AACSB Initiative Reveals Five Inspiring Ways Business School Graduates are Changing the World

MBA Blog / 20th September 2016

Today, business school graduates are increasingly using their degrees to make a difference not only in the corporate world but across society. As business school alumni push past the boundaries of the status quo, AACSB International (AACSB) has identified five inspiring ways business graduates are driving positive social change in communities around the globe.

The contributions of 30 such individuals were recognized today at AACSB’s Annual Accreditation Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA as part of the 2016 AACSB Influential Leaders Challenge, which launched in 2015 to honor notable alumni for the inspiring examples they set, and their impact on society.

“The 2016 Influential Leaders illustrates how the impact of business schools goes beyond the boardroom and reaches lives in every part of the world,” said Thomas R. Robinson, president and CEO of AACSB. “From around the world, these leaders are an exemplary force in driving positive impact on business and society by applying their leadership, knowledge, and skills to address some of society’s toughest global challenges.”

More than 15 industry sectors — from social enterprise to healthcare to technology — across 11 countries are present in this year’s Influential Leaders class. While the leaders differ in their fields and paths to success, the challenge reveals commonalities in the way business school alumni positively impact society.

The five trends representing the contributions of this powerful group include:

Harnessing ingenuity for innovation and technology: By expanding their footprints through innovation and technology, business graduates harness the power of ingenuity by making meaningful, lasting social change. From building successful start-ups, leading cutting-edge brands such as Airbnb’s Jonathan Mildenhall, to serving as the minister for Internet Safety and Security for the United Kingdom, they are at the forefront of innovation and development.

Advancing education and employment through entrepreneurship: Alumni use their entrepreneurial talents to create education and employment opportunities for underserved communities. Zibu Mthyiane, for example, was born during Apartheid in South Africa and since has founded two business, one of which empowers rural women to set up their own businesses. Others have developed mentoring programs for inner city youth, and built global entrepreneurial conferences to inspire others to build a better world.

Fostering diversity, inclusion, and equality: Knowing the importance that diversity, inclusion, and equality play for socio-economic development, business school alumni are creating positive environments to combat inequality. Nashwa Taher, a successful businesswoman in Saudi Arabia, co-founded two organizations aimed at creating jobs for young people and women who are underrepresented, and Netflix’s Tawani Cranz has served instrumental in implementing a groundbreaking equal/unlimited parental leave policy. Other similar graduates are advocating for equal opportunities for African Americans, veterans, and the disabled.

Creating a more sustainable future: Business school graduates are adopting sustainable business practices for the betterment and protection of our globe. Rahul Pushp co-founded i-Solarlite, which addresses the issue of unreliable electricity among rural populations through energy efficient solar lamps. 

Ensuring healthy lives: Another top priority is using expertise to find solutions to global health issues. After losing a son to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), Pete Petit developed the first home physiological monitor for at-risk infants. Similar, Analjit Singh has worked to transform India’s healthcare system by building hospitals that provide affordable care for all, no matter their income level.

For more information on the Influential Leaders Challenge, including a full list of honorees, visit www.aacsb.edu/Influential-Leaders.

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