Social Impact Renaissance?

Unlike the U.S. News & World Report’s annual college rankings, for the fourth-consecutive year the Washington Monthly chose in the No. 1 spot for UC San Diego (85% graduation rate and half of students receive Pell grants). Atypically, Yale, in third place on U.S. News’ list, came as 54th on Washington Monthly’s. The Monthly rates colleges on metrics that include the public good category, specifically social mobility (low-income students), research (scholarship and PhDs) and service (giving back).

“If these rankings seem strange, notices J. M. Crotty, this is because the well-intentioned folks at the Washington Monthly do not want parents, teachers, counselors, administrators, and students to focus on those time-honored criteria — such as graduation and retention rates, student selectivity, acceptance rates, standardized test scores, class rankings of incoming students, and student/faculty ratio — that we have come to accept as reliable metrics of collegiate quality.”

The Monthly states that there is sort of a renaissance happening in public service work sector but Crotty disagrees: ” Their Ivy League graduate is likely joining the Peace Corps because decent-paying private sector jobs have disappeared, and, until recently — when budget-cutting fever took hold of the nation — only public sector work remained plentiful. Mark my words: that Ivy League grad and millions of other intellectually ambitious grads (whatever their alma mater) will jump the public sector ship as soon as decent-paying private sector jobs return.”

While I agree that the above is likely, I do believe these new metrics to rate business schools could potentially result in some legitimacy for work done in the public sector where there has been none to date.  Business school graduates have seen the public sector as incompetent at best and parasitical at worst – make work with little value addition, questionable efficiency and no accountability.

The resultant conclusions?  One, that it will not be worth their while.  Two, their contribution will not make a difference.  Hopefully when business students parlay their skills to work in the public sector and create a social impact they will experience “aha” moments and change their minds.  They will recognise that they could play a monumental role in bringing a shift change improving operational efficiencies, creating metrics to manage better and bringing new and innovative solutions, both technology based and otherwise.  They will also recognise that compensation can be about much more than money.

At MCIS we have first- hand experience of this, hiring graduates from the Rotman School of Management who come to us after their first year MBA for an internship that is co-sponsored by the school.  They often end their internship on a positive note and refer their cohorts to us.  They sell our agency to them better than we ever could!  We commend Rotman for leading the charge, among business schools in Canada and for making a difference through this Community Experience Initiative, since 2006.



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