Please click on the electives listed below for a brief description.

Social Entrepreneurship & Sustainable Development


"Social entrepreneurs play the role of change agents in the social sector, by adopting a mission to create and sustain social value (not just private value), recognizing and relentlessly pursuing new opportunities to serve that mission, engaging in a process of continuous innovation, adaptation, and learning, acting boldly without being limited by resources currently in hand, and exhibiting heightened accountability to the constituencies served and for the outcomes created." (Honoring the late Greg Dees dubbed the father of social entrepreneurship education) What is the way that societies improve and solve problems? What is the purpose of business in society? Is there a role for markets and business in issues of civic good, justice, equality, education, environment, health or collective action?

Current economic principles, which underpin our trust in markets are not value neutral. Therefore, how we design “market solutions” to problems should be the focus of vigorous and open debate. Social entrepreneurship is a concept that has re-focused us on the meaning of the goods and social practices we value as citizens in a global society. The purpose of this course is to provide students with the essential conceptual frameworks and tools for creating successful social entrepreneurial ventures, initiatives, programs or partnerships that seek to tackle global poverty and collective action problems.

Social Entrepreneurship, loosely defined as entrepreneurial activities with an embedded social purpose, is about using entrepreneurial skills to craft innovative responses to address social problems. It aims at social impact, but does not exclude economic wealth creation. Thus, it is not limited to the non-profit or social sectors but seeks to mobilize and align interests of diverse stakeholders in the social, public and private sectors by creating non-financial incentives for collective action. Social Entrepreneurship involves recognizing that social problems are potential opportunities for collaboration, building on existing social networks, harnessing market forces that combine and mobilize resources, inciting positive change in various domains, and designing solutions for sustainable development. Social enterprise, an organizational subset of social entrepreneurship, is a hybrid model for social value creation that is multidimensional and dynamic, moving across various intersection points in the society. A social enterprise is created to achieve a stated vision and mission aiming to solve a state or market failure, where success is measured by both financial sustainability and social impact. Social entrepreneurship and social enterprise represent a paradigm shift in our thinking about sustainable economic development, one that is beginning to have a profound impact on how products are designed and services delivered to poor and marginalized populations at home and abroad.

The course will cover a broad range of cutting-edge social enterprise and social entrepreneurship strategies from around the world. Students will interact with guest social entrepreneurs, policy makers, thought leaders and investors to ensure they gain a comprehensive understanding of this dynamic field, and challenge themselves as agents of social change working in development. Through individual and group exercises, using case studies and mixed media, students will explore the common strategies and pitfalls in creating community-driven, scalable social ventures. Students will collaborate and share their learning in the classroom and online using a new social platform, L2O, within a closed community for this course and an open community on social innovation. The course looks at social entrepreneurship and social ventures through their entire life cycle – from ideation, through start-up to scaling and exit to policy-making – with an emphasis on how market considerations and financial instruments are critical to achieving social and financial goals. The materials we will cover place a strong emphasis on the need for a deeper understanding of the range of human motivations, moving from material self-interest to altruism and gift to duty and obligation to strong reciprocity and cooperation. Students will complete a team project, either their own venture or a project for a social enterprise client, over the term of the course. They will receive constant constructive feedback from their peers and instructor throughout the semester in the classroom and on L2O

Ethical and Legal Challenges of the Modern Corporation


This course includes faculty and students from both the Stern School of Business and New York University School of Law. The emphasis is on the individual’s legal and ethical responsibilities in interacting with the corporation and navigating real-world market pressures. The course addresses these challenges by considering moral and social psychology, ethical norms, and legal imperatives and from an institutional perspective. Students will be asked to consider the role, design, and institutionalization of ethics and compliance cultures in global business. The objective is to facilitate professional interaction and joint work between students from both schools.

Evolution, Human Behavior & Business

(GB.2170.30, 1.5 credits)

Companies are made out of people, so if you understand how human nature evolved and how we came to be so good at both cooperation and competition, you'll understand why some organizations bring out the best in people, while others depend only on self-interest. In this course we'll look at business using the most recent and exciting developments in the social sciences. We'll examine how cultures evolve, and how to improve any organization's culture. We'll look at norms, reputation, prestige, and other constructs crucial to organizational health and success. We'll examine innovation, and what makes new ideas and inventions spread.

Real Estate Transactions

(BSPA-GB.2300.30, 3 credits)

This course examines the legal and financial aspects of each phase of commercial real estate transactions from the acquisition through the disposition of the property, including all components of real estate development and real estate finance. The main topics covered will include property acquisition; entity selection and structure; tax considerations; construction and permanent financing; mortgage securitization; leasing; workouts and other exit strategies; as well as current legal and financial transactions. This course will prepare the student to become sensitive to the wide variety of legal and financial issues and topics encountered in commercial real estate transactions from the perspective of a business professional.

Law, Business & Human Rights

(BSPA-GB.2331.30, 3 credits)

Increasingly businesses are confronted with human rights challenges, whether in managing global manufacturing supply chains, addressing privacy issues in the information technology industry, security issues in the extractive industries, or confronting child and forced labor in agriculture. We will examine the origins and content of international human rights standards; the effects of globalization and the increasing imperative for global businesses to address human rights challenges in their core business operations; and, the responsibility of businesses to respect human rights. We will take a case study approach, examining how business and human rights issues manifest themselves in global manufacturing, the extractive industries, information and communication technology companies, and in agriculture. We also will explore how the investment community is addressing these issues. Finally we will look ahead and anticipate where the field of business and human rights is headed and how corporate leaders and lawyers can help develop models of sustainability for businesses in the human rights realm.

Global Markets, Human Rights and the Press

(BSPA-GB.3105, 1.5 credits)

This seminar is designed to be a provocative exploration of normative differences. Its premise is that the aspiring leader of a global enterprise whether business or political or educational must confront understand and where possible reconcile the ethical and cultural complexities and tensions at work in the world. Its objective is to bring students to a heightened more nuanced understanding of the interplay of global forces and local norms. This seminar draws upon academic research trade books press readings and case studies. To bring these issues to life the course will also present an array of guest speakers all of whom have been actors in this global process each with a particular expertise. In class discussion and lectures and through questions and answers with the visitors students will develop an appreciation for the intricacies of operating in the heterogeneous global environment recognizing the unique elements of national character government structures and local normative frameworks. This seminar will benefit from the insights of Maria Bartiromo CNBC Anchor and author and Michael Posner who will be present in each session to share insights with seminar visitors. The seminar will be comprised of evening sessions from 6:30-8:30 spread across the entire Fall Term with exact dates determined in part by the constraints of guest speakers. To encourage a diverse set of viewpoints and permit intensive engagement with guest speakers target enrollment is roughly 20 students drawn from across the graduate schools of NYU.

Work, Wisdom, and Happiness

(BSPA-GB.3110.30 – 1.5 credits)

For centuries, work was regarded as nothing but toil – a requirement for earning one's daily bread. But in recent decades, expectations about work have been transformed as has its very nature. While it still provides one’s daily bread, it is also regarded as a major opportunity for people to find purpose, meaning, and happiness in their lives. In this course, students study the latest research on what makes people happy at work, on how happiness at work improves the quality of work, on how people and organizations develop wisdom, and on what makes a career not just successful but meaningful. We will also discuss some of the impediments – both individual and organizational to doing meaningful and satisfying work. Students will develop their own visions of their ideal career, and of the ideal company they’d like to lead or work for.

Fashion, Law & Business

(INTA-GB.3344.30 – 3 credits)

This course will teach students to develop effective synergies between strategic and legal perspectives in the growth of a fashion company. Students will practice analyzing business issues from a legal perspective – and legal issues from a business perspective – throughout the life cycle of a fashion company. The course will address the key challenges faced by companies as they move from entrepreneurship through domestic growth, brand extension through licensing, and international expansion via sourcing and distribution. Although it has much in common with other consumer goods industries, the fashion complex faces a set of unique issues. No other industry has to design, generate and manufacture such a multiplicity of concepts every season and deliver them so rapidly and efficiently to global markets. Fashion’s ability to create iconic brand status while profitably mastering a complex supply chain involves a range of capabilities that other business sectors are eager to imitate.

Corporate Governance


This course focuses primarily on for-profit, publicly traded corporations. Students are challenged to understand the system and structure in which corporations function and to think critically about the framework for effective corporate governance. This will include an understanding of the structural relationships determining authority and responsibility for the corporation and their associated complexities. Students will be assigned foundational readings and cases associated with each topic and will be asked to examine issues from both legal and business perspectives.

Social Entrepreneurship in Sustainable Food Business


The objective of this course is to help students incubate food businesses that have a positive impact on consumer health.

Business Law

(BSPA-GB.2314 - 3 credits)

To succeed, business managers and entrepreneurs need to know how to operate in the legal environment of business. This course provides a basic understanding of legal issues that a business manager may face and opportunities to communicate about law and business. The relationship between law and business will be illustrated in class lectures, discussions and selected readings. The objective of the course is to expose students to some of the key legal areas they can expect to encounter in business as entrepreneurs, managers and consultants.

Case Study Development in Sustainable Business


Four teams of 3 to 5 students each will research and write case studies about companies facing specific, vital environmental and social sustainability challenge. The companies and the challenges we study will represent a range of industries and functional roles in their respective organizations, including finance, strategy, marketing, supply chain, and operations. The resulting case studies are intended for publication and for use by CSB with an audience of the students’ peers – primarily graduate students in business. Publication is not guaranteed, but those case studies that are published will credit the students as authors (working under the supervision of the faculty instructor).

Social Problem Based Entrepreneurship


Social Problem-based Entrepreneurship is a course designed to put the idea of teaching social entrepreneurship to its ultimate test—with the objective of incubating a series of social ventures through the course of the semester that have the potential to be viable businesses and positively impact social or environmental outcomes. Once the semester begins, “start-up” teams of four to five students each will be formed. The course will employ the latest techniques from Design Thinking to help teams identify a problem as the basis for the startup, prototype a solution and develop a business model through real customer discovery out on the field. While the problem they are looking to solve may be a national or global one, teams will be encouraged to focus on New York City as their initial market of choice to facilitate fieldwork.

Economics Inequalities: Perspectives & Practices

(MULT-UB.0042 - 2 credits)

This course provides students with a deeper understanding of current policy debates about economic inequality. The course format integrates a discussion seminar with a collaborative research project. In the seminar context, students become familiar with relevant terms and concepts drawn from economics, political science, organizational studies and philosophy. Informed by these analytic perspectives, students undertake research projects focused on the roles that individual organizations play in increasing and/or decreasing economic inequality. Funded by the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), these projects include collaboration with business students from ESADE in Barcelona, Spain, SDA Bocconi School of Management in Milan, Italy and Sogang University in Seoul, South Korea. This dimension of the course exposes students to a variety of international perspectives on economic inequality, and allows them to learn from the experience of producing deliverables in a geographically- dispersed team.  

Sustainability and Competitive Advantage

(BSPA-GB.2305 - 3.0 Credits)
Prof. Tensie Whelan
Mondays, 6:00-9:00pm
Specializations: Social Innovation & Impact; Leadership & Change Management; Supply Chain Management

In this course, students will develop a effective leadership perspective through pursuit of the following learning objectives: 1) to become familiar with the key environmental and social issues effecting business today, 2) to understand the evolution of corporate response—from compliance to engagement to innovation, 3) to begin to develop some of the skills required for leading in this new social and political environment (e.g. multi-stakeholder management), 4) to explore the efficiencies and innovations being developed by corporate leaders in pursuit of sustainability, 5) to explore innovations in finance (true cost accounting, net positive value, social impact bonds), and 6) to become familiar with the latest consumer insight research on sustainability. In short, this course is multi-disciplinary, and seeks to integrate across the functions of the firm to arrive at an effective firm-wide leadership sensibility.

Corporate Governance: Stakeholder Activism - Who Is In Charge?

(BSPA-GB.2176.10 -1.5 Credits)
Prof. Sam Liss
Thursdays, 6:00-9:00pm

Corporate Governance has evolved to be one of the more compelling and challenging subjects in law, business and society. Governance is a multi-faceted topic that has economic, ethical, legal, regulatory, and sociological dimensions. Its impact has increased with the ever-growing power and scope of modern business corporations and of institutional shareholders who own an increasing proportion of public companies equity securities. The imperfections of many companies’ corporate governance have been demonstrated by a distressingly long list of spectacular business and governance failures. These failures - accounting frauds, excessive executive compensation packages, value-destroying market strategies, bankruptcies, and still evolving aspects of the 2008-2009 financial crisis - have imposed substantial costs on shareholders, other stakeholders, and society at large. The debates are real and evolving: Shareholder versus Stakeholder; Shareholder primacy versus Board primacy; Activism and activists: good or bad?; Board effectiveness: the U.S governance construct is distinctly flawed versus the U.S. construct works. It is critically important for both NYU business school graduates to be familiar with corporate governance dynamics. Many of you are very likely to have a responsibility in your evolving careers to engage with corporate boards as a member of management or as an advisor, and as well over time serve as active members of Boards of Directors (both for- profit and non- profit). The purview of the course is broad, and its intent is to integrate legal and business realities as well as develop interdisciplinary skills around the key decisions presented to Boards-- -including critical issues such as management leadership and succession, the decision to pursue an initial public offering, undertake a substantial restructuring or engage in a significant acquisition, a business unit sale, or a total entity sale to another public company or to a private equity or similar non-public buyer.

Though much of the material and discussion will address challenges particular to publicly traded corporations, we will, for purposes of comparison and perspective, give consideration to private corporations, partnerships, cooperatives and non- profits. We will address specific institutional questions and develop some specialized analytical skills, including how to read a corporate case study and legal case with a corporate governance lens. We will also have “real life practitioners” attend some of the classes to talk about their experiences and share their insights, including a couple leading activist investors, a governance specialist from a leading institutional investor, and a sprinkling of investment bankers and Board- savvy governance lawyers.
It is critically important for NYU MBA graduates to be familiar with corporate governance dynamics. Many of you are likely to have a responsibility in your evolving careers to engage with corporate public and private boards as a member of management or as an advisor, and as well in serving as active members of Boards of Directors (both for- profit and non- profit) or participating in governance issues as investors.

Driving Market Solutions for Clean Energy

Prof. Vignesh Gowrishankar

This course is designed to provide students with a rich understanding of the economy-wide energy transitions that are needed in the United States to help curb climate change, with an emphasis on how the private sector can drive such changes. As relevant background, the course will cover energy-related macroeconomic concepts and trends, and provide environmental and international context. It will draw on the instructor’s diverse experiences, readings and other media, classroom discussions, case studies, visiting speakers, and group projects, to explore and debate how such ambitious but necessary transformations may be brought about.

The course will cover these 5 main themes: (1) environmental and macroeconomic context of the global climate problem, the U.S. energy system, and energy costs; (2) established and emerging business models for key clean energy drivers (outlined below), based on market trends, growth potential, and surrounding policy environment; (3) in-depth case studies of around 20 pioneering clean energy companies (e.g., Tesla, Vivint, OPower) or technologies, and learning from their successes and failures; (4) hurdles and business challenges to realizing the clean energy transformation; and (5) alternative pathways to cutting emissions in the United States, advantages and risks.
The bulk of the course will focus on the five main clean energy drivers – energy efficiency (in buildings, industry, and transportation), renewable energy, electrification (of cars and other end-uses), power grid modernization and fuel decarbonization. For each, the course will step through the key concepts, market and policy contexts, and company/technology case studies, generally closing with a visiting speaker.

The course will be of interest to students wishing to: understand potential clean energy and sustainability actions (including those that can be and are being taken by companies), meet energy industry practitioners, and visualize career options in this field. Particularly relevant to students who go on to consulting, financial services and investment banking, the course will cover energy-related macroeconomic trends, investment potential in emerging fields, and successful (and unsuccessful) business models and strategies.

Corporate Turnarounds and Leadership

(BSPA-GB.3362 - 3 Credits)

This course examines the opportunity for transformational change emanating from a corporate crisis. We explore the following question: how does senior level management effectively change an organization in response to dramatic changes in circumstances? All too often managers and corporate boards fail to recognize factors that threaten the firm's business until its very survival is in doubt. In such cases the board of directors and management may need to implement drastic and sudden changes in several aspects of the firm. The course draws on several of the core disciplines in the MBA program and provides an opportunity to apply them to organizations in the midst of major transitions. Students should come into this course ready to integrate various business disciplines- applying both quantitative and qualitative tools drawn from accounting corporate finance cash flow modeling debt restructuring negotiation marketing management leadership and communication. An important aspect of the course is the role of leadership in creating a transformational opportunity resulting from a crisis. Financial market and organizational aspects of transformation will be explored through case studies articles texts and class discussion.The course is relevant for students who anticipate working in any operating company or in a firm advising and/or interacting with such a company- including consultants turnaround specialists venture capital and private equity professionals activist fund managers and bankers. The skills developed in this course should be applicable to professionals throughout their careers. Specific attention is paid to cultivating skills appropriate to early stage career assignments.