Global Study

Bringing the Real World into the Classroom: MBAs Travel to Brazil to Advise Social Entrepreneurs

From January 5-17, a group of MBA students traveled to Rio and partnered with three local firms as part of NYU Stern’s International Social Impact Strategies (ISIS) course. Taught by Professor Jill Kickul, director of Stern's Program in Social Entrepreneurship, ISIS is designed to provide students with hands-on exposure to the entrepreneurial pursuit of social impact in a developing economy. While exploring an emerging market firsthand, students apply their business acumen to social enterprises in the region and also learn about local history, culture, economy, politics, social change, sustainable development and entrepreneurship.

This year, MBAs worked with social entrepreneurs at three Brazilian firms – Juçaí, which manufactures products made with fruit from the endangered palm juçara tree and employs local residents who might otherwise turn to illegal deforestation for income; Fez Ta Pronto, a local builder committed to eliminating Brazil’s slums; and Rede Nami, a nongovernmental organization that empowers women and girls through street art and graffiti while raising awareness about domestic violence and addressing the issue of gender inequality. Students advised the three social entrepreneurs on new revenue models, marketing and branding, operations, investment opportunities, strategic planning, measuring social impact and more. See photos from the recent trip:

"During NYU Stern's International Social Impact Strategies (ISIS) course to Rio, I saw that learning about business in a developing country -- and actually doing business in a developing country -- are two very different things. The shared energy and engagement of my Stern colleagues and our Brazilian entrepreneurial partners made it possible for us to create, in two short weeks, valuable tools that will enhance the performance of a local firm in the short and long-term."