MBA in Corporate Social Responsibility | TopMBA

MBA students over recent years have become more and more interested in learning about business approaches that can contribute towards sustainable development by delivering economic, sustainability and environmental benefits for all stakeholders- and this is where an MBA in Corporate Social Responsibility comes in.


What is an MBA in Corporate Social Responsibility?

An MBA in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is the perfect specialization for those interested in working in sustainability roles, including in CSR departments and strategic functions of companies dedicated to improving stakeholder engagement and social/environmental footprint.  

What You Need to Study an MBA in Corporate Social Responsibility

Each CSR-tailored MBA program will have different requirements. Generally, most b-schools will require the following:

  • Three to five years of professional experience (although this can vary)
  • An undergraduate degree
  • A good GMAT/GRE score
  • Employers’ recommendation

[H2] MBA in Corporate Social Responsibility – Course Content

Corporate Social Responsibility MBA programs are increasingly sought after, as students learn about new business approaches that contribute towards sustainable development for all stakeholders by delivering economic, environmental and sustainability benefits. 

Here are some of the core competencies students develop on a CSR course:

  • Understanding society
  • Building capacity
  • Questioning business as usual
  • Stakeholder relations
  • Strategic view
  • Harnessing diversity

Of course, students will learn about conventional general management subjects, while also taking classes that emphasise the concepts or responsible business practices, environment, ethics, sustainability, social inclusions, social entrepreneurship, governance, inclusive growth, creating shared value, and the like.

There are lots of business schools offering their own take on an MBA in corporate social responsibility.

Harvard Business School offers a Social Enterprise Initiative and was one of the first business schools to build research capacity in the CSR space. Many of the MBA program’s core curriculum classes incorporate CSR case studies to ponder over.

Similarly, Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University offers students the opportunity to take a multitude of classes from the core curriculum which place a strong focus on sustainability and CSR, like ‘Business, Society, and Sustainable Development’. Another factor demonstrating Rotterdam’s focus on sustainability is the school’s integration of the UN Global Compact’s Principles for Responsible Management Education into the MBA curriculum.

If studying in the innovative hub of Barcelona is for you, look no further than IE Business School. The institution offers relevant courses in the field, and holds an annual ‘Social Responsibility Forum’ that explores CSR-related issues.

Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, Cornell University allows MBA students to take a concentration in ‘Sustainable Global Enterprise’, as well as a company project that focuses on CSR topics. Another sting to the business school’s bow is Johnson’s Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise which was launched in 2003 and publishes relevant research in CSR and sustainability fields.

The University of California, Berkeley Haas School of Business is also home to a center focussing on sustainable development – the Center for Responsible Business – which organizes a vast as=rray of sustainability-oriented events while also providing CSR-minded MBAs with scholarships, fellowships, and other resources. But if you wanted to ensure your MBA was tailored towards CSR, students could pick elective courses like ‘Social Finance’ which examines core business topics through a sustainability viewpoint.  

Oxford University’s Saïd Business School offers electives on the MBA program, including ‘Social Enterprise Design’ and ‘Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation’. The business school also boasts the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, which provides the students looking to create social change through innovation with necessary resources.

Michigan Ross School of Business also has an institute dedicated to sustainability. Ross’ Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise – founded in 1996 – is highly regarded among peers for its work. Students who wish to learn more about sustainability can take a dual-degree MBA/Master of Science, made possible thanks to the partnership with the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment.

Australian Graduate School of Management offers students the MBA (Social Impact) offered as part of the MBAX program. On the program, you’ll learn to understand the dynamics of the social economy, and how business, social enterprise, government, foundations and community organisations can work together. Students will also build skills and knowledge in social entrepreneurship, innovation, investment and governance.

In 2014, ESADE Ramon Llull University launched an MBA elective that focuses on social entrepreneurship. The business school is also regarded for its push towards sustainability and innovation through the Institute for Social Innovation.

Top Careers to Pursue with an MBA in Corporate Social Responsibility

Companies are increasingly making sustainability a part of their mission, ensuring processes, products, practices and procedures are ethical, environmentally friendly, and sustainable.

Some companies may be fuelled to commit to corporate social responsibility partly for philanthropic reasons, but, adopting an impressive CSR company strategy also boosts a company’s reputation, and thereby maximises profitability. For this reason, a degree in Corporate Social Responsibility has become highly desirable.

The main job MBAs can land with this specialization is a CSR managerial role. Managers in this field are responsible for determining and developing strategies that align with a company’s objectives, including undergoing research, pitching ideas, creating detailed plans, developing policies and building networks.

If you’re hoping to land a position in large consulting and accounting firms – you’re in luck. Opportunities are on the rise due to firms trying to compete with dedicated CSR consulting firms by offering their own CSR client services.

If you’re looking to work in the public sector, CSR career opportunities can be found in the likes of international organizations, public sector undertakings, and national government agencies.

Other roles you could land include:

  • Executive roles in not-for-profit and community organisations
  • Public sector managers and leaders
  • Social policy managers, foundation and social responsibility mangers in corporate sector
  • Social entrepreneurs


Here are the two top-tier CSR positions with the highest average salaries you could land after your MBA:

  • Corporate Social Responsibility Manager: US$147,060
  • Corporate Social Responsibility Leader: US$203,000

Top Firms Hiring Corporate Social Responsibility MBAs

If a successful career in CSR is your goal, here are the firms you should consider sending your application to:

  • Microsoft
  • Disney
  • Reliance Industries
  • Wipro
  • Nestle
  • Coca-Cola
  • Google
  • Netflix
  • Wells Fargo