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Using Business For Good: How To Pursue a Management Career That Has a Positive Impact

Using Business For Good: How To Pursue a Management Career That Has a Positive Impact main image

Sponsored by HEC Paris

The world’s attitude towards sustainability is changing as businesses recognize that ‘being sustainable’ is no longer a niche USP. Instead, sustainability needs to be built into the business’s DNA from start to finish.

With more people becoming aware of the role business plays in sustainable development, there’s a desire among many of today’s graduates to find a career that will have a genuine social and environmental impact.

Sound like you? If so, you’re in luck, because you can join a MSc Sustainability and Social Innovation degree to learn how to do just that.

What worked before, may not work now

The world is a very different place to what it was at the turn of the 21st century – technology has revolutionized the way we live and work, while our knowledge of what is (and isn’t) good for the environment has also developed dramatically.

Businesses are having to go beyond stating their grand mission statements and instead embed these statements into the heart of their business model and strategies.

So when it comes to considering what skills business professionals need moving forward, HEC Paris Affiliate Professor Florian Hoos considers “the ability to communicate a convincing sustainability narrative” most critical.

“We all know we cannot continue doing business like we have the last 20 years. We need to go from ‘growth no matter how’, to sustainable, human-centered growth. This requires a great deal of change in terms of business practices, tools, and mindsets.

“And for change to happen, we need leaders who are able to paint a picture for the future of making business that is attractive and motivating,” he adds.

Learning how to use business for good

Businesses need globally responsible leaders who bring with them big visions and the ability to think outside the box, and we’re seeing business schools fall into line to guide the future generation in this direction.

New and innovative degree programs are being offered in order to address the sustainable principles of both the social and environmental ecosystem within business.

At HEC Paris, the MSc in Sustainability and Social Innovation offers a well-balanced curriculum of theory and practice which prepares students to make a positive impact in whatever roles they pursue – whether it’s in a specific sustainable function role, or a more general business role, according to Professor Florian Hoos.

“SASI students are nothing less than very well educated business students that master one of the core competencies for the future – the ability to create and transform traditional businesses into businesses with positive triple impact: economic, social, and ecological,” he explains.

From social and ecological impact measurement, to sustainable supply chain design and innovation management, all these tools allow the students to consider their leadership development and what it means to make a positive change in the world.

So much so, that the program’s graduates have gone on to work for a range of organizations including social enterprises and international NGOs, according to Professor Hoos.

“The careers are really diverse. One misunderstanding is that SASI students pursue ‘sustainability’ careers only – whatever that means. But in fact, many SASI students pursue different types of careers that business students usually choose.

“This ranges from consulting to working in a function of a big corporation, to creating their own business. However, the mindset of a SASI student is that of a traditional business student plus additional knowledge on one of the key competitive advantages of companies in the future – it answers the question of how to make money by at the same time creating positive social and ecological impact,” explains Professor Hoos.

Crucial to employees as well as consumers

Consumers are becoming more aware of the who’re they handing their money over to when purchasing products and services. If they’re unable to tell whether a business has embedded social/environmental missions into their business model, it’s likely consumers will start to look elsewhere.

The same applies to those who want to work for an organization that also takes making a positive impact seriously – something that Charlotte, an MSc Sustainability and Social Innovation student realized.

“What attracted me about the MSc in Sustainability and Social Innovation was the opportunity to learn about the way businesses can have a positive environmental and social impact,” says Charlotte.

“I was particularly interested in using emerging technologies to address sustainability issues and understand the way startups can integrate value-based criteria to assess their impact.”

After having identified an interest in the energy sector thanks to the program, Charlotte is now planning to work with businesses on their energy issues and how they can improve their energy efficiency and reduce their energy offsets.

“I've had the opportunity to learn about various topics such as energy management, impact investment and environmental, social and governance (ESG) analysis, putting theory into practice. I also helped organize the ‘Impact Entrepreneurship Day’, where students meet actors of social entrepreneurship and undertook a consulting mission to integrate sustainability into a large business innovation strategy,” she says.

Social entrepreneurship: the ultimate impact

Do you have your heart set on being your own boss? Do you have a business idea in mind that ticks all the boxes when it comes to fostering a positive social and environmental impact on the world? This is just another way that you can use business for good.

“The MSc Sustainability and Social Innovation has its own entrepreneurship track in the second half of the program for those who want to set up their own business with a sustainable business model that creates an additional social and/or environmental impact,” explains Professor Hoos.

“In fact, HEC Paris is a very powerful ecosystem for future entrepreneurs, and students who start their own sustainable business can do that within this fantastic ecosystem with all the credentials that one needs to become a changemaking entrepreneur,” he adds.

Ashley Rose P, Vida Abu P & 1 others saved this
Written by Stephanie Lukins
As the Head of Sponsored Content for TopUniversities.com and TopMBA.com, Stephanie creates and publishes a wide range of articles for universities and business schools across the world. She attended the University of Portsmouth where she earned a BA in English Language and an MA in Communication and Applied Linguistics.

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