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New data revealed as 2019 Social Innovation Fellow awards announced

STANFORD, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–An increasing number of Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB)
students are focusing on social impact and innovation courses as part of
their educational experience, the school announced today.

This year, more than 90% of the 488 Stanford GSB MBA and MSx students
took a course related to social innovation or social impact: 95% of the
MBA Class of 2019 and 81% of the MSx Class of 2019.

The average number of MBA and MSx students earning the Certificate in
Public Management and Social Innovation from 1990-1999 was 35, while
from 2010-2019, it exploded to 114, a 225% increase. In this year’s
graduating class, 118 students are on track to receive the certificate,
out of approximately 488 students. For contrast, In 1971, the first year
the public management certificate was offered, only two students
received the credential.

Additionally, MBA student interest in pursuing social entrepreneurship
is also on the rise, with a 6% increase over the past three years: in
years 2017, 2018 and 2019, with interest rising from 12% to 13% and 18%,

Stanford GSB’s approach to educating socially conscious leaders has
evolved since 1971, when the school established one of the country’s
first programs focused on the interaction between business and society.
At that time, the Public Management Program, as it was called, had a
simple mandate: 40 spaces were reserved for applicants who wanted to go
into public service. In 1987, the school experienced an upswing in
student interest. By the mid-1990s, students were defining social impact
more broadly, including social entrepreneurship, nonprofit management,
and public policy, along with domain specializations like education,
environment, or health care. The GSB’s Center for Social Innovation
(CSI) was founded in 1999 to guide students interested in pursuing
career paths and ventures with a social impact.

“I see two trends in the activities at CSI, and more generally at the
GSB: The first, and one that deserves great celebration, is the
remarkable number of our students and young alums who are dedicated to
social impact, and to seeking purpose and mission along with
professional success,” Jonathan Levin, the Philip H. Knight Professor
and Dean of Stanford Graduate School of Business, told the students at
the celebration. “The second theme I want to celebrate is students’
collective dedication to addressing big issues. Their willingness to ask
challenging questions about the world, and even about the GSB, is
fundamental to bringing about change in organizations. And I think this
willingness — in a leading business school! — is also to be celebrated.”

The annual awards recognize a select group of students for their
outstanding contribution to the Stanford GSB social innovation
community. A $110,000 Social Innovation Fellowship was awarded to two of
the students: This year’s recipients of the Fellowship, Karin
and Christina Guilbeau, will each receive the
financial stipend upon graduation to be disbursed throughout the
following year as they work with Stanford GSB’s CSI to advance their
business models and build their nonprofit organizations. Both Underwood
and Guilbeau are pursuing technology ventures related to individual
health and mental wellness services for underserved communities.

“What we are seeing is a generation of students who expect meaning and
purpose from their work, are questioning the system, and don’t shy away
from big problems,” says Bernadette Clavier, the CSI Executive Director.
“I look forward to witnessing the impact the Class of 2019 will have on
some of the world’s thorniest issues.”

Underwood, MBA ’19, is building CoachMe, a peer health coaching service
that provides behavior change support for low-income mothers with
Medicaid who are suffering from chronic heart disease. CoachMe connects
clients to culturally sensitive peer coaches who lead clients through a
six-month, evidence-based healthy habits program. The service also has
an app to provide ongoing support, advice, and accountability.

Her background
in building health products, including FDA-approved mobile apps and
scaling up health services to hundreds of thousands of users in Kenya
and Myanmar, prepares her for this work.

Guilbeau, also MBA ’19, aims to extend the reach of mental health
therapists to low-income adolescents who currently lack access.
Counselor Connect will connect adolescents in need of mental health
assistance with high-quality and reliable one-on-one counseling.
Counselor Connect will use video-based counseling, partner with schools
and community programs, and engage supervised graduate student
counselors who are earning required practicum hours in psychology,
psychiatry, social work, and marriage and family counseling.

Guilbeau majored in psychology as an undergraduate, served in the
classroom with Teach for America, cultivated analytical expertise
working as a consultant, and has tutored and mentored low-income youth,
cementing her commitment to this issue.

The merit-based Social Innovation Fellowships are awarded by two
separate five-member independent judge panels, which include experienced
social entrepreneurs, social impact funders, and experts in the field.
To be considered, the applicant’s venture must have a clearly defined
mission, address a significant market failure and/or meet the needs of
underserved populations, and have a robust business model and strong
potential for impact.

The Miller Social Change Leadership Award honors the social change
leaders of the future — graduating MBA and MSx students who have made an
outstanding contribution to the GSB Social Innovation community and
commitments to social and environmental action. MBA2 and MSx students
who will earn a Certificate in Public Management and Social Innovation
are eligible for the award. Students are nominated by the GSB student
body and faculty and are selected on the strength of:

  • Leadership and contributions to the GSB community of social and
    environmental innovators
  • Focus on social innovation through academic coursework and practical
    application through experiential learning opportunities

The 10 students who received the 2019 Miller Social Change Leadership

  • Abiodun Buari
  • Judy Dunbar
  • Kathryn Geskermann
  • Christina Guilbeau
  • Matias Lanus
  • Julia Osterman
  • Jackie Rotman
  • Valerie Shen
  • Karin Underwood
  • Kate Wharton

In February, the CSI also awarded the Frances and Arjay Miller Prize in
Social Innovation to Kate Wharton and David Osayande. The
prize supports one or more students graduating with a Certificate in
Public Management and Social Innovation who are choosing social impact
career paths, and aims to alleviate some of the financial hardship that
can be associated with taking on a career tackling social and
environmental challenges.

Prize winners each receive $20,000, awarded for their commitment to
building a more just, sustainable, and prosperous world in the next
chapter of their careers.

About Stanford Graduate School of Business

Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) is developing the next
generation of principled global leaders. Since 1925 we’ve been
delivering rigorous and experiential management education combined with
personal development and leadership that has the power to change both
careers and lives. Our faculty are empowered to design and discover
original research that pushes the boundaries of knowledge. Our diverse
programs include: the 2-year MBA program; 1-year Master of Science
program for experienced leaders (MSx); PhD program; Executive Education;
Stanford LEAD, an online certificate program; and Stanford Seed, a
Stanford GSB-led initiative that partners with entrepreneurs in emerging
markets to build thriving enterprises that transform lives.


Heather Hansen
[email protected]