Graduate Courses in Social Impact

The Center offers a menu of courses taught by a distinguished faculty of established leaders in the field.

All courses are cross-listed between the full-time and part-time MBA programs. In addition, Cal graduate students in other schools can enroll in these courses, space permitting, during the add/drop period of each semester.

Brief course descriptions:

Social Sector Solutions (S3)Social Sector Solutions

Management consulting for social impact, with McKinsey & Company.

The purpose of this course is to provide students with academic frameworks and practical hands-on experience in management consulting and consulting with nonprofit organizations. The course focuses on consultation teams working with select nonprofit clients to succeed in entrepreneurial ventures. The course is a partnership with McKinsey & Company, a world-renowned management consulting firm. Paul Jansen, McKinsey & Company Emeritus Director of the Global Philanthropy Practice co-teaches the class, and experienced McKinsey consultants coach each of the student teams.

Instructors: Nora Silver (CNPL) and Paul Jansen (McKinsey)

Applications for nonprofit clients are now open. Download the application and other information at the S3 Partners page.

S3 course webpage
Download S3 Brochure


Social Sector Solutions for Social EnterprisesS3 for Social Enterprises

Management consulting for mission-based organizations, with FSG Impact Consultants and Dalberg Global Development Advisors.

Social Sector Solutions for Social Enterprises (S3SE) is a partnership with Dalberg Global Development Advisors and FSG Social Impact Consultants. S3SE is designed as a strategy consultation to help social enterprise clients achieve greater impact by addressing their most important strategic challenges with data and values-driven decision making support. The course develops students’ skills in management consulting, problem solving, and project management, while increasing their knowledge of the unique entrepreneurial challenges of social ventures. Social ventures for the purposes of this course are enterprises (nonprofit, for-profit, hybrid) that seek to integrate their business model and their social impact. Instruction covers frameworks for project management, problem scoping, problem solving, storyline, client management, team effectiveness, and assessing financial and social impact models of social ventures. The course is built around 5 student consultation teams that work with local clients on a current issue vital to the leadership of that client. An experienced FSG consultant coaches each student team. Students will be able to rank order their preferences for client assignments once accepted to the class.

Instructors: Nora Silver (CNPL), Joe Dougherty (Dalberg), and Lalitha Vaidyanathan (FSG)

Download S3SE Brochure

Strategic Management of Nonprofit Organizations

This course introduces students to strategic leadership issues in the nonprofit sector. The course covers key issues in founding, leading, managing, and governing nonprofit organizations and new nonprofit ventures. Major topics include: mission and theory of change, governance and accountability, strategy and strategic planning, nonprofit financial management, resource development, alliances and networks, capacity building, impact and leadership.

Instructor: Colin Boyle

Networks for Impact: Social Innovation's Next Frontier

Networks and collective impact approaches that rely upon all actors and resources across sectors to mobilize for change are viewed as some of the latest innovations in the field of social entrepreneurship. Yet, oftentimes, there is a gap between aspirations to work collaboratively and effective mobilization of networks. This course will provide insights and experience that will prepare to lead and engage in networks effectively.

Instructors: Jane Wei-Skillern (Spring)

Nonprofit Boards: Governance and Leadership in Nonprofit Organizations

This course examines the roles and responsibilities of members of nonprofit boards of directors. Generally, they establish strategic direction, raise money, and exercise financial oversight. Students will identify and develop the leadership and management skills necessary to be an effective board member. Using board assessment instruments and self-assessment activities, the class will seek to determine "fit" between different types of boards and class participants.

Instructors: Lynne LaMarca Heinrich (Fall), Paul Jansen (Spring)

Financial Management of Nonprofit Organizations

In order to be an effective leader in the nonprofit field, one must have a solid grounding in financial management. This course is designed to develop the core financial management skills needed by board members and seniors managers in large and small organizations. Students will learn the tools and techniques for effective planning and budgeting as well as how to control, evaluate and revise plans. The course will address current regulations and issues that impact nonprofit financial management. The use and development of internal and external financial reports will be studied with an emphasis on using financial information in decision-making. Tools and techniques of financial statement analysis, interpretation and presentation will be discussed and practiced.

Instructor: Brent Copen

Social Entrepreneurship

This course explores how to utilize social entrepreneurship to generate social impact efficiently, effectively, and sustainably through two primary means: 1) organizational level growth and innovation and 2) catalyzing networks, requiring the mobilization of a vast array of actors and resources across organization and sector boundaries, and having the potential to generate rapid and sustained social impact. Case topics include social entrepreneurship in climate change/energy, microfinance, health, and international development.

Instructor: Jim Schorr

Strategic Approaches for Global Social Impact

The role of strategic thinking in order to achieve social impact is becoming increasingly critical: how to design effective solutions to the world's most pressing problems; how to ensure demand-driven sustainability; and how to measure the social return on investment? Entrepreneurs, venture capital funds, NGOs, foundations and corporations are all increasingly turning to business-driven approaches to achieve their social impact objectives. In that context, this course aims to:

  1. help students understand the analytical and strategic questions underlying important issues in global health, economic development, education and post-conflict recovery, and
  2. develop and examine effective (and whenever appropriate, market-based) solutions to these issues, with an eye towards replicability, scalability, sustainability, and catalytic effect.

The course will be project-focused, with teams selecting an issue of interest, developing a rigorous business case for their approach, and working with field experts to stress-test their ideas.

Instructor: Shashi Buluswar

Social Impact Speaker Series

This Speaker Series is designed to introduce students to the many forms and industries in which social impact is central. The purpose of the course is to allow students to learn about trends and innovations across sectors and in diverse industries, all focused on social impact.

Instructor: Nora Silver, with the Haas Net Impact Club

Technology Innovations for Addressing Global Poverty

Many true technological breakthroughs designed to combat global poverty fail to live up to their promise or reach a sustainable scale. This class prepares aspiring innovators, social entrepreneurs, and social impact investors to understand what it takes to achieve large-scale social change through technology. Students will gain a deep understanding of the issues related to poverty, learn from recent “live” case studies, meet inventors and social entrepreneurs, and identify a promising technology and create a business plan to launch it.

Instructor: Shashi Buluswar

ImpactMBA at Berkeley-Haas

Kota Fukasawa

Kota Fukasawa

MBA 13

Associate, McKinsey & Company

Social Sector Solutions, Impact at Scale

Co-President, Education Leadership Club


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