Ideas with Impact
UNB Faculty of Management

Corporate Social Responsibility a Major Theme for MBA Students this Term

Author: Liz Lemon-Mitchell

Posted on Mar 22, 2009

Category: Student Highlights

The huge global economic crisis is making Corporate Social Responsibility all the more important in today's business world. With industries needing to be bailed out by the government, people need to be assured that their tax dollars are being spent properly. Here at UNB, students in the new MBA Professional Development program are being taught to think about more than just the bottom line.

Students helped contribute to the over $19,000 raised by the Fredericton community for the Canadian Cancer Society. The students raised the funds and competed in the annual Curl for Cancer fundraising event held recently at the Fredericton Curling Club.

In addition to the funds raised for cancer research the event provided the students an opportunity to learn about corporate social development. Students had the opportunity to network with members of the business community while learning how not-for-profit organizations raise their funds.

Mike Randall, President of Mike Randall Communications, also recently gave a presentation on Corporate Social Responsibility to the students. He emphasized that Corporate Social Responsibility has to be embedded into what a company is doing and if it is used only as a public relations tool it generally will not be effective.

By participating in events such as Curl for Cancer, and presentations from professionals like Mike Randall, MBA students are learning more than they ever could from reading a text book or listening to lectures.

As one MBA student, Christine Hartnoll put it, "The Professional Development course is a valuable new addition to the MBA program. I feel like I have developed a lot of new skills that I could not have learned in the classroom".

However the true success of the events didn't come from the amount of money raised or the lessons learned, but from the community support. One of the biggest things for Lloyd Chambers, Western Director of the New Brunswick chapter of the Canadian Cancer Society, was being able to attract the MBA students.

"Having a long business career, I think it's very important for tomorrow's leaders to participate in events like the Curl for Cancer," said Chambers.

As these MBA students turn into tomorrow's leaders, I would hope they remember the value of being socially responsible. It's important in tough economic times to focus on community support, as that's when the community needs their leadership the most. They must learn to focus not just on their bottom-line, but to look to the future and recognize the value of supporting the community.