University of Southern California

Courses

Society Business Lab Courses

Many courses at the Marshall School of Business include cases on corporate social responsibility, sustainability, and business ethics.  The following classes specifically target those topics.

Graduate:  
BAEP 564 Investing in Impact Ventures Graduate Certificate in Sustainability and Business
BAEP 591 Social Entrepreneurship
MOR 566 Environmental Sustainability and Competitive Advantage

Master of Science in Social Entrepreneurship

Undergraduate:  
BAEP 499 Social Innovation Design Lab
BAEP 491 Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship
BAEP 460 Global Entrepreneurship
BUCO 425 The Ethical Practice of Business as a Profession
BUCO 485 Business Communication Management for Nonprofits
BUAD 498 Business Field Experience
MOR 499 Business and Environmental Sustainability

Undergraduate Minor in Social Entrepreneurship

Social Entrepreneurship Abby Fifer Mandell
Abby Fifer Mandell,
Executive Director
Social Entrepreneurship Minor Video


BAEP 591: Social Entrepreneurship
Prof. Adlai Wertman

Course Description: As traditional resources to address critical social, environmental and health-related issues dwindle, the world is turning toward 'business models' as the solution. Social enterprises are entities - both private and non-profit - that are created and managed to achieve a mission.

This class will focus on the various 'social enterprise' models that are being analyzed, from micro-finance to job development. We will also learn about the social entrepreneurs who are creating these new models. As we delineate the differences between various definitions of 'social enterprise,' we will delve into some basic issues regarding the difference between socially responsible companies, for-profit and non-profit-run enterprises.

The course will be a combination of lecture and case studies in order to bring real-life examples into the classroom. Guest speakers will share their own experiences and challenges and, depending on class size, field trips will be included. The final project will be an interview with a social entrepreneur. Expect a lively and engaging conversation as we learn the true challenges and potential solutions to critical global needs.

Spring 2012 BAEP 591 Design Thinking for the Base of the Pyramid Exercise  

MOR 566: Environmental Sustainability and Competitive Advantage
Prof. Paul Adler

Course Description: Key environmental sustainability challenges and opportunities for business. The interaction of environmental, political, economic and social forces shaping the strategy and conduct of business.

This course explores four broad sets of questions: (1) What is sustainability? Why should we care? How sustainable is our current path of economic development? How urgent is the challenge?
(2) What are the forces driving change in business conduct? How is business affected by finite resources? social movements? government regulation? institutional factors?
(3) Under the pressure of these forces, what new strategies and practices can firms adopt — in operations, technologies, product design, marketing, and non-market activities?
(4) Will these changes in business conduct suffice? What will it take for us to meet the challenge of sustainability? How do we navigate the competing perspectives on the political-economy of sustainability?

BAEP 491: Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship
Prof. Adlai Wertman

As traditional resources to address critical social, environmental and health-related issues dwindle, the world is turning toward 'business models' as the solution. Social enterprises are entities - both private and non-profit - that are created and managed to achieve a mission.

This class will cover:

  • Micro-finance
  • Cause-related marketing
  • Mission vs. profit
  • Socially responsible business practices
  • Social entrepreneurs

The course will be a combination of lecture and case studies, and will feature prominent guest speakers. The final project will be an interview with a social entrepreneur. Expect a lively and engaging conversation as we learn the true challenges and potential solutions to critical global needs.

BAEP 460: Global Entrepreneurship
Part Time Lecturer Jessica Jackley

Course Description:  Entrepreneurship is a powerful force for change, producing significant value on many levels - from basic job creation to the origination of new technologies and innovations to the establishment of lasting institutions.  This is true whether ventures are for-profit or non-profit, or whether they exist in a developed country or a developing country.

This course profiles visionary entrepreneurs and the companies they have launched in countries across the globe.  Their stories, and the stories of the organizations they have started, provide students with an opportunity to become familiar with the most crucial themes and elements that have led to success for entrepreneurial ventures in key regions around the world.

Students will examine the stages of development of any entrepreneurial venture, and explore the unique adjustments, exceptions, challenges, and opportunities that exist in each of these stages across cultures and country boundaries.  In doing so, students will leave the course with a greater understanding of what it takes for entrepreneurial ventures to thrive in countries around the globe.

The course is organized around the series of stages any new venture will encounter, including identifying potential business opportunities; evaluating the viability of opportunities; launching a new venture; managing and growing the venture; facing common transitions and challenges of growing ventures; and strategies for capturing value and exiting.  Class will include lectures, case studies, and guest speakers.  The final project will be an in-depth evaluation of an entrepreneurial opportunity in a country outside of the US.

BUCO 425: The Ethical Practice of Business as a Profession
Prof. Steve Byars

Course Description: BUCO 425 addresses the intersection of business leadership, language, and ethics. Its intent is to demonstrate that conducting business in an ethical fashion is certainly doable and permits one to take pride in being successful at the same time that one treats others with courtesy, dignity, and respect. It's not only possible to do well at the same time that one does good, but this practice also allows one to engage in a career centered on deep satisfaction.

BUCO 485: Business Communication Management for Nonprofits
Prof. Lucy V. Lee

Course Description: Nonprofit organizations - in areas such as health and social services, education, the arts, and philanthropy - are an increasingly significant part of the business landscape. While some nonprofits seek to better our world on a global scale, many others provide essential services that nurture the vitality of our communities. You may one day choose to start a new nonprofit, or may lead an existing one. But even those USC graduates who remain squarely in the for-profit world will likely be expected to work in partnership with nonprofits at some point in their careers.

In BUCO 485, you'll explore the management communication issues and challenges that nonprofit managers face. What communication tools are used in conducting fund-raising and visibility campaigns, working with a board of directors, attracting and retaining volunteers, writing grants and reporting on program outcomes, and demonstrating accountability to variety of public constituencies? How do these different communication strategies contribute to a nonprofit organization's success?

Your professional communication skills will be put to work in researching, analyzing, writing, and speaking about issues important to the nonprofit business sector and the missions of individual organizations. You'll also hear from a variety of guest speakers with expertise in grant writing, government and media relations, and other aspects of strategic communication. A collaborative team project will focus on developing a comprehensive communication plan for a nonprofit organization.

BUAD 498: Business Field Experience
Prof. Steve Byars

Course Description: BUAD 498 Business Field Experience permits qualified students to earn one or two units of credit per semester (up to a maximum of three) for the business consulting that they provide to selected for- and non-profit clients in the neighborhoods surrounding campus.  This course constitutes one avenue through which the Marshall School of Business supplies pro-bono community outreach.

The class has twin goals—that of providing good service in the community and simultaneously providing a genuine educational experience to participating students who are interested in learning the basics of business consulting.  To this end, students are formed into small teams (typically four-six), and, with the assistance and support of faculty members and volunteer professional mentors, assigned to work with individual clients in order to make these small businesses and non-profits as efficient and sustainable as possible.

MOR 499: Business and Environmental Sustainability
Prof. Paul Adler

Course Description: Few issues are more urgent for contemporary management than business's impact on the natural environment. In addition to longstanding concerns about the exhaustion of global resources, degradation of the environment, loss of biodiversity, and the effects on human biology, recent evidence suggests that climate change is a growing and urgent problem that must be addressed in the near terms to avoid long-term disastrous impacts for human life of this planet.

As environmental issues intensify, we all – both as citizens and as future managers – must develop a better understanding of the related economic, social, political, and regulatory forces, and of how these forces are reshaping the context and conduct of business. Under the pressure of these forces, some firms are developing more sustainable business practices and products, and the result is change in the structures and processes of production and in the nature of competition across a wide variety of industries. Debate continues on whether these changes will suffice to meet the sustainability challenge. And this debate is important but difficult: different stakeholders often have divergent interests, and competing perspectives and values lead to conflicting policy recommendations.

The main issues explored in this course are:

  • What are the forces driving change in business's environmental conduct and what effects are these driving forces having on a firm's strategic options?
  • Under the pressure of these forces, what new strategies and practices can firms adopt – in operations, technologies, product design, marketing, and non-market activities?
  • Will these changes in business conduct suffice? What will it take for us to meet the challenge of sustainability?