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Thursday, 11 October 2007


Linda M. Lopeke

It's interesting someone is measuring the integration of social and environmental stewardship. What might have a greater impact is measuring which schools propose to educate tomorrow's leaders and entrepreneurs and value innovation yet show little evidence of serving as role models for same themselves.

Case in point: I have been running a mentoring program and MBA Master Classes in corporate social intelligence primarily attended by GEN Y students for the last 3 years. The students and I have created an interesting financial model that supports providing a steady stream of funding to their business schools. (It also allows them to continuously donate financial aid to their schools more generously than otherwise while at the same time helping themselves become well positioned and successful in their careers following graduation.)

They've brought their funding proposal forward to a number of schools/Deans now. They've put all the parts in place to make it work starting from having all their operating costs covered by American & Canadian corporations and going right down to the very communication to be sent in an email to let fellow students know of the existence of this program.

(Translation: The program requires no budget or headcount from a school to run. The students do all the work required to support the program. All they need is for a few Deans to support them by sending out the intro email to the school registrants and alumni.)

Thus far several Deans and Career Centre Directors have agreed its a great mentoring and philanthropy program and a highly innovative delivery model; they acknowledge it would be very beneficial to both undergrads and grads (alumni) to participate in the program. However, the most common response offered to justify not letting their student populations know about the mentoring program is "we just don't want to be leaders here". Shocking, isn't it?

Here's the message those Deans are sending to GEN Y: we say we want your financial support and the support of the business community but we don't really mean it so don't take us seriously. And guess what? They're not.

How much money were they willing to donate? $50M was their goal. And they still plan to give it away. IF they can find a few strong Deans that share their leadership vision. IF not, well -- fortunately, there are a lot of other people in the world who would appreciate their financial help.

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