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MBA students addressing poverty through GNAM educational partnership

16 March 2015

From 16 to 20 March 2015, HEC Paris hosted 26 MBA students from the Global Network for Advanced Management (GNAM) participating during the Global Network Week (#GNW2015). Combining classes and company visits, the participants benefitted from the expertise of HEC Paris Inclusive and Social Business faculty members.

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GNAM’s primary aim is to develop innovative projects in the field of global business studies. This MBA and academic cooperation platform, established by the YALE School of Management with founding members INSEAD and NUS Business School, counts 25 leading institutions on 5 continents.

Global Network Week gives MBA students and faculty the opportunity to pursue intensive study at another network school, in a focused short course that leverages the perspectives, programs, and faculty expertise of that school. Alongside their counterparts from elsewhere in the network, students attend classes, tour local businesses, and meet with experts focused on current business problems.

HEC Paris is one of 18 GNAM member schools participating in the Global Network Week 2015. The HEC Paris module on ‘Inclusive and Social Business’ critically investigates the set of reasons that prompt firms to contribute to poverty alleviation, and analyzes the innovative inclusive and social business models that they develop. It explores how firms transform themselves when seeking to become more inclusive.

The program was taught by a cross-disciplinary team of HEC professors, including Frédéric Dalsace (Marketing Department, Social Business/Enterprise and Poverty Chair Holder) and Florian Hoos (Department of Accounting and Management Control, specializing in social entrepreneurship) amongst others.  Consultants and social entrepreneurs such as David Ménascé – Azao’s General Manager – were also involved.

The Inclusive and Social Business elective is organized as a workshop. Poverty remains a strong reality in the developing world – even in countries with high growth rates – and is on the rise in many developed countries.  While philanthropic action, public authorities, and international institutions have shown their limits in the fight against poverty, firms are increasingly contributing by developing innovative market-based solutions.

More fundamentally, this module also challenges participants to question their roles as managers and future executives. Alongside the course, the students will visit companies such as Veolia and Emmaüs Défi. At HEC Paris, the Inclusive and Social Business module is part of the Social Business/Enterprise and Poverty Chair sponsored by Danone, Schneider Electric and Renault. The Chair has helped create an independent ‘action tank’ which collaborates with a dozen multinational firms to develop inclusive and social businesses.

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