Students building businesses at the Bottom of the Pyramid

A US MBA Program has as its centerpiece a practicum where student teams build businesses at the Bottom of the Pyramid. They view those at the Bottom of the Pyramid as customers and partners, rather than charity cases, and build businesses to meet their needs and solve environmental problems.  Students work on these ventures for all 18 months of the program, including 8-10 weeks abroad during the summer semester.  Many of these student ventures continue after graduation.

Colorado State UniversityTo develop the education of globally responsible leaders, we at CASE, Colorado State University, direct our attention – and that of our students – to the Bottom of the Pyramid. This means focusing on the poorest part of the global population and seeing them as customers and partners rather than charity cases. It means building businesses to meet their needs and solve environmental problems as opposed to making them worse. Our students work on a variety of ventures for the entire 18 months of their program, including 8‐10 weeks abroad during the summer semester. It is testament to the integrity of these students and their belief in the cause that many of these ventures continue after graduation.

The Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise (GSSE) program provides students with graduate classes in traditional business disciplines: marketing, finance, accounting, project management, and human resources. But each course has been specifically designed for this program, and all emphasize the international aspects and non‐profit issues with a focus on new approaches and solutions to these worldwide issues.

An important component of the GSSE MBA program is the summer practicum after their first two semesters on campus. Collaborating in teams of three or four students, GSSE Enterprise Teams work on projects identified by many other organizations both domestic and international, including PCI and The Nature Conservancy. In this way, we, and they, endeavor to improve the world we all live in.


Filed in: Institutions as role models, Issue-centered learning, Reflective practice and fieldwork
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