High Student Demand for Social Impact Content in Graduate Programs


students care (netimpact)

Net Impact, a leading nonprofit that inspires a new generation to work for a sustainable future, released its 2014 edition of Business as UNusual: The Social and Environmental Impact Guide to Graduate Programs – For Students by Students. Key findings suggest that social and environmental issues are a growing priority for students who pursue a graduate education, and that student expectations have increased as a result.

First published in 2006, Business as UNusual is the only publication for students, by students that ranks and highlights graduate schools at the forefront of social and environmental innovation, featuring over 3,300 student perspectives on nearly 100 graduate programs.

Major conclusions from Business as Unusual 2014 include:

  • Next-generation leaders expect companies to integrate social and environmental issues into business practices to succeed. Of the student respondents, 93% think focusing on social and environmental issues is very important or essential to a business’ long-term success and over 80% feel that business is doing better on this issue than 5 years ago.
  • Students report over half the schools have new curricular or co-curricular innovations in how they integrate social or environmental impact themes. Trends include increasing peer-to-peer mentoring programs; cross-club, cross-school, and cross-discipline approaches; infusion of design thinking to drive social innovation; and impressive innovations in experiential learning offerings.
  • Students want programs to do even more to incorporate social and environmental issues. While 88% of respondents feel learning about these issues is a priority, an increasing number of students felt their schools could do a better job of integrating social and environmental themes into core curriculum.
  • Students are willing to make sacrifices for a job that makes a difference. According to the survey, 83% are willing to take a 15% salary cut for a job that makes a social or environmental difference in the world, a notable increase over last year. In a highly competitive job market, though, not all students can be picky. Over a third of students surveyed feel pressured to take any role, a 30% increase over last year’s data.

Full report here: business-as-unusual-2014

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