The best in class

Author: Jeremy Caplan

Business-school rankings often address how much graduates earn. But two nonprofits, the World Resources Institute and the Aspen Institute, assess M.B.A. programs by their commitment to social responsibility instead. Here are some of the progressive schools that ranked highest this year. See for the full list.

• STANFORD UNIVERSITY The survey's top-rated school offers 30 elective courses on topics like environmental sustainability and ethics, and integrates those subjects into the core curriculum. "Social responsibility is increasingly a concern for corporations, and understanding that is important for M.B.A. students," says Professor John McMillan, who teaches a course on international development. The school's Center for Social Innovation seeks solutions to social problems and publishes the Stanford Social Innovation Review, about philanthropy and nonprofits.

• UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN Incoming M.B.A. students take a two-week leadership course that includes a community-service project and continue taking courses incorporating social responsibility throughout their tenure. Like the students, Michigan's faculty spends a great deal of time focused on social problems. Renowned professor C.K. Prahalad, for instance, recently penned The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, detailing how the private sector can both profit and do society good by building businesses that serve poor consumers.

UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME Seven of the nine required courses in the M.B.A. program address the social impact of business practices, and another class centers on ethics. Thirty faculty members are pursuing research on environmental and social impacts and ethics, and students start volunteering with nonprofits as soon as they arrive on campus.

• UNIVERSITY OF NAVARRA This school in Spain was one of 12 international institutions that finished among the top 30 programs in the survey. Navarra, which also aced the Economist's business-school rankings, this year was host to the first International Social Entrepreneurship Conference.

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