New BYU Marriott Course Leads the Way in CSR

PROVO, Utah – Oct 24, 2018 – In a world where change is the only constant, adaptation is essential for survival. In the business world, for example, many organizations are discovering that creating corporate social responsibility programs is necessary due to customer demands and competitive pressure. While introducing these programs may sound trivial to some, the reality is that corporate social responsibility may now play a major role in a corporation’s image and value.

To prepare students for this current business need, the BYU Marriott School of Business has developed a new course with the help of the Ballard Center for Economic Self-Reliance. The class—Marriott School of Business 491R, Corporate Social Impact—provides students with instruction on how to design and propose corporate social impact programs.

“Students today will take part in a major transition in the corporate world,” says Brent Goddard, who teaches the course. “Virtually all major corporations are implementing or augmenting corporate social responsibility programs. Unfortunately, few university courses in the country prepare students to contribute to corporate social impact. BYU Marriott is leading the way in this important area of study.”

In the course, students learn valuable principles regarding social and humanitarian innovation to help them develop proposals in support of specific causes. These proposals are based on a corporate social impact model that teaches step-by-step methodology to develop and integrate social responsibility programs. Classes include training on the model, case study discussions of real world examples, and various lectures by guest speakers from the corporate and nonprofit sectors.

While the curriculum is specifically designed to prepare students to participate in social progress efforts, the course also plays an important role in broadening vision. When Juan Camargo, a senior from Bucaramanga, Colombia, studying economics, enrolled in the class, he discovered that creating social good is not simply about having time or money.

“We sometimes see solving social problems as something that only certain people are called to do,” Camargo says. “Students generally feel there are two ways to solve social problems: either you dedicate your time to going to developing nations, or you become rich and donate funds to solve social problems. This course has allowed me to recognize the point in between, where private industries combine with governments, communities, and other organizations to make sustainable changes across the globe.”

In addition to Camargo, other BYU students have found the course valuable in preparing them to enter the corporate world. Troy Looper, a senior from Pelzer, South Carolina, studying sociology, explained that the class teaches students how to have a real impact on the world.

“Being passionate about making a difference isn't enough,” Looper says. “Telling a company they should support a new program because it's a good thing to do won't convince anyone. However, this course equips students with the substance needed to understand how to make a difference and how to get companies on board to create that change.”

For Camargo and Looper, the course has been a great resource in enabling them to meet their goals and aspirations. Both students indicated that the class is a significant addition to other Ballard Center aids, such as internships, events, and competitions.

As with these other Ballard Center resources, the entire purpose of the course is to assist students in doing good better. Goddard emphasized that the Ballard Center has an unmatched academic program for social innovation and entrepreneurship, thus helping individuals make a notable impact. He also stated the even bigger vision of the new course.

“The hope is that some of the proposals will be adopted by the target corporations or even that the students will be hired to implement their proposals,” Goddard says. “But at the very least, students will be prepared to participate in social progress.”

CSI Course
A new BYU Marriott course—Marriott School of Business 491R, Corporate Social Impact—provides students with instruction on how to design and propose corporate social impact programs.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Brendan Gwynn