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First-Year Required Curriculum (RC)

During the first year at Harvard Business School, all students pursue the same course of study: the Required Curriculum. By studying under a common curriculum, students build a solid, broad foundation of general management concepts and skills across key disciplines. The Required Curriculum incorporates social enterprise cases and topics in several courses ranging from finance to entrepreneurship. As a result, all students learn about social enterprise related topics and considerations from various functional perspectives.

Leadership & Corporate Accountability (LCA)

In this course, students learn about the complex responsibilities facing business leaders today. Through cases about difficult managerial decisions, the course examines the legal, ethical, and economic responsibilities of corporate leaders. It also teaches students about management and governance systems leaders can use to promote responsible conduct by companies and their employees, and shows how personal values can play a critical role in effective leadership.

Social Purpose of the Firm (SPF)

SPF is a short module designed to explore how, and under what circumstances, private firms can help address some of society’s greatest challenges. Each of the five cases describes a set of leaders trying to “make a difference in the world” – that is, to harness the resources of the firm to tackle massive problems such as climate change, poverty, or economic development. Together, the cases are thus designed to help students think about what it actually means to make a difference, and what it takes. How do would-be leaders identify the problems or challenges they wish to tackle? What enables them to craft solutions that other individuals or organizations have missed? Under what circumstances are private firms a reasonable solution to society’s problems? And when should they cede this role to other players instead?

Second-Year Elective Curriculum (EC)

In their second (EC) year, students choose from a range of Social Enterprise elective courses, enabling the integration of the frameworks and functional skills learned in the first year into an understanding of the organization as a total enterprise. In order to design a tailored curriculum to meet their academic goals students may take any combination of courses; pursue field-based independent projects; integrate social enterprise topics through required papers or projects in other courses; and cross-register for courses in other select graduate programs.

Social Enterprise Courses, 2024-25

Business at the Base of the Pyramid

(Fall Q1Q2; Spring Q3Q4) Associate Professor Benjamin N. Roth; Assistant Professor Natalia Rigol

Changing the World: Life Choices of Influential Leaders

(Spring Q3Q4) Professor Robert Simons

Cities, Structures, and Climate Shocks

(Fall Q1Q2) Senior Lecturer John Macomber

Data for Impact: Impact Measurement from Startup to Fortune 500 C-Suite

(Spring Q3Q4) Associate Professor Benjamin N. Roth; Assistant Professor Natalia Rigol


(Fall Q2) Visiting Professor Dustin Tingley

Entrepreneurial Solutions

(Fall Q2) Professor William Sahlman

Field Course: Business of the Arts

(Spring Q3Q4) Professor Rohit Deshpande; Senior Lecturer Henry W. McGee

Field Course: Climate Solutions Lab

(Spring Q3Q4) Senior Lecturer Jim Matheson

Field Course: Investing for Impact

(Spring Q3Q4) Senior Lecturer Archie L. Jones; Senior Lecturer Emily R. McComb; Senior Lecturer Brian Trelstad

Field Course: Scaling Minority Businesses

(Fall Q1Q2) Senior Lecturer Archie Jones; Senior Lecturer Henry McGee

Managing the Future of Work

(Spring Q3Q4) Associate Professor Christopher Stanton

Power and Influence for Positive Impact

(Fall Q1) Professor Julie Battilana; Senior Lecturer Deborah Winshel

Public Entrepreneurship

(Fall Q1Q2) Professor Mitchell Weiss

Reimagining Capitalism: Business and Big Problems

(Fall Q1Q2) Associate Professor Ethan Rouen

Social Entrepreneurship and Systems Change

(Fall Q1Q2) Lecturer Gerald Chertavian; Senior Lecturer Brian Trelstad

Sustainable Investing

(Fall Q2) Senior Lecturer Vikram S. Gandhi

Transforming Education through Social Entrepreneurship

(Fall Q1Q2) Senior Lecturer John J-H Kim


Courses with central/related focus