In the Positive Impact Rating (PIR), Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business is identified as one of the world’s top “transforming” schools. The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, announced the PIR results on January 22, 2020. The new rating, conducted by students and for students, assesses business schools on the basis of their positive impact.
While business schools have historically been recognized for contributions to business and the economy, their role in providing a positive impact for society has often been overlooked. However, in the past decade, demands have steadily increased for business schools to contribute more directly to positive social change, as exemplified by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The PIR intends for its assessment to be a lever of change in the transformation of business schools. The impact of business schools is measured in three areas: energizing, educating, and engaging. These areas are further divided into seven dimensions: governance, culture, programs, learning methods, student engagement, institution as a role model, and public engagement.
For the first edition of the PIR, international student organizations reached out to students at the top 50 schools in the Financial Times Masters in Management 2018 ranking and the top 50 schools in the Corporate Knights Better World MBA Ranking. Fifty-one business schools participated in the rating.
The PIR features 30 leading schools. The highest level reached by respondents was level four. The “transforming” schools at this level have a positive impact culture embedded in governance and systems, with visible results in a number of impact dimensions. Scheller College is one of three institutions in the United States that exemplify this level of impact.
The full PIR report includes best practice examples from schools that have rated exceptionally well in one of the seven dimensions. Scheller College was invited to contribute a best practices statement on culture.
Scheller College creates a positive impact culture, in part, through faculty research and coursework. Beril Toktay, faculty director of the Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business, which leads Scheller College’s commitment to sustainability, said, “Our faculty serve as inspiring role models for the next generation of business leaders. The College’s undergraduate and graduate curricula signal its culture. In many courses, from the Sustainable Business Consulting Practicum to core business classes in which sustainability is infused, our students have the opportunity to develop a toolkit to help companies tackle the biggest social and environmental challenges of our time.”
Evidence of positive culture being embedded within the student body is seen through a high level of engagement in extracurricular and co-curricular activities such as the Graduate Sustainability Fellows and Undergraduate Sustainability Ambassadors programs, the Pro Bono Consulting Program, and the Carbon Reduction Challenge.
Of note, the Net Impact at Scheller College – MBA Chapter, which is dedicated to encouraging environmentally and socially responsible business practices, is currently one of the largest student organizations within the College. Blais Hickey, chapter president, said, “Ever since I joined the Full-time MBA Program in 2018, I’ve known that there’s a core group of students here who are passionate about embedding sustainability in business. It’s exciting to witness how the culture of positive impact is permeating throughout the entire student body and taking hold in the business ecosystem—for instance, with BlackRock CEO Larry Fink declaring that ‘purpose is the engine of long-term profitability.’ The PIR results prove that Sheller College graduates will be poised to answer that call: to do well by doing good.”
The College’s culture is also created by staff initiatives, such as the Work Green Scheller College Committee, and industry engagement that helps business partners achieve their corporate sustainability goals.
“Our College is proud to be recognized as an institution that is transforming the landscape of business schools,” remarked Maryam Alavi, dean of Scheller College. “We owe our success in this area to cultural and strategic alignment among our students, faculty, staff, and administration.”