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IESE's addition of a Social Entrepreneurship elective marks another milestone in the trend's growth across Europe and the Americas. 

By Ben Feuer

Today, IESE announced a new elective that focuses on social entrepreneurship -- this joins the already existing Center for Social Innovation and expands IESE's course offerings in this area.  It also marks yet another milestone in nearly ten years of ascendancy for this hot trend.

In America, of course, social entrepreneurship has been a hot button topic for years.  Harvard, Stanford and Kellogg have lead the way with large-scale and innovative programs that continue to gather steam.

In Europe, the trend has been growing steadily, if also more slowly.  In January 2003, ESSEC became the first school in France to offer a center of excellence for social entrepreneurship.  Oxford's Said Business school has the Skoll Center, paid for by a co-founder of eBay. London Business School has been somewhat slower on the uptake, but they do have electives, as well as a joint initiative with Haas that offers $50,000 in prize money.  IE was also honored as a top sustainability school in 2011, and has continued to grow in that arena.  Now IESE has joined the party, rounding out nearly all of the top European schools.

So what does this mean for people currently applying to b-school?  That depends.  If you are not interested in social entrepreneurship, don't feel that you have to trumpet whatever do-gooder habits you may have casually picked up along the way to appear more attractive to these top schools -- believe me, you won't fool anybody, and you're much better off being yourself.  On the other hand, if you have a genuine and demonstrable interest -- IE, one you can prove through your past actions -- this classic Poets and Quants article will give you more than enough information to chew on.


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