Carlson School of Management

University of Minnesota, USA


Driving “Business as a Force for Good” through High Impact Research



Located in the heart of the Twin Cities within one of the US’s most dynamic business centers resides the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. At the Carlson School, we believe in Business as a Force for Good. This is a vision for the school that came about organically. Born in part from our Minnesota values, and in part based on the distinct strengths of our school, Business as a Force for Good is an idea that resonates with our key constituencies: faculty, students, alumni and corporate partners.

What is Business as a Force for Good? Business opens the doors of opportunity through employment; it provides meaning through work and brings people from different cultures and thought-worlds together in pursuit of a common cause. Business drives innovation and economic growth across our state, the nation and the world. We believe the Carlson School is uniquely positioned to develop future leaders who will drive Business as a Force for Good, thanks to our engagement with the extraordinary community that surrounds us and the values Minnesota represents.

This idea of Business as a Force for Good is embedded in how and where we communicate as a school. Whether it be our Discovery at Carlson series which focuses on faculty research that fills our social media channels to the larger than life posters which decorate the walls of our buildings, this theme is front and center. Recently we have started messaging Business as a Force for Good more explicitly in our videos such as the launch video for our capital campaign. Additionally, in 2017 one of our MBA students was commissioned to create a mural on the subject and was featured in our holiday video.

True to its organic origins, Business as a Force for Good has become an underpinning of the work for many faculty. While there are no direct incentives or special awards for faculty to engage in high-impact research (solving pressing society and business problems), they are rallying around the idea. Some specific examples of our faculty’s efforts and research reflecting this vision include the following:

  • Kingshuk Sinha, Department Chair and Mosaic Company-Jim Prokopanko Professor of Corporate Responsibility, worked on research which focused on not-for-profit organizations (NPOs) and how they play a critical role in enabling health care delivery to underserved communities worldwide. The study yielded a delivery framework that integrates and highlights the interdependencies between key facets of care (affordability, access, and awareness) that would in turn improve the delivery of surgical care to underserved communities. The empirical setting of the study was surgical care delivery to children with congenital heart disease in the impoverished Gansu province of China.
  • Research by Karthik Natarajan, Assistant Professor – Supply Chain and Operations, explores the dynamics of humanitarian aid funding and examines the impact of funding delays, which are vexing challenges for not-for-profit organizations. His work also suggests innovative new models to help ease the problem.
  • The Carlson Analytics Lab is an experiential learning program that matches partner companies with teams of graduate students skilled in data visualization, machine learning, predictive analytics, and other data science methods with faculty serving as advisors to the student teams, providing expertise on analytics approaches and techniques. Recently, Masters in Business Analytics students worked alongside Hennepin County (home of Minneapolis) officials to better predict when evictions may occur and help the county make intervention techniques to prevent people losing their homes. Homelessness can dramatically alter someone’s life, sometimes for years, and intervention to prevent eviction has a huge impact on people’s lives.
  • Professor Myles Shaver, who holds the Pond Family Chair in the Teaching and Advancement of Free Enterprise Principles, has research interests on corporate strategy choices and their impact on performance. His upcoming book, Headquarters Economy: Managers, Mobility, and Migration, dives into how metropolitan areas with a high concentration of corporate headquarters, such as the Twin Cities, attract and retain talent. A central insight of Prof. Shaver’s research is that professional managerial talent is a determinant of regional vitality that has largely been overlooked.