Social Impact MBA

Curriculum

The Social Impact MBA offers all the quantitative skills, experiential learning, and intellectual rigor of a top-tier traditional MBA degree, but in a uniquely collaborative - not competitive - environment grounded in the values and practices of social justice. Whether you’re building your own social enterprise, managing corporate social responsibility, consulting for social sector organizations, or directing nonprofit programming, our curriculum will give you the skills you need to lead—regardless of sector.

Concentrations

In addition to the core social impact curriculum, you will have the opportunity to select a concentration, such as sustainable development or social entrepreneurship, for your elective courses. Our concentrations leverage many research institutes and centers at Heller, a top-10 school of social policy, to deliver specialized knowledge in topical areas.

Team Consulting Project

The Heller Social Impact MBA program culminates in the Team Consulting Project (TCP), real-world, practical experience providing students with the opportunity to apply their analytical and problem-solving skills to help an organization or business unit more effectively pursue its social mission.

Course Sequence

The standard MBA program curriculum is 68 credits taken over 16 months and condenses two years of study into four consecutive, intense semesters – ideal for people eager to return to the workplace and quickly put their new skills into action.

The curriculum includes the following core courses, which apply a social-impact focus to traditional MBA skills. Beginning in Fall 2022 all Heller students will also participate in a Racial Equity 21-day challenge course, designed to educate students on the history of racism and racial discrimination in America and current challenges.

First Year

Fall

  • HS 246b, Data, Models and Decisions (2 credits)
    This course has been developed to aid students in both the consumption and production of econometric models. It blends analysis of data (statistics) with economic theory (regression models) to establish a basis for the process of managerial decision-making under uncertainty.

  • HS 250a, Financial Reporting and Analysis (4 credits)
    Reporting practices that are unique to nonprofit organizations are introduced, discussed and differentiated from those practices employed by for-profit entities. Financial statements from organizations such as hospitals, large and small charities, and manufacturers are examined. A major paper assigned in the course focuses on the in-depth financial analysis of a nonprofit organization.

  • HS 253b, Leadership and Organizational Behavior (4 credits)
    This course covers leadership and organizational behavior with an emphasis on mission-driven organizations.

  • HS 290a, Economics Analysis for Managers (4 credits)
    This course is designed to provide understanding of the economic ways for managers and businesses to function in a way that maximizes social benefits and minimizes social costs, by emphasizing the social impacts of fundamental economic concepts of market (domestic and international), consumer, and government power, along with the theories of market externalities, price discrimination, etc.

  • Electives (4 credits)

Spring

  • HS 248b, Financial Management (4 credits)
    This course focuses on financial management for nonprofit organizations.

  • HS 251b, Managerial Accounting (4 credits)
    Managerial accounting primarily addresses the internal use of economic information regarding the resources used in the process of producing goods and providing services. Fundamental aspects of costing out products and services are introduced with an emphasis on service organizations that are nonprofits. Break-even analysis, short-term business decisions, budgeting, variance analysis and capital budgeting for nonprofits are primary topics in the course.

  • HS 252b, Strategic Management (4 credits)
    This course covers strategy development and management with a special emphasis on collective decision-making and social impact enteprises. About half the cases address nonprofit and social impact strategy situations. Anti-racism and the identity issues around race, gender, religion, nationality, and other matters are woven into many of the cases, including a capstone dialogue considering the Brandeis Ford Hall 2015 occupation through a strategic lens. Field projects can be at organizational, industry, or ecosystem levels of analysis.

  • HS 258a, Operations Management (4 credits)
    Operations management covers the core principles associated with the flow of materials, people, and ideas in organizations and broader ecosystems, with a focus on nonprofit organzations and social impact systems. Lessons from lean/six sigma developments in the private sector are applied to health care, government operations, and mission-driven nonprofits. A capstone dialogue examines the Brandeis Ford Hall 2015 occupation through an operations lens. Field projects generate process flow maps and continuous improvement recommendations in a wide range of private, public, and nonprofit settings selected by the students.

  • Elective (2 credits)

Summer

  • HRNS/HS 232a, Team Consulting Project Workshop (2 credits)
    This skills-based course teaches consulting and influencing skills to help students gain the expertise to become leaders of mission-driven organizations.

  • HS 249f, Social Justice, Management and Policy (2 credits)
    This course offers a deep dive into social-justice issues.

  • HS 285a, Marketing (4 credits)
    This course focused on marketing principles overall with a special focus on mission-driven organizations. Final project involves creating a marketing/social media plan for a mission-driven organization.

  • HS 299b, Team Consulting Project (4 credits)
    Working under the supervision of a faculty advisor in teams of three to five, students provide consulting services to a mission-driven organization over a four-month period. This real-world, practical experience gives students the opportunity to apply their analytical and problem-solving skills to help an organization or business unit more effectively pursue its social mission.

Second Year

Fall

  • HS 247f, Evaluation for Managers (2 credits)
    This course covers metrics and evaluation for nonprofit/mission-driven organizations.

  • HS 254a, Human Resource Management (4 credits)
    To have a positive social impact, an organization needs to develop sustainable high-quality relationships with its key stakeholders, including its employees. The Human Resource Management course focuses on building sustainable employment relationships. Students will learn strategic human resource management concepts and use these concepts to develop coherent, integrated approaches to achieve an organization’s desired performance outcomes consistent with its mission and strategy.

  • Electives (10 credits)

Electives

Below is a list of sample electives typically offered in the Heller MBA program. To see electives sorted by concentration, please browse the concentrations section. Once students have satisfied their core curriculum requirements and their concentration requirements, they may also pursue courses in the Boston Consortium or in other Heller degree programs. View the full list of Heller course descriptions for more. 

Sample MBA Electives

Approved Heller MBA electives offered at Brandeis International Business School