Through the Leeds Social Impact Consulting (LSIC) Club I broadened connections to local communities, gained exposure to sustainable product sourcing and contract negotiations, and discovered how supply chain management and corporate social responsibility can work hand-in-hand to serve as the key value-driver for a business. Working with a mentor to solve a real problem for a local company allowed our team to be more effective and take the solutions farther. Sierra White, Co-President, LSIC (MBA & MS Supply Chain '22)
Community engagement is a key component of the Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility’s (CESR) mission to help students build their skills, knowledge, and networks. During the past 19 months, the coronavirus has made it incredibly difficult, and ever more important, to build relationships. We have taken time this past year and a half to rethink how we do that, and to try some new approaches. Some initiatives have worked better than others, but we have learned from them all and are carrying many new lessons over into our planning as we move into a more in-person learning environment in 2021.
We value connecting with colleagues at other universities as well, and seized the opportunity to share some examples of our work at the 2021 Engagement Scholarship Consortium Conference. This conference was designed to explore creative approaches education professionals have used to create community during the pandemic.
We shared a program we’re very excited about where we collaborated with students and the business community to enhance a long-standing MBA student club’s success.
Creating shared value for students, mentors and clients
Through the Leeds Social Impact Consulting club (LSIC), students consult for business clients with a social impact, ESG or CSR orientation. They apply their business skills to real projects with client companies in areas such as marketing, operations, finance, data, reporting, and e-commerce. Student teams learn from going through the consulting process, including scoping work, aligning expectations and more. This year, CESR recruited professional consultants to mentor and coach each LSIC team throughout their work, offering just-in-time and responsive support through this learning process.
"Mentoring LSIC students gave me an opportunity to give back to upcoming ESG professionals working on an actual project for a real company. I assisted mentees with finding the 360 degree information required to complete a B Assessment for their client's B Corporation Application. The collaborative spirit of the mentoring program also exposed me to other initiatives in the community. ”
Margaret Mondlane, Impact Consultant and Benefit Officer at Roshem Impact
This process created new connections, expanded student learning, and promoted active growth for students and community members. Mentoring relationships provided coaching in project specifics while helping students learn how to use resources in a professional setting, ask good questions, know when to seek help, and build mentoring relationships. Mentors deepened connections with CESR and practiced professional development coaching strategies. Clients found interesting solutions to business problems.
The outcomes of these mentoring relationships were so successful that we plan to expand this model to other clubs and projects that CESR supports.
Is your company interested in partnering with the LSIC team on a project? Project types can include marketing, supply chain analysis and development, CSR analysis, emissions audits, ecommerce build-out and more. There is a sliding scale fee so it is designed to be affordable for even very small companies.
Want to be a mentor? Do you work in sustainability consulting, ESG or CSR work and have an interest in supporting a student team working on a project?
Email student club leaders Sierra White and John Stinehour for more information on how to get involved.