The Harvard Business School Social Enterprise Alumni Association is a nonprofit social and professional organization established by and for graduates of HBS who are involved or interested in social enterprise.
Its mission is to help alumni more fully engage in and strengthen the social sector, both personally and professionally, at all stages of life.
Social enterprise encompasses nonprofit organizations, public sector entities, business leadership in the social sector, and other social purpose businesses that may be for profit in status but social mission-driven in nature. The SE Alumni Association is guided by a steering committee of HBS alumni from both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors, but all are involved in social enterprise.
- To create a greater sense of connectedness among alumni interested in social enterprise, and a way for alumni to develop mentoring and other relationships with MBA students, other alumni, and Executive Education participants.
- To provide a forum for alumni to communicate with one another, for exchange of ideas, information, and discussion about the nonprofit/social enterprise sector.
- To bring alumni social enterprise news—both from inside and outside HBS—and to communicate alumni news and views to each other, to the Alumni Programs Office, and to the HBS Social Enterprise Initiative.
- To offer assistance in the search for career and/or volunteer opportunities in the social sector, including board membership and volunteer consulting, as well as tools to help make alumni involvement in the sector as effective as possible.
The SEAA was created in response to clear student and alumni interest in the nonprofit sector. A cross-sectional survey of about 10,000 HBS alumni revealed that 81% were involved with nonprofits and 57% served on nonprofit boards.
Engagement with the social sector is clearly an integral part of the lives and leadership impact of HBS graduates. The SEAA builds on the mission of the MBA program which is "to develop outstanding business leaders who will contribute to the well-being of society." The Association also complements the HBS Social Enterprise Initiative, a major research, teaching and programmatic effort at HBS that applies innovative business practices and managerial disciplines to drive sustained, high-impact social change.
During the winter of 1999, the steering committee of the SEAA surveyed alumni of both the MBA and the Executive Education programs, to better understand the needs and concerns of alumni interested in social enterprise, and how they might be served by an alumni association. Over 600 alumni returned the survey, and we based the SEAA strategic goals and activities on analysis of these responses.
For the past year, a team of 15 social enterprise oriented alumni have focused on a second phase of the SEAA's growth, leading to SEAA evolving its role into more alumni engagement through social enterprise facilitation and communication. SEAA recently announced a paid membership plan to the alumni base, and intends to plan for a worldwide social enterprise conference in late 2013 when the Club's membership will come together to focus on achieving worldwide social impact over the coming years.