A team of MBA students and alumni is organizing a new social impact challenge designed to give students a crash course in corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the tech industry.
The first annual Social Impact in Tech Design Challenge, co-hosted by the Haas Tech club and Net Impact club, will be held virtually April 1.
Students interested in signing up for the three-hour challenge will receive an introduction to the history, theory, and practice of corporate social responsibility in tech, network with professionals in the field, and design a CSR program for one of the tech companies participating in the challenge.
Challenge organizers include Joseph Zhang, Shotaro Ishizuka, Nicole Austin-Thomas, all MBA 21; Neha Dutta, Melody Liao, Stu Fram, all MBA 22; Scott Blons, EWMBA 23; and Adam Rosenzweig, EMBA 19, a Haas lecturer teaching Introduction to the Case Method and Red Teaming in both the EMBA and Full-time MBA programs.
The challenge came about after club leaders from the Tech and Net Impact clubs–Michelle Poon, Priscilla Luu, and Joseph Zhang, all MBA 21–met with Adam Rosenzweig who spoke about his social impact work at Okta during a Haas career night.
After meeting for several weeks, the group decided to organize a social impact challenge that would focus on the intersection of tech and corporate social responsibility–two of Haas’ strengths.
“Every company is becoming a tech company,” said Rosenzweig. “And Haas students go on to lead companies that aspire to make the world a better place.”
Participants will explore the relationship between businesses and their communities and the ways in which business leaders can create positive social impact that’s aligned with their company’s core strategy.
Joseph Zhang said he hopes students will learn that CSR is a vital and growing career field and that it must be “ingrained within the DNA of an organization if the organization truly wants to be successful.”
Zhang, who previously worked for educational nonprofit iMentor, said the most meaningful corporate partners he worked with weren’t just “check-writers or one-time volunteers, but the companies that pulled resources from across the organization to impact their communities.”
Rosenzweig, a senior manager for product impact at Okta, will facilitate the event and serve as a guest judge. Other judges for the challenge include Cory Boatwright, EMBA 21, head of military and veteran programs at LinkedIn; Lisa Boyd, director of social impact at Lyft; Christina Louie Dyer, head of social impact at Lob; Nora Silver and Cristy Johnston Límon from the Center for Social Sector Leadership at Haas.
If the challenge is a success, Rosenzweig said he hopes it will demonstrate demand to pilot a credit-bearing elective course, adding to the broad list of course offerings dedicated to social impact and sustainability.
About 30 students have registered for the event, which is nearly at capacity, but current students can still register for the Social Impact in Tech Design Challenge here.