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The 2022 Positive Impact Rating: ‘Student Voice Has Become A True Source Of Value’

·7 min read

One day after Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February, Kozminski University sprang into action. The Polish business school opened its doors to Ukrainian refugees and, working with NGOs and other groups, created the first 24-hour “Support Point” at its campus in Warsaw, about 430 miles from the Ukraine border.

Hundreds of refugees poured in to receive humanitarian and legal aid. Kozminski found accommodation for 340 families, including 600 adults and nearly 500 children; of the more than 1,300 volunteers who worked with the thousands of needy men, women, and children, many were students of the B-school. Kozminski alumni have pitched in, too, helping to provide over 2,000 medical kits, 300 sleeping bags, and 500 pillows to the Ukrainian territorial defense.

“The community of Kozminski University has, since day one of the war, expressed solidarity with and provided support to Ukraine and its citizens,” says Gregorz Mazurek, Kozminski’s dean.

4 TOP-RATED B-SCHOOLS ARE ALL IN INDIA

The PIR survey asks students 20 questions in seven relevant impact dimensions

Their efforts did not go unnoticed. In the third annual Positive Impact Rating released Friday (June 3), Kozminski earned special recognition for its role in aiding Ukrainian refugees. The Warsaw-based B-school maintains its ranking in the fourth (and largest) tier of business schools rated for focusing away from finances and numbers and prioritizing the student experience — and helping to make the world a better place through their efforts.

If most MBA rankings “follow the money” — that is, they rank schools based on career outcomes measured largely by salaries and bonuses — the 2022 Positive Impact Rating aims to be a tonic. It ranks 45 schools around the world based on a 20-question survey completed by students in seven relevant categories: governance and culture of the school; study programs, learning methods, and student support; and the institution as a role model and its public engagement. The overall PIR score of the B-school is used to position the schools across five levels. The different levels refer to the levels of achievement in developing the social impact; from the report, B-schools are provided with a defined social impact model and a tool that they can use for measuring their impact.

Four schools — all in India — achieved the top level as “Pioneering Schools” in 2022: IIM Bangalore, SP Jain Institute of Management & Research, Worsen University School of Business, and XLRI – Xavier School of Management. Twenty-nine schools were rated as “Transforming Schools,” including Kozminski, ESADE Business School in Spain, HKUST Business School in Hong Kong, and IESEG School of Management in France. Twelve schools — including HEC Paris and EDHEC of France — were rated in the third tier as “Progressing Schools.” And the schools in the lowest two tiers? “In the spirit of reinforcing good practice, the rating does not feature schools rated below Level 3,” the report reads.

GLOBAL SOUTH VS. GLOBAL NORTH

The report “focuses on insights from top-performing business schools in the Global South and leading business schools in the Global North,” according to the report. “The latter schools are challenged to embrace change far more quickly than ever in recent history. The report provides business schools worldwide with important lessons from peer schools, for whom dealing with crises and challenges in their communities is a role they have accepted and embraced for a long time.

“If Business Schools in the Global North are to continue providing value to business, they must support both business and society in responding effectively to societal crises. Students and other stakeholders challenge them to provide relevant insights to society and equip graduates with appropriate skills and competencies.” As a “remarkable case study,” the report cites Kozminski’s war effort.

The first PIR report included the perspective of 48 students per school; in 2021, the assessment jumped up to 187 students per school, expanding to more than 9,000 students globally. This year, students from business schools located in five continents and 21 countries took part. Of the 45 total schools in the rating, only four are in the United States (up from three last year), and none is ranked higher than 50th by either Poets&Quants or U.S. News. See the next page for details.

WHAT STUDENTS WANT — AND DON’T

Thomas Dyllick

Students answering the PIR survey “provided an incredible wealth of constructive comments on how their schools can increase their positive impact,” the report reads. What many say their schools should start doing: “Teaching sustainability and responsibility in a wider number of courses, programs, and classes; providing practical skills for a future career as a sustainability leader in curricula, operations, and culture; and also updating curricula to include new theories and models of business and economics relevant to 21st century challenges.”

And what students say their B-schools should stop doing: using single-use plastics on campus and offering unsustainable food and catering services.

“While future students now have an alternative source to select their business school, schools refer to the PIR primarily to measure and communicate their transformational progress.,” says Thomas Dyllick, PIR founder and member of the supervisory board. “The voice of the student has become a true source of value.”

Adds Sophie Charrois, president of Oikos International and PIR supervisory board member: “We need to prepare students with competencies that empower them to impact business, society, and the planet positively. Separating economic from societal or environmental value creation is no longer acceptable. Managing a business as an isolated entity from its impact on society is becoming a thing of the past.”

Learn more at the Positive Impact Rating website. See the complete 45-school 2022 PIR list on the next page.

PIR SPURS IMMEDIATE CHANGE AT ONE FRENCH B-SCHOOL 

The purpose of the PIR is to “enable learning at and across schools rather than creating a competitive ranking,” the report reads. “A rating offers the safety of groups rather than individual ranks and intends to foster collaboration.”

Among the advanced group of Transforming Schools, Audencia Business School in France earned special attention for its innovations in allowing students to become “change agents,” recognition reflected in the school’s higher score from 2021. “As part of the continuous improvement cycle, the school’s Corporate Social Responsibility Team and the students’ associations cooperate closely to use the results of the previous Positive Impact Rating edition to identify areas of progress and build a concrete action plan,” the report reads. Audencia’s action plan emphasizes the students’ role and involvement in its realization and communicates the results of this plan to the whole community of students.

“The school’s position in this ranking is further proof of our historical commitment to CSR,” Audencia’s Dean Christophe Germain says in a news release recognizing the 2022 PIR. “The increase in our overall score reflects the strengthening of this commitment around which our ECOS 2025 strategic plan is built and our desire to train students who will have a positive impact on society in their future career.”

‘WE NEED TO PREPARE STUDENTS WITH COMPETENCIES THAT EMPOWER THEM’

Among the loads of interesting data points in the latest PIR report are significant demographic distinctions. Men rate schools higher than women do. Master’s students rate schools higher than bachelor’s students. International students rate them higher than national students do. Older students rate them higher than younger students do.

Ratings are highest, meanwhile, among students who have spent only one year, and lowest among those who have spent three or more years in business school.

More important than demographic tidbits: the goal of the PIR, says Antonio Hautle, executive director of the UN Global Compact Network Switzerland & Liechtenstein. The United Nations Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) influenced the foundations of the PIR model.

“Over three editions, the PIR continues to bring business schools and students together in cooperation for responsible management education, aligning with and supporting the UN Global Compact and PRME principles,” Hautle says.

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