One year of algebra.
Can divesting from fossil fuel companies help combat climate change? How do we incentivize fishermen to conserve the world’s fisheries? What do small loans of $1 to $10 a month have to do with reducing global poverty? Does global trade benefit everyone?
To put it bluntly: Can you make money while doing good?
In this course participants are introduced to key concepts in finance and economics and then asked to think proactively about solving some of the world’s biggest problems – while also probing how profitability and social justice might intersect and at times come into conflict.
Students are introduced to basic economic concepts such as supply and demand, utility, macro- and microeconomics, the time value of money, and the use of indicators. They also engage with key concepts relating to business formation, such as corporate finance, raising funds using debt or equity, and corporate accounting.
Participants begin to see some of the largest social problems we face today as essentially economic challenges – and are then asked, through a mix of projects, debates, field trips, and case studies, to think of potential solutions.
Lectures and in-class work are complemented by guest speakers from fields such as cryptocurrencies, social enterprise, non-profit finance, and start-up labs. While the bulk of assignments will be completed during class, students should expect to devote some time outside of the classroom to preparing for debates and for the final project, a social enterprise pitch competition
Kim Gittleson is a senior broadcast journalist with the BBC in London, where she produces a daily global business show for American public radio audiences, in addition to travelling frequently around the globe for stories. She has worked as a business journalist for the past decade, reporting domestically and internationally for the BBC, Bloomberg, Freakonomics, the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Slate, and other publications. Kim was the Wiegers Fellow at Columbia Business School, from which she received an M.B.A. in 2017 with Dean's Honors and Distinction. She was also one of ten business journalists to be awarded a Knight-Bagehot Fellowship in business journalism from Columbia's Journalism School, from which she received an M.S. in 2016. She graduated with a B.A. from Harvard with honors and spent a year teaching at Al. I. Cuza University in Iasi, Romania, as a Fulbright Scholar.