The GOOD 100: Jill Kickul The GOOD 100: Jill Kickul
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The GOOD 100: Jill Kickul

by Joe Ippolito

October 16, 2009


Business school isn't just for Wall Street hopefuls anymore. That is, if Jill Kickul has anything to say about it.Amid hallways filled with financial wunderkinds and future CEOs at New York University, an interesting thing is taking shape-a boot camp for social entrepreneurs. "We wanted to mold a nontraditional program in a very traditional university setting," says Jill Kickul, the director of the Stewart Satter Program in Social Entrepreneurship at NYU's Stern School of Business. And her program is doing just that: blending idealism and ingenuity with rock-solid business acumen."Our students may have a foundation in traditional MBA disciplines such as marketing or finance," explains Kickul, "but they're leveraging those skills and asking how they can apply them to the social sector."This blended value approach represents a growing shift toward running for-good organizations like for-profit companies, maximizing efficiency and cutting waste. Much of the curriculum comes from outside the traditional B-school model. "You can't teach social impact in the context of a classroom," says Kickul. "You need to talk to the innovators and thought leaders who do this on a daily basis." So in they come-philanthropists, venture capitalists, nonprofit leaders-lending their time and experience to tomorrow's change-makers.This outlook shapes all aspects of the department. For instance, Julius Walls, the president and CEO of Greyston Bakery in Yonkers, New York, serves as entrepreneur in residence, teaching a course on social enterprise development. In November, the program will host a conference with social stalwarts such as Ashoka, Robin Hood Foundation, and the Acumen Fund.By combining philanthropic spirit with proven business expertise, the program isn't teaching MBAers how to greenwash or make empty promises. This is a ground-up approach to a new order of business. It's about time.LEARN MORE  Read Joe Ippolito's blog about starting a social venture here.
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The GOOD 100: Jill Kickul