Learning More about the Center for Social Value Creation

Meet Kirsten Craft, Program Manager at the Center for Social Value Creation (CSVC) and Smith MBA alum!  The Center, founded in 2009 in response to student demand, aims to educate, engage and empower Smith students to create a better world through business principles.  Kirsten joined CSVC in 2016 and has been working to develop and manage experiential learning opportunities ever since.

We sat down with Kirsten last week to learn more about the opportunities available to our Part Time MBA students through CSVC…

Describe the Center in 3 words:
Student-centric
Mission-oriented
Experiential

What is Change the World Consulting?
Change the World Consulting is a co-curricular experiential program offered by CSVC that connects Smith students with nonprofits in the DC-Baltimore area. Change the World supports between 12-15 projects every semester, and enables students to take the skills they learn in the classroom and apply them in a real world setting to benefit the nonprofit community. It’s an excellent way for students to explore the field of consulting and add a new dimension to their resume. Student consultants also engage with professionals from Accenture and Deloitte, who serve as program mentors. At the end of the semester each student team presents their work at the Change the World Showcase and gets feedback from their clients and peers.

As you know, the Social Enterprise Symposium just happened.  What was a highlight from that event?
Giving the first ever Leadership for Better Business Award to Smith Alumnus, Robert Kashan. Robert received the award due to his leadership in advancing economic, social and environmental prosperity through his company, Earth Color. He’s been with CSVC since day one as an advocate and also serves on the Board. It was a great opportunity to be able to thank him and recognize his achievement in creating a better world through business. 

Tell me more about the CSVC Advisory Board.
The Advisory Board is a cohort of alumni who have remained active with CSVC. They offer advice and guidance on the Center’s strategic direction, and help keep us connected to industry. They are all champions for social value, but come at it from different angles, which is really interesting and helpful.

What makes the CSVC unique in the Social Value space?
In my opinion, the offered programming and initiatives are more diverse. The CSVC focuses on more than just the non-profit and social entrepreneurship space.

Can you recommend any classes for our Part Time MBA students?
Yes! Julie Neill, Career Coach at the Shady Grove campus, will be teaching a new course this summer centered on developing a Purpose-driven career (BUMO758Z), and Cary Krosinsky will be teaching a course on Corporate and Investment Sustainability Strategy (BUMO758X). Some other popular classes include Professor Jim Sanders’ course on Social Entrepreneurship, and Rob Sheehan’s Strategic Nonprofit Management course. Students can also check out the courses listed on the CSVC website for more options.  **Please note that semester classes are subject to change

Are there any new upcoming initiatives coming to the CSVC that Smith students should keep an eye out for?
There are. Earlier this year we introduced our principles for better business and throughout the coming academic year we plan to expand upon this framework. The principles are our effort to ground the concept of social value creation in a digestible and actionable way, and to offer students a framework that can be applied throughout their careers. We’re in the early stages of building out a suite of programming that includes lecture series, skills workshops, teaching modules, courses and more. We’re also planning to pilot a sustainability practicum through Change the World this coming Fall semester. The practicum will connect student teams with for-profit businesses to assess real-world sustainability strategies. And, in mid-September we’ll be hosting an executive from a major international brand (to be announced soon!) who will give a presentation on inclusive prosperity and sustainability. We will be announcing the event this summer so please keep an eye out for that!

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