According to Moudgil, it is that desire to work outside of set institutions, but across institutions, that inspired the push for the center and potentially a mutually beneficial relationship across campus. “We want to be attractive to talented students across schools,” Moudgil says. “Business leaders need to understand community interest and policy and the whole spectrum of community impact. It’s more than just bottom line. At the same time, some of the students outside of business can benefit from measuring financial return as well as social return.”
Chafetz believes it’s time for all business schools to take notice of the influx of socially minded business leaders.
“I think that folks that are getting their MBAs are more socially aware than people previously earning MBAs,” Chafetz says. “It’s a generational mindset that people demand this opportunity in business school.”
A COMMON THREAD AMONGST STUDENTS
Cat Johnson believes many students she sees coming through the program share certain characteristics.
“There’s a set of students who are really focused on wanting their career from top to bottom to be dedicated to a broad social sector,” Johnson explains. “They are looking for social outcomes. Overall, we are seeing more and more of those kinds of people. It is folks who are strongly dedicated to positive business and social and environment impact.”
According to Johnson, these students are also flexible and keen to tackle the ambiguous.
“They can truly wear many hats,” Johnson explains. “They are adaptable and able to deal with the really challenging messiness of big social issues.”
ACCELERATING THE IMPACT
Above all, Johnson sees the center as a step in the right direction toward solving a broad social conundrum – and something close to her heart.
“What I learned speaking with the families of child laborers in Ecuador as an undergrad is at the end of the day, there are so many social challenges, but if you can help people get a job, you can help them get a step on many fronts,” Johnson explains. “We are seeing so much energy and excitement around Michigan and the City of Detroit. A lot of people who left for the coasts, like myself, are coming back. I came back for the opportunity to develop the ecosystem of social impact in Michigan and help accelerate the impact through all of the hands involved in the Center. My role is to accelerate success for the individual students and their organizations.”
Moudgil believes the space will continue to develop.
“Figuring out how to measure the success of an enterprise based on social and financial return is an emerging space,” Moudgil says. “Students want to roll up their sleeves and think about those questions and how to answer them. Regardless of running a for-profit venture or nonprofit, how do you have a stable enterprise while contributing to society and the planet? We roll up our sleeves and understand and work through that.”