10.25.2008

Whartonites Solving the World's Problems, Profitably

I formulated my philosophy on business and social impact during my
undergraduate years at Wharton, when the place wasn't the greatest for
such musings. Yale had a good non-profit management program, you went
to Babson for entrepreneurship, but Wharton was for making CEOs and
CFOs. I pressed on, and was happy to see more of this over time;
there's even multiple "Whartonites for the Public Interest" groups
that have sprung up, and the Philadelphia chapter that I'm a part of
is full of really sharp and really good-hearted alumni.

But I guess I feel like this line of thinking has officially arrived
with this audacious article in the Wharton Alumni Magazine: "How
Business is the Best Chance for Solving the World's Problems." [No
link yet, but maybe they'll eventually archive it.] The best and
brightest have come to realize that corporate responsibility is
non-negotiable, the profit motivation is the best mobilizer of ideas
and resources to solve the world's deepest needs, and environmental
sustainability is just another element of building long-term
shareholder value.

This fall a "Wharton Institute for Social Impact" is officially
launching; at least a half-dozen clubs already exist that intersect
with this intersection of business and social responsibility. And
next month, the campus hosts Net Impact's North America Conference.
Let's hope my alma mater is just as prolific a factory for CEOs and
CFOs; but that these future leaders are imbued with an ability to see
how fundamentally intertwined doing well and doing good really are.

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