This post is part of the Spotlight on Specializations series, where we explore some of the rewarding and interesting areas of study offered in the Schulich I/MBA. Connecting with students and faculty, the series will shed light on how specializing can provide you with exciting career and learning opportunities.

Geoff Kistruck


Associate Professor
Ron Binns Chair in Entrepreneurship; Director Social Sector Management Program
Schulich School of Business | York University

Q1. Why should I consider a specialization in Social Innovation & Impact?

Our specialization provides students with the opportunity to match their passion for social change with their career ambitions. Traditionally, social problems such as mental health, global poverty or civil rights were thought to fall solely under the purview of governments and charitable organizations. However, the new millennium has seen the rise of social enterprises, impact investors, and social entrepreneurs who are using the tools of business and markets to effectively tackle such issues. This shift has created a number of unique opportunities for MBA graduates trained to manage and lead organizations that holistically combine profit with purpose.

Q2. How do the courses offered prepare me to be successful in this industry?

While traditional disciplinary skills (e.g. strategy, finance, marketing) form a strong foundation for a career in social innovation, the simultaneous pursuit of money with mission requires expanding upon this conventional toolkit. For instance, managing newly create governance structures (e.g. Low-Profit Limited Liability Companies, Community Interest Companies, and Benefit Corporations) requires a detailed understanding of hybrid business models and associated leadership strategies. Similarly, new financial vehicles incorporating social objectives (e.g. Social Impact Bonds, ESG Mutual Funds, Social Crowdfunding) creates the need for specialized skills with regards to measuring and communicating social impact. Our suite of elective courses not only provide the necessary academic content to develop these skills, but also the direct interaction with distinguished alumni, expert speakers, and project partners to truly build expertise and networks within the industry.

3. What type of careers are available to me with this specialization?

There are several options to develop a career within social innovation. Students may choose to gain employment with a host of social enterprises (locally or globally) that are actively working to create social impact in a financially sustainable manner. Students may also elect to join a rapidly expanding group of ‘support’ organizations that provide consulting, investment, and other ancillary services to aid social enterprises in the pursuit of their mission. Alternatively, our graduates can decide to become ‘social entrepreneurs’ by designing and launching new products and services that deliver significant social value. Our student association affiliate (Social Impact Management Association) engages in a number of events and activities throughout the year to give students exposure to these different career paths.


Hear what students have to say about SOCM: