Created in conjunction with LSE’s Marshall Institute, the Department of Management’s newest programme for executives puts social purpose and impact at the heart of business education.
Now open for applications, the Executive MSc Social Business and Entrepreneurship is designed for students with public, private, non-profit management experience, or social entrepreneurs who wish to combine business rigour and entrepreneurship with a commitment to public good, or those who wish to bring social purpose to business.
Professor Stephan Chambers, formerly the Director of Oxford’s University MBA, will serve as the new programme’s director. We interviewed Professor Chambers this week about the programme, its vision, and his decision to create a socially-focused alternative to an MBA.
You came to LSE to start this socially-focused ‘alternative MBA’ programme after fourteen years with Oxford’s MBA. What prompted you to create something new?
I love the MBA and it’s had a significant effect on professionalising global organisations. But I’ve met a lot of people for whom the MBA wasn’t a perfect fit. My moment of clarity really came after I’d had about my thousandth conversation with a prospective MBA student who confessed, “the MBA is the next best thing to what I want. And I’m not sure what I want exists.” These were bright students, entrepreneurs, and leaders who had a strong desire to be useful in the world. There was clearly a gap in the education market for those who wanted a business education that prioritised public benefit and social impact.
I wanted to create that alternative for people and that’s why I came to LSE. Because LSE is the perfect place to do this. It’s an amazing concentration of social science expertise and it isn’t captured by its MBA legacy. We can do things here that you couldn’t do in a traditional business school.
How is this programme different from an MBA?
Although this programme is designed for students who might normally choose an MBA, the curriculum is very different from what you would find in a traditional MBA programme. There will be less focus on ‘hard’ management and business skills, although we will deal with those in an entrepreneurial setting, and more on using critical thinking, evaluating context, and assessing opportunities. Really, it seeks to take students who already have a wide variety of tangible skills and teach them how to apply them in a new way for a new economy.
Our programme has a specific focus on social benefit for both entrepreneurs and those who want to change their organisations from within. And the market is demanding that. We believe many of today’s leaders want to use their influence, wealth, or ideas to make a difference in the world. At the same time, companies are wrestling with their own legitimacy and will look to this new kind of leader to guide them. All entrepreneurs will be social entrepreneurs and we hope this programme will accelerate that shift.
The MBA is a 100-year old degree that was designed to deal with the complexities of the multinational corporation – particularly financial and professional services institutions. It was not built to deal with the current complex, post-globalisation, post-shareholder orthodoxy world. This means it’s constantly trying to refit itself and it’s not doing a good enough job.
What are you looking for in applicants for the programme?
We are interested equally in the innovators – the entrepreneurs and the intrapreneurs – those who see an unjust or unsustainable equilibrium and seek to use market-like mechanism to adjust to a fairer or more sustainable equilibrium. They will be in organisations large and small. They will have their own ventures or ideas for them. What we hope to have is a classroom in which people learn from each other – where someone from a large corporation is learning from someone who is navigating the field and starting their own venture.
To learn more about the programme and to apply, please visit the programme page. We are also happy to share that LSE alumni receive a 15% discount on all of our executive programmes.