This fall, the B Corp Clinic kicked off its thirteenth semester with company and coach introductions to students enrolled in MBA 582: Sustainability and Business. The course is taught by Business Sustainability Collaborative (BSC) director, Jessica Thomas. As part of the course, Jenkins MBA and MAC students put into practice what they are learning in the classroom to positively impact these companies and their stakeholders. The students partnered with seven diverse, purpose driven companies for their practicum projects: Carolina Solar Services, One Earth Rising, Crowd Capital, Interloop North America, Jet It LLC, Mananalu, and Biomilq.
The B Corp Clinic, launched in 2015, connects students to local and global for profit businesses to help improve their environmental and social impact. Companies are matched with interdisciplinary teams of students that use the B Impact Assessment or BIA (the certification platform for B Corps) to identify and implement strategies to improve the company’s impact. The B Corp Clinic has worked on 76 semester-long projects with companies ranging from start-ups to multinational corporations, from a broad range of industries.
The Clinic provides a unique opportunity for future business leaders to get hands-on consulting experience and the chance to learn about social and environmental impact assessment and sustainable business models. Over 405 students representing 17 different disciplines have participated in the Clinic from academic institutions including NC State University, Duke University, UNC Chapel Hill University, Elon University, Wake Tech Community College, NC Central University, and Appalachian State University. Students have contributed over 8,000 hours and have worked with companies to make more than 3,000 points of progress on the BIA.
Each company involved with the clinic this semester has an array of goals to accomplish to become B Corp Certified or are trying to improve their impact. A goal of One Earth Rising is to demonstrate the environmental impact that video games can have on the “edu-tainment” industry. Mananalu has a goal of eliminating single use plastic and Biomilq’s mission is to improve infant health. Carolina Solar Services is a maintenance service for solar facilities and Crowd Capital helps families keep their homes and regain financial stability; both have the goal of setting a road map to B Corp certification. Jet It is partnering with the B Corp Clinic to become one of the first sustainable private aviation companies in the US. Interloop NA goals include being an ethical and sustainable business and are partnering with the Clinic to determine if they should become a B corp.
The coaches for the B Corp Clinic are all volunteers with some having multiple semesters of participation as a student and/or a coach. Returning for his fifth semester is Jordan Bowman of Journeymen, Rudha Loganathan is an analytics manager at Eaton, Rejaul Hasan works in global supply assurance at VF, Adam Harris does product management and marketing at CloudBees, and Greg Norton and Caralynn Belza are both representing R+M Agency, Heather Gray from Transnetyx is returning as a third time coach, and Ryan Roth formerly of CREE.
This semester is Nikki Hensley’s fifth semester as the “Student” Lead. Nikki graduated from the Poole College of Management with a Jenkins MBA in 2020 and has continued to be a part of the Business Sustainability Collaborative and the B Corp Clinic while working for the North Carolina Electric Cooperative as an Innovation and Business Development Analyst. In her own words, Nikki “continue[s] to stay involved with the B Corp Clinic to improve local communities and help business leaders achieve their goals, while teaching the next generation of sustainable leaders. So much progress can happen during the course of a semester when a group of passionate individuals come together.”
MBA 582 student and BSC associate, Kara Gravinese shared about her experience “The B Corp Clinic was highly recommended by my MBA colleagues and alumni. The clinic provides a hands-on client experience, working together on the B Impact Assessment. You get a taste for consulting work by assessing the business problem and identifying methods and opportunities to achieve their goals. Our client, Jet It, hopes to achieve B Corp certification status and become a leader in sustainability in the private aviation industry. After my MBA, I’d like to work in a company on sustainability reporting so this is valuable experience for my career development.” The BSC is in the process of developing a proposal for a Jenkins MBA business sustainability certificate that would include courses like MBA 582.