Extending Learning Beyond the Classroom

Measuring 3 eggsThose of us working with businesses aiming to have a social impact have long promoted the idea that purpose and profit are not mutually exclusive. More recently, a companion idea has emerged. Like so many things at Berkeley-Haas, it was driven by students. This is the idea that you don’t have to wait until you graduate to apply your learning in meaningful ways. At the Center for Social Sector Leadership, we work hard to keep up with the student drive to have an impact, even before receiving their MBA degrees.

Enter Social Impact Metrics, a new MBA course that is offered in partnership with Amgen. The course is designed to advance nonprofit organizations’ ability to measure their programs’ effectiveness. The four participating organizations won a competition out of 16 applicants. Throughout the semester, teams of students will work with each organization to figure out a meaningful way to define and quantify hard-to-measure impact.

“Haas has done a wonderful job adapting the course offerings to fit the needs of students and current trends in the industry, and the addition of this course is a great example of that,” says Catherine Dooling, MBA 16. But the new offering is not simply pandering to a fad, it’s providing students with useful tools they can apply immediately. Colin Boyle, a veteran management consultant and current Deputy Director for Global Health Sciences at UCSF, structured the course deliberately. “By working in a collaborative manner, the course will aim to help build an understanding of what works and what doesn’t and ensure that our collective efforts are aimed at those activities that will do the most good,” he says.

Colin’s teaching experience and thoughtful leadership of the course is paying off. Catherine’s passion and excitement for the work she’s doing is palpable; “We have an amazing opportunity to solve real metrics challenges for non-profit clients; the responsibility is a tremendous honor and the chance to dive in and get our hands dirty on a live project brings the topics we’ve discussed in class to life.”

About the Winning Patient Advocacy Projects

Metrics course winners

Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network’s (BCAN) Patient Webinar Series launched in 2012 to address a variety of education topics and features bladder cancer experts from highly-regarded medical institutions. BCAN is looking to measure the impact this series has on patients, caregivers, and family members.

Cancer Support Community (CSC) seeks to better measure the impact of the CSC Cancer Support Helpline®, which reaches thousands of patients, family members, and health care professionals each year. Launched in April 2012, licensed mental health professionals provide telephone support interventions that help patients and caregivers identify and address needs and link them to vital information and community resources in order to help them to live better lives, reduce distress, and better engage with their health care team.

Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation‘s clinical trial database, Blue Data, is designed to provide a simple and user-friendly interface that allows patients to accelerate the process of identifying appropriate clinical trials for participation and simplify the screening process. Chris4Life seeks to measure how patients are engaging with the database in order to improve upon its function and use in order to increase the number of patients who participate in clinical trials.

Critical Mass is looking to measure the impact of its “Mission Control” localized search engine of programs and services specifically curated for adolescents and young adults with cancer. By analyzing the data captured from its current users, Critical Mass seeks to improve the efficient identification of relevant resources to ensure that every adolescent and young adult diagnosed with cancer finds the resources they need, when they need them.


Image courtesy of Flickr user gazeronly.


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