Net Impact’s Annual Guide Reveals Latest Environmental and Social Trends in Graduate Programs

Key findings suggest graduates want programs to do even more to incorporate social and environmental issues.
Jan 3, 2017 11:05 AM ET

Net Impact, the leading nonprofit that mobilizes the next generation to use their careers to make a positive impact on the world, released its 2016 edition of the Guide to Business Schools for Social and Environmental Impact, (previously Business as UNusual). Key findings suggest that social and environmental issues remain a high priority for students who pursue a graduate education and students increasingly want to drive impact from within private or public careers.

First published in 2006, Net Impact’s annual guide is the only publication for students, by students that ranks and highlights graduate schools at the forefront of social and environmental innovation. The guide provides student ratings of their graduate program’s integration of social and environmental themes into curricula, career services, and student activities.

“More than 1,500 graduate students shared their perspectives on their schools in this year’s Guide to Business Schools for Social and Environmental Impact.” says Liz Maw, CEO of Net Impact. “It’s clear that graduates want to leave their programs with the skills and experiences to create social and environmental impact in the workplace and the world.”

Major conclusions from Business Schools for Social and Environmental Impact 2016 include:

  • Social and environmental issues are an increasing priority for graduates. In 2016, 92% of graduates say learning about social and environmental business is a priority, compared to 88% in 2014.
  • Graduate programs are responding to profound student demand for building a sustainable future. While 87% of respondents are satisfied with the focus on social/environmental issues in their program’s curriculum, 63% feel their school could provide more career support for social/environmental issues.
  • A new trend is emerging in the millennial job market; graduates are now looking to make an impact from traditional roles in for-profit organizations. According to the survey, 56% of students are looking for a job at a private or public company where they can drive impact from within. Furthermore, in 2014, 83% of respondents were willing to earn a salary that was 15% lower than they might otherwise make in order to get a job that seeks to make a social/environmental difference, now 67% are willing to earn a lower salary.

“It’s an exciting time in higher education, as we see more innovative opportunities to drive impact from any career path, and we’re proud to be part of this movement of emerging leaders” says Maw.

The Business Schools for Social and Environmental Impact 2016 is available for free here. 


About Net Impact

Net Impact mobilizes the next generation to use their skills and careers to make a positive impact on the world. One hundred thousand strong, with 300 global chapters, our members take on social challenges, protect the environment, and orient businesses and products toward the greater good.