Even with the growing presence of corporate social responsibility in the business world and socially responsible investing in the finance world, these are still relatively small issues and niche markets. Business schools, however, are taking the lead and presenting their students with lots of opportunities to explore these emerging fields through classes, specializations, and extra-curriculars. Now comes word that the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley is starting a student-managed SRI fund. Currently there is $250,00 in the fund and investments will begin when $500,00 has been raised, although the goal is to get to $1 million as soon as possible in order to “produce better data on [their] investment criteria and [their] effectiveness.”
Although there is a limited number of MBAs who will be able to participate initially, this fund is exciting for two reasons:
1) It is intended to provide the necessary data to understand the positives and negatives related to SRI strategies, which is difficult to do in classroom settings.
2) Even those who don’t take courses on social responsibility will be participating in the fund. The effect may be minimal, but it is always good to expose those prone to traditional methods of investing to the ideas of SRI.
For those still considering getting an MBA related to SRI or CSR, a couple of good resources are Beyond Grey Pinstripes and Business as UNusual from Net Impact.