Research News

Vanderbilt students combine business and the environment

Being a part of a successful company that’s also environmentally conscious is something the country’s future business leaders are taking very seriously. In a recent survey of more than 2,000 business students worldwide, 79 percent said they will seek socially responsible employment at some point during their careers and more than half will do so immediately after graduation.

That’s why the Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management is hosting the world’s largest gathering focused on corporate social responsibility, social entrepreneurship, international development, and non-profit and environmental management.

The 2007 Net Impact Conference, titled “Building a Sustainable Future: What Will You Do Next?” will be held at Vanderbilt Nov. 1-3. Thousands of MBA students and business professionals from across the country have already signed up for the event.

Keynote speakers include Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia; Chad Holliday, CEO of DuPont; and Magatte Wade-Marchand, co-founder of Adina Beverages. Overall, the conference will include more than 300 speakers and 90 panels, all geared to challenge participants to think about how to make the world more sustainable through business practices.

Other highlights of the conference include:
* A new track focused on the “business of health,” tackling both domestic and international health care issues, capitalizing on Vanderbilt’s strength and leadership in health care management education and Nashville’s reputation as a leading health care industry center.
* A network-wide challenge to the entire 10,000-member Net Impact community on how the Net Impact network might help address one of four major global issues: the spread of malaria; the impact of climate change; the effectiveness of education; or the dangers of nuclear weapons. The winning idea will be selected following finalist presentations at the November conference and be marketed extensively to the Net Impact membership to encourage participation.
* The inaugural Project Pyramid Case Competition, organized by students and faculty from Vanderbilt’s Project Pyramid initiative with the goal of alleviating poverty through the application of business principles. Founded by a group of Vanderbilt MBA students in 2005, Project Pyramid now involves scores of students, faculty and administrators from across the university.
* A Career Expo featuring leading companies and non-profits.

“The next generation of business leaders is poised to use their skills and ideas to effect tremendous change in the world today,” said Elizabeth Maw, executive director of Net Impact, the San Francisco-based international non-profit organization now entering its 15th year. “The Net Impact conference provides an unparalleled opportunity for business school students and professionals to engage in the issues and jumpstart their own ideas on sustainability and responsible business practice.”

In addition, Net Impact will demonstrate its own commitment to environmental responsibility through a “green” experience for participants that will include organic meals, extensive recycling options and an overall carbon-neutral event.

Additional information about this year’s conference – including details about the curriculum and registration information – is available at

The Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management is ranked as a top institution by BusinessWeek, The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report, Financial Times and Forbes.

Media contact: Amy Wolf, (615) 322-NEWS