Business School Connection

Business School Connection

If we can affect the flow of critically needed resourses flowing to non school tutor/mentor programs we can affect the quality of their operations and the impact they and the volunteers who participate in these programs have on the growth of inner-city youth from first grade to first job.

Retail industries support hundreds of stores in hundreds of locations with a central office planning and advertising strategy. The goal of the Tutor/Mentor Connection is to create a virtual corporate office where many people and organizations are working to support the operations of many tutor/mentor programs in Chicago and other cities. Unleashing the talent of students in high school, college and graduate schools is one way of obtaining the on-going resources needed to support this strategy.

The Business School Connection is an concept strategy created by the Tutor Mentor Connection in the mid 1990s. It's goal is to create a link between business schools and tutor mentor organizations around the nation where business schools and their students use the skills they are learning in an on-going effort to increase visibility and raise operating dollars and volunteers to support volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs in the city where a business school is located, and in other parts of the country. The T/MC believes that MBA students have unique ways of thinking and valuable connections that can be used to channel monetary and in-kind resources to tutor mentor organizations.

This is a strategy that the Tutor/Mentor Connection has been developing since 1993. One example of its success is a growing Lawyers Lending a Hand to Youth program in the Chicago legal community, in which lawyers and judges are raising visibility, dollars and volunteers for tutor/mentor programs throughout Chicago. In 2007 this program awarded $240,000 in grants to 31 different Chicago programs, including a $30,000 grant to the Tutor/Mentor Connection. In 2008, despite the bad economy, this group donated $217,000 to 27 different Chicago programs, including a repeat grant of $30,000 to the T/MC. In 2009 another $200,000 was awarded, but the T/MC was not refunded. Our Cabrini Connections program did receive $5,000 in continued funding.

Thus, as we launch the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC and head in to 2012 our aim is that programs like Lend A Hand continue to grow and give operating grants to volunteer-based tutoring and mentoring programs in Chicago and other cities, but that we also build commitments in these groups to provide on-going funding to the Tutor/Mentor Connection and other intermediary groups that need to operate in each city.

If we can enlist a sponsor and two or three teams of students from Northwestern, Loyola, DePaul, the University of Chicago, Duke, Stanford, UCLA, Harvard or other high profile business schools to adopt this strategy and work to raise month from alumni, local businesses, and faith communities, they could raise more than a million dollars per year to fund tutor/mentor programs in Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and other cities around the country, which would lead to an increase in effectiveness and impact of these programs in each city.

There are multiple reasons why this link is mutually beneficial:

1) Business schools have an interest in achieving diversity in their programs. By mentoring students from disadvantaged communities at an early age, its more likely that these students will make it to the business school application stage later in life.

2) Business schools have an interest in making connections with their surrounding communities. Many prominent business schools such as Yale School of Management (New Haven), University of Chicago (South Side of Chicago), Wharton School of Business (Philadelphia) and Stanford Graduate School of Business (East Palo Alto) are all within close proximity of such areas.

3) Firms that recruit from business schools are also looking to diversify their employee base. These firms need to support tutor mentor programs early on to create a pipeline of talent and should collaborate with business schools to do so.

4) Universities are being encouraged to engage strategically with their communities, by leaders such as former President Jimmy Carter.

I found an article on the Harvard Business Review that I feel is really important reading for anyone thinking about this concept of Business School Connection. The article is titled Strategy & Society: The Link Between Competitive Advantage and Corporate Social Responsibility. Written by Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer.

This link provides an overview:
I did a Google search using the title and Michael Porter's name and found a free copy that I could download and read. You can learn to apply these concepts if you become a volunteer with the Tutor/Mentor Connection, and if you form a business school team at your university and help us organize this Business School Connection.

Formation of Business School Connection

The Business School Connection concept was initiated in the mid 1990s by the Tutor/Mentor Connection in its efforts to increase support for volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs. It is one of several leadership strategies shown in the Tutor/Mentor Institute web site, which are aimed at attracting leaders from every industry, from hospitals and universities, and from faith groups. In 2006 a Net Impact intern from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, helped develop this project and launched this wiki as a planning platform. Net Impact is an international nonprofit organization whose mission is to make a positive impact on society by growing and strengthening a community of new leaders who use business to improve the world. The connection was specifically formed from the Board Fellows Program, which provides business school students with the opportunity to sit on the board of a local nonprofit and complete a strategic project for the nonprofit.

Goal of Business School Connection

In order for non school, volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs to be available in more places, we need to overcome the challenges of finding consistent funding for operations, innovation, and constant process improvement in thousands of locations. By creating a Program Locator Directory listing the majority of Chicago Tutor/Mentor programs, and showing where they are located in the city, the T/MC enables leaders from many industries to lead advertising-type strategies that draw volunteers, donors and other needed resources to all programs in the city. This reverses the process of every single program competing with every other program for these resources.

By creating maps showing poverty and locations of poorly performing schools in Chicago, the T/MC provides a decision-support platform that can be used by any business, university, faith group, or political leader to help support the growth of volunteer-based tutoring/mentoring in neighborhoods where they have reasons to be strategically involved (facilities, employees, access routes) or where they choose to be involved for leadership reasons.

Thus, the goal of the Business School Connection is to unleash the talent of Business School Students in different cities, who will use the business marketing skills they are learning to raise awareness, and recruit volunteers and raise dollars for tutor/mentor programs in the cities where each university is located. Thus, each Business School Team will become an intermediary, using business marketing skills to connect volunteers, leaders, donors with tutor/mentor programs throughout big cities like Chicago.

One potential avenue for this is to have a competition amongst business schools. The idea would be that teams of business school students would write marketing plans for tutoring and mentoring programs in their communities. The teams would then implement the plan over a specified time period. At the end of this period, a panel of judges will evaluate which team has been the most successful in raising awareness, resources, and volunteers. The winning team will receive a monetary award to match.

Business school students are a renewable resource that is replenished every two years. If these programs are sustainable, then tutor mentor programs will benefit tremendously by having an annual source of funding that distributes to programs throughout the geographic range of a city. By recognizing the good work some people do then others may be motivated to duplicate. Linking individual social efforts can magnify the impact.

We're now seeking new students to join this project.

We hope to recruit from the list of top 50 business schools in the USA, shown below, or from lesser known schools who want to demonstrate top 50 thinking and leadership. We also hope that students from other countries will join this project, focusing it's impact on poverty and youth development issues in cities like London, Paris, New Delhi, Sydney, etc. One way to get involved is to join the on-line discussion of this topic, hosted in the T/MC Business School Connection Forum.

Another forum where members from Northwestern, Michigan, IIT and other universities can connect and brainstorm these strategies is the groups section at

If you're interested in being a leader who helps shape this idea into a real strategy that has an impact in every major city in the world, introduce yourself in these forums and let's see how your time and talent can move this vision forward.

Tutor Mentor Institute, LLC

Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC will be the parent organization for the Business School Connection, as of July 2011. The organization plays a vital role in generating interest for tutor mentor organizations everywhere, using a four-part strategy based on concepts of knowledge management, innovation, and business advertising/marketing. The emphasis on Internet blogs and forums is to generate discussion. The more people thinking about these issues, the greater the possibility the thinkers convert into actors. The end goal is to generate resources (donations of time and in-kind, as well as volunteers) and awareness for tutor mentor organizations. Education is the root cause of many social problems. By improving education opportunities, TMC hopes to improve outcomes for the students involved, and as such, improve communities.

Evidence supporting the links between all these pieces in the chain is difficult to come by and typically pieced together from multiple sources. However, organizations such as Tutor / Mentor Connection are learning how to document the data so it can be tracked, and the connection to long-term social improvements verified.

Use of Mapping Software for Tutor Mentor and Business School Connections

TMC is also unique in using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to create maps of poverty areas of Chicago to identify where the areas of need are in a city and where resources are located. This mapping software illustrates that there frequently is a startling disconnect between these two locations. TMC has found that having a listing of area organizations and resources is valuable for both volunteers and those in need.

Additional Information

Top 50 Business Schools as ranked by US News and World Reports

Existing Business School Competitions with a Focus on Social Responsibility

McGinnis Venture Competition, Carnegie Mellon for sustainable technology
JP Morgan Good Venture Competition for community asset development, youth education and community life
Thunderbird Sustainable Innovation Summit for economically, environmentally and socially sound business practices
Leeds Net Impact Case Competition for sustainable business practices and financial returns
Social E-Challenge at Stanford University for ventures addressing social or environmental problems with a quantifiable return
Sustainable Venture Capital Investment Competition for "triple bottom line" of financial profitability, environmental integrity and social equity

Business School Involvement in Social Responsibility

HBS Social Enterprise Club
Stanford GSB Social Enterprise Club
Wharton Net Impact
MIT Sloan Socially Reponsible Business Club
Kellogg Social Impact Club
Chicago GSB Net Impact
Tuck Nonprofit Club
Columbia Social Enterprise Club
Stern Social Enterprise Association
Michigan Ross School of Business Net Impact
Duke Fuqua Social Impact Club
UVA Darden Net Impact Club
Cornell Johnson Community Impact
Cornell Johnson Net Impact
Yale SOM Net Impact
UCLA Anderson Net Impact
Carnegie Mellon Tepper Net Impact
UNC Kenan-Flagler Net Impact
UT Austin McCombs Net Impact
USC Marshall Net Impact
Purdue Krannert Net Impact
Indiana Kelley Net Impact
Georgetown McDonough Net Impact
GA Tech Net Impact
University of Maryland Smith Net Impact
University of Minnesota Carlson Net Impact
Michigan State University Broad Net Impact
University of Washington Net Impact
University of Wisconsin Net Impact
Washington University in St. Louis Olin Net Impact
Penn State Smeal Net Impact
Vanderbilt Owen Net Impact
University of Rochester Simon Net Impact
Boston College Carroll Students for Corporate Citizenship
Notre Dame Mendoza Net Impact
Babson Net Impact
Boston University Net Impact
Brigham Young Marriott Net Impact
Tulane Freeman Net Impact
University of California at Davis Net Impact
Rice University Net Impact
Wake Forest Net Impact

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