Social Impact Days at Kellogg is an annual event that takes place before pre-term, bringing together incoming students who are interested in forging impact over the course of their careers. Students gather over the span of three days to hear from influential social impact speakers, learn about Kellogg’s social impact offerings, engage with classmates, faculty and staff, and design innovative solutions to real-world social and environmental challenges. Below, Myah Smith ’18 reflects on her unforgettable Social Impact Days 2016 experience.
When the email went out to register for Social Impact Days 2016, I was oozing excitement.
Social Impact Days was one of the reasons I wanted to attend Kellogg in the first place. I wanted to explore all of the ways to get involved and make an impact in my community, and this event provided the first opportunity of many more to come.
To explain it as simply as possible, Social Impact Days is an opportunity for wickedly smart students of all backgrounds to put on their impact hats and apply their talents to solving some of society’s most challenging issues.
My experience at Social Impact Days was phenomenal to say the least. The participating students were so diverse, coming from different industries, functions and previous experience levels – but all shared the value of making a positive impact in the world.
By Eli Kaberon
Written on the wall of a fifth-floor office in the Jacobs Center is a list of ways Kellogg students and faculty work to create a better society. The office belongs to Megan Kashner ’03, who was hired in January as the school’s director of social impact. From international development to environmental sustainability to civil rights, the ways that future business leaders can address the world’s challenges are endless, and Kashner’s list is just the beginning.
“When we talk about brave leaders who make an impact when they leave Kellogg, we are talking about more than economic impact,” says Kashner. “We know that when leaders bring their values into their career paths, they are positioning themselves to make a difference. Our students and alumni are interested in finding ways they can contribute to their communities and society, and the social impact team is here to support them.”
Because Kellogg believes that business is the dominant social institution of modern society, students view their future careers through a lens of improving sustainability and human outcomes. Kellogg explores social impact areas across the globe, across disciplines and across sectors, and addresses its many facets, including impact investing, education, human and civil rights, international development, social entrepreneurship, and beyond. A focus on impact and outcomes rather than on one particular vehicle or trend keeps the school at the forefront of social impact, where it has been for decades.
By Rogerio Campos
I have always been passionate about social impact and Africa, so when I had the opportunity to spend my summer helping Ugandan farmers improve their lives, I had to take it.
Explaining to my mom what I was going to do in Uganda was difficult:
“Mom, imagine you are a farmer in Uganda. You have no money, you lack credit to purchase seeds, you lack equipment to store the harvest, you don’t have the training to maximize production and you have only one buyer to purchase your grain. The Joseph Initiative — the company I will be working for this summer — helps the farmer with all these challenges!”
I didn’t think she understood, but I left for Uganda where I would spend eight weeks as a consultant, helping the company with a strategic plan, a human resources strategy and an anti-corruption strategy.
I co-founded Kheyti in May 2015 with the vision of helping smallholder farmers overcome poverty using the right combination of technology products and services. We designed a “Greenhouse-in-a-box”: an affordable, modular greenhouse bundled with services that can help farmers earn a steady weekly income.
By February 2016, the results of our fundraising efforts through competitions had been mixed. While we had some success with NU Pitch Night, Wharton India Startup Competition and Kellogg Business Plan Competition, we lost 20 other competitions in the previous six months. Kheyti straddled the fine line between social impact and business, making it too risky for pure business plan competitions and too for-profit for social impact competitions. Our team was seriously considering bootstrapping Khetyi until we gained enough traction to approach social impact investors. So when a classmate suggested that I apply for the CommonBond Social Impact Award, I added “apply to CommonBond” to my to-do list with mixed feelings.
However, when I started reading about the CommonBond Social Impact Award, I discovered that the competition was aligned to our team’s unique perspective. Like Khetyi, CommonBond believed for-profit businesses could be a positive force for change at the local and global levels. Upon learning this, I decided to apply for the competition.
This year I was honored to be one of five students named Kellogg Youn Impact Scholars, and earlier this month we had the incredible opportunity to sit alongside 17 other Youn Impact Scholars and discuss the opportunities and challenges present at the intersection of social impact and business.
Last month, the MMM Innovation Council visited campus for its annual meeting, giving us the unique chance to connect with council members and gain their perspectives on how innovation is shaping today’s business world.
The MMM Innovation Council is a group of business innovation leaders, many of whom are alumni of Kellogg’s MMM Program. The council meets annually to provide feedback to the program and to encourage positive interactions between the design innovation industry and academia. Council members are also closely involved in providing career guidance for MMM students and raising support for the program through means such as Integration Project sponsorships.
During the council’s visit, MMM students had the opportunity to attend a small-group dinner and panel discussion to ask questions about all things innovation.
To prepare for the Kellogg Real Estate Venture Competition (KRECVC), our team, Envoy Physicians, knew that we needed to fully understand the challenges faced by our target tenants: primary care providers. Based on interviews with physicians, we learned that today’s primary care providers are under an extraordinary amount of pressure to squeeze more patients into their daily schedules. Consequently, nearly 50 percent of primary care doctors suffer from burnout, according to research published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. Several complications can result from physician burnout, including chronic exhaustion, depression and anxiety, and many primary care doctors have sought some form of treatment for these issues.