman
  • Valerie Shen
  • Karin Underwood
  • Kate Wharton

Read the full report in the Stanford GSB newsroom.

Kelly Vo
Kelly Vo is a writer who specializes in covering MBA programs, digital marketing, and topics related to personal development. She has been working in the MBA space for the past four years in research, interview, and writing roles.