Sep 7, 2007

Business Schools: more future leaders learn to focus on the poor

Based on the idea that corporations can help lift millions of people out of poverty by turning them into small-scale entrepreneurs and micro-consumers, "Base of the Pyramid" (BOP) theory is rapidly appearing on business school curricula. Business school courses introduce students to the concept that the world's poor represent a huge potential market for products ranging from shampoos and detergents to computers and reading glasses. A survey of 112 business schools covering 21 different countries has revealed a sharp rise in recent years in the number of schools offering courses in BOP theory, reports Alison Damast in the article “BOP theory makes the grade" in BusinessWeek .

While just 13 schools offered such courses in 2001, numbers had risen to about 60 by 2005, with similar rapid growth expected for 2006/07. "Base of the Pyramid" theory has been hailed by some economic experts as a way to help eradicate global poverty. As more and more future leaders openly declare their interest in BOP theory, it is likely to become a staple of business school course work in the years ahead, the author writes.

In fact XLRI last year started an elective on Social Entrepreneurship and apparently after graduation three of the students who took that course are actually pursuing their business ideas.