Transforming Initiatives for Impact: Executive Program in Social Impact Strategy
June 22, 2016 |
“We can’t solve the problems using the same thinking that created them.” -Albert Einstein
Applications are now open for the 2017 Executive Program in Social Impact Strategy, and we’re searching for the right people to make the most of this opportunity. We are often asked why we’ve created this program. The short answer is that to tackle the toughest social challenges of today, we need creative approaches and innovative mindsets to help transform people, organizations, and impact regardless of geography or sector.
This is why we’ve designed the Executive Program in Social Impact Strategy, a world-class educational model, to be accessible, effective, and affordable for anyone who wants to improve the world. In just two short years, we’ve trained 140 students from 28 countries working in diverse industries with the tools and training mindsets required for sustainable social impact.
Our program design is guided by five core beliefs:
1) Diverse perspectives generate new solutions.
We actively work to recruit a global classroom of social entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, business leaders, nonprofit professionals, career changers, community organizers, and life-long learners who are restless with the way things are and want to shape the future for the better. Imagine getting on weekly video conference calls with colleagues from around the world about the real challenges they face at work.
Discussions are richer because of the wide range of perspectives of people enrolled in our program and the willingness of everyone to share their experiences and collaborate. Our students reported, in surveys and exit interviews, that they have developed fruitful conversations and collaborations with individuals they wouldn’t have met otherwise and expressed pleasant surprise about how useful and actionable the ideas were from peers outside their own sector or domain.
2) All learning should be immediately applicable.
Our program emphasises practical learning that you can use in your work, now. Our faculty members introduce theory-driven and evidence-based concepts, tools, frameworks, and examples in ways that help you apply what you’re doing online into your real life.
Students who participate in this program don’t write papers or memos. We challenge students to submit work that advances their learning and their initiatives. The assigned tools are intended to help students articulate their vision, spur discussion among collaborators, and surface tensions and points of convergence within their teams.
3) Executive Education should be accessible, effective, and affordable for people who want to improve the world.
Many students and alumni of our program are scaling mission-driven organizations, introducing new initiatives to grow the social impact of for-profit companies, launching projects from scratch to transform communities, or making career transitions into the social impact sector. They are also moms, dads, bosses, teachers, volunteers, advocates, and neighbors.
Needless to say, they are busy individuals. Our combination of in-person and online experiences are convenient and accessible to anyone in the world with access to internet. We strive to keep our tuition cost as low as possible without sacrificing the educational integrity of the program.
Despite the low cost, students receive individualized feedback on assignments. The teaching team, who are composed of people with education and experience in the social impact space, challenges Executive Program participants to think about the feasibility of their goals, to go big, and to make it happen.
4) Learning is a partnership.
We view ourselves as learning partners for our students, working alongside them to challenge them, provide feedback, and help grow their impact over eight months. Our Penn faculty and seasoned entrepreneurs teach eight courses offered in the program in relevant topics such as Strategic Impact, Business Models, Governance, Impact Management, Community and Collaboration, Nonprofit Fundraising, Social Media Strategies, and Marketing.
Our teaching team provides one-on-one sessions to provide a sounding board for new ideas and to give critical feedback. Students also connect with one another and establish unique collaborations.
We also challenge our students to recognize the genius of everyone in the room. Students who get the most out of this program seek out and help share with the community the expertise of every individual in their cohort. Our students consistently persist through the program, and get a lot out of it, when they understand and embody the principle that social impact can not be done alone. We expect students to increase their collaborative energies in service of their own learning and think through new ways to co-learn and co-produce with their beneficiaries at home.
5) Learning is a journey.
Our students are working on problems that cannot be solved overnight, nor alone. During the eight-month program, students gain customized access to our online courses, tools, and training from top faculty. They also become part of a life-long global support network of change agents working hard for the people and problems they care about. Outside of the formal classroom, our students are sharing resources, making introductions, and supporting each other along what we hope will be a life-long journey of making impact.
We’ve designed the program to give you time and structure to really think about your own professional and personal goals and what you need most to help you to be better, happier, and more impactful in all that you do.
The Early Bird application deadline is September 30, 2016. Apply today!
Written by: Cosmo Fujiyama; Edited by: Ariel Schwartz, Ashton Yount, & Lindsay Litowitz; Photography by: Emmanuel Afolabi, Eva Cruz, Kaveh Sadeghian, & Michael Marfione