By Carolyn Gray Anderson
In September 2016, 40 UCLA Anderson students traveled to South Africa for a global immersion course titled Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Led by UCLA Anderson lecturer Gayle Northrop (’96), president of Northrop Nonprofit Consulting, the course focused on how “pro-social” businesses succeed in an age of waning corporate philanthropy. Northrop, who also serves as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business and co-founded Cape Town’s Spark Health, says students may gravitate to immersion courses because of the international destinations, but her hope is that global examples of social and corporate responsibility will infuse b-school curriculum generally.
UCLA Anderson’s global immersion courses originated in 2008 within the Fully Employed MBA program. Since then, they have expanded to include students in the full-time, executive and UCLA-NUS Global Executive MBA programs. In 2014, the global immersion courses transitioned to the Center for Global Management to enhance the portfolio of global offerings to students across all MBA programs.
“This experience opened my eyes to the amazing work being done by social impact organizations around the world and inspired me to get involved in the field,” said Milan Karunaratne (FEMBA ’18), who joined the South Africa immersion. “I would never have had such an authentic and enriched experience if I had visited South Africa as a tourist.”