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Santa Clara University Executive MBA Students Team With Miller Center to Bring Silicon Valley Marketing Savvy to Social Enterprises

SCU's Executive MBA program has partnered with SCU's social enterprise accelerator to bring students real-world experience supporting social entrepreneurs with marketing needs across products, services, and supply chains on a global scale.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (November 4, 2021) 

Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business Executive MBA students, in partnership with Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, are providing “Silicon Valley” marketing expertise to social enterprises in emerging, global markets and gaining real-world ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) experience.

Announced today, the partnership between the two Santa Clara University (SCU) entities is designed to support social entrepreneurs with their marketing needs across products, services, and supply chains. The program enables students to gain valuable experience in sustainable development and/or compliance -- experience that will serve them well in corporate boardrooms.

“Our students are the future CEOs and executives of Silicon Valley companies that have an international presence. Being able to lead in the global economy and demonstrate the ability to succeed in today’s socially conscience environment is going to be critical to their career success and to the success of the Valley’s business infrastructure,” said Dr. Kumar Sarangee, Santa Clara’s director of executive MBA.

Under the program, Executive MBA students are paired with global social entrepreneurs who are alumni of Miller Center’s renowned accelerators, designed to scale social enterprises and their impact more quickly and successfully. The student teams, under the tutelage of marketing professor Charles Byers, develop targeted marketing programs that address each enterprise’s specific challenges.

“This collaboration asks students to apply what they’ve learned in the sterile classroom to a dynamic situation that has real-world outcomes and consequences,” professor Byers explained.

Participating social entrepreneurs lead enterprises that measure success by both financial results and social or environmental impact in areas such as climate resilience, clean energy, safe water, climate-smart agriculture, and women’s economic empowerment. 

“This partnership reflects a commitment to social entrepreneurs at the frontlines of lifting people out of poverty,” said Brigit Helms, executive director, Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship. “Miller Center’s collaboration with Santa Clara University’s Executive MBA program further enhances the global work we are doing to accelerate social entrepreneurship and scale its impact.”

The partnership leverages the mission and values among the three entities. Leavey School of Business’s EMBA program seeks to develop innovative and entrepreneurial leaders that can successfully impact the triple bottom line of people, profit, and planet. This is in line with SCU’s learning values, particularly in its pursuit to integrate academic reflection and client experience in the classroom and the global community. These goals also complement Miller Center’s work and its belief that social entrepreneurship is leading the way in transforming markets for good and lifting people out of poverty through innovative solutions that tackle the world’s most pressing social problems.

Santa Clara University’s Executive MBA program is currently ranked #13 in the U.S. by US News & World Report, and achieved that position by building the program on an experiential pedagogy that exposes program participants to business theories, strategies, and practices that they can immediately apply to their current day-to-day responsibilities. In doing so, the program has quickly gained a solid reputation as the prep school for tomorrow’s Silicon Valley leaders.

The collaboration was piloted last spring in Executive MBA’s “Marketing Strategies Course” and is the brainchild of the program’s faculty director, Dr. Kumar Sarangee, and Miller Center’s senior director of efficiency and learning, Andy Lieberman. 32 students developed marketing plans for six social entrepreneurs, including a solar water pump company in Nepal and a venture in Uganda working to empower small-scale coffee farmers. 

Quantitative and qualitative feedback from both the students and social entrepreneurs will be tracked in an effort to continuously refine and enhance the program. 

About Leavey Business School Executive MBA Program

Santa Clara University's 20-month Executive MBA program, housed in the Leavey School of Business, provides the flexibility required by today’s executive candidates. Above-and-beyond a required core curriculum that has been designed according to current needs & trends in Silicon Valley, students personalize their education through a number of innovative electives. The program goes beyond the traditional “lecture and learn” format to feature a number of experiential elements that fulfill the needs of both the student and business community.

About Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship

Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship is the foremost university-based social enterprise accelerator in the world. With an emphasis on climate resilience and women’s economic empowerment, we accelerate social entrepreneurship to eliminate global poverty. Located at Santa Clara University (SCU), we have served more than 1,300 social entrepreneurs, engaged 162 SCU students in field research, and currently work with more than 300 business leaders from around the world who participate as mentors in our programs.

About Santa Clara University

Founded in 1851, Santa Clara University sits in the heart of Silicon Valley—the world’s most innovative and entrepreneurial region. The University’s stunningly landscaped 106-acre campus is home to the historic Mission Santa Clara de Asís. SCU has among the best four-year graduation rates in the nation and is rated by PayScale in the top 1 percent of universities with the highest-paid graduates. SCU has produced elite levels of Fulbright Scholars as well as four Rhodes Scholars. With undergraduate programs in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, and graduate programs in six disciplines, the curriculum blends high-tech innovation with social consciousness grounded in the tradition of Jesuit, Catholic education. For more information see

About Leavey School of Business

Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, one of the most dynamic business environments in the world, the Leavey School of Business combines academic excellence in the 450-year Jesuit tradition, with an energetic, innovative spirit that typifies the region. Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business offers one of the nation's best graduate business programs ranked No. 13 Executive MBA by U.S. News & World Report, No. 20 ranked Evening MBA by U.S. News & World Report, and No. 40 ranked Online MBA by U.S. News & World Report. Our Undergraduate Business programs rank in the Top 10% in the nation, ranked No. 49 by U.S. News & World Report. For more information, visit


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