Biz School Students Aiming to Do Good, Not Just Well

After yesterday’s depressing entry about business students, this one’s a breath of fresh air.

From BusinessWeek: The Push to Do Good and Turn a Profit

Politically active and culturally aware, young entrepreneurs…are pursuing socially responsible business ventures in record numbers, say administrators at several top B-schools, including Babson College and the University of Arizona’s Eller School of Management. Defying tradition, students and recent grads are pitching business plans with dueling bottom lines—social and financial—and hoping investors will buy in.

It’s good news — if it is indeed true — that the current crop of would-be entrepreneurs are embracing social values. That is not to say that they should be thinking in terms of the so-called “Corporate Social Responsibility” movement. But it’s good that they are thinking about products and services that stand to make the world a better place. In general, I tend to share the view that entrepreneurs (or people in business generally) don’t have any special insight into what will make the world better, but if a young person’s option are a) marketing videos of drunken co-eds b) marketing an energy drink named after a dangerous street drug, or c) inventing a solar-powered trash compactor to help keep city streets clean, I for one am glad to hear that that’s a multiple-choice question at least some find pretty easy.

5 comments so far

  1. Anonymous on

    What? Young grads only pursuing the “duel bottom line?” Didn’t these top notch business schools teach them about the ubiquitous “triple bottom line?”

  2. Chris MacDonald on

    Not sure which 2 bottom lines you mean, and which one is being left out. But perhaps you’re just offering me the opportunity to point out (as I have many times before) that the Triple Bottom Line is a hopelessly flawed concept.See, for example:http://www.businessethics.ca/blog/2005/12/triple-bottom-line-bad-idea-that-just_09.htmlandhttp://www.businessethics.ca/blog/2006/11/triple-bottom-line-still-crazy-after.html

  3. Chris MacDonald on

    Here are functioning links to the two URLs in my previous comment:< HREF="http://www.businessethics.ca/blog/2005/12/triple-bottom-line-bad-idea-that-just_09.html" REL="nofollow">Triple Bottom Line — the bad idea that just won’t die<>< HREF="http://www.businessethics.ca/blog/2006/11/triple-bottom-line-still-crazy-after.html" REL="nofollow">Triple Bottom Line: Still Crazy After All These Years<>

  4. Andrew on

    Chris,I, too, would rather see young entrepreneurs out there marketing products or services which create value to society, rather than destroy value.The triple bottom line? Well, I can’t quite say I agree with you on this one, but I can certainly understand the point of view of critics in relation to this. CheersAndrew

  5. Chris MacDonald on

    Andrew:Plenty of people seem not to agree with me about the Triple Bottom Line.Wayne Norman & I worked out our criticism in detail in “Getting to the bottom of “triple bottom line.” Business Ethics Quarterly, 14(2) 243-262 (2004).As far as I know the only person to have attempted to tackle our argument is Moses Pava. His attempt, and our reply, are in Business Ethics Quarterly. 17:1 (January 2007).It seems odd, to me, that a critique of such a popular concept has basically gone without reply. If 3BL really made sense, you’d think people would rush to defend it.Cheers,Chris.


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