The University of St. Thomas is sending students across the world in hopes that they create meaningful change for some of the world’s poorest people. In January 2017, undergraduate and graduate students will team up in Mumbai, India, a beautiful, cosmopolitan city with a thriving center of commerce and entertainment, which is also home to a large population of impoverished people.
In this city of skyscrapers and slums, students will meet and work with some inspiring people, who are tackling the problems of poverty, illiteracy, environmental sustainability and health care access for the poor, with innovative new solutions. Students will work directly with a social enterprise on a key project and get hands-on experience as changemakers, in an environment where social need is high and social entrepreneurs are answering the call.
“We want students to discover their own inner entrepreneur, whether they identify as one or not,” said Professor Laura Dunham, chair of the Entrepreneurship department. “St. Thomas students are called to make a positive difference in the lives of others, and I’m certain students in this course will do that. They’ll come home with the knowledge and skills of a real changemaker, and do it while making a real difference in the lives of people.”
Students will spend mornings during the first week at S.P. Jain, one of India’s leading business schools, getting an overview of social entrepreneurship in India, in order to understand the problems social entrepreneurs address, the business models they apply and the implementation and growth strategies they pursue. However, the bulk of the course will take place in the field, where students will work in small teams with social entrepreneurs on a project to advance the mission of various social enterprises.
Students will research and analyze a strategic problem, develop and test potential solutions, and write and present a report summarizing their analysis and final set of recommendations. Site visits will also include tours and opportunities for independent exploration.
This course is open to undergraduates of at least sophomore standing and all MBA students. Non-entrepreneurship students are encouraged to apply. The priority application deadline is April 10, 2016, with the final deadline October 1. Students leave Minneapolis January 3, 2017, and depart Mumbai January 26.