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AGSM MBA (Social Impact)

The MBA (Social Impact) is offered as part of the MBAX program. MBAX offers the ability to specialise within your MBA, whilst studying online.

  • Overview
  • Structure
  • Entry requirements
  • How to apply
  • Student experience
  • FAQs

Why choose this degree? 

  • Highly regarded program for not-for-profit managers, social entrepreneurs and key government professionals
  • Understand the dynamics of the social economy, and how business, social enterprise, government, foundations and community organisations can work together
  • Build skills and knowledge in social entrepreneurship, innovation, investment and governance 
  • Opportunity to network with peers across the corporate, government and not-for-profit sectors
  • Acquire the essential knowledge, frameworks and best practice to lead sustainable and systemic change

Who is this degree for?

  • Managers and professionals working in the not-for-profit sector, or in social impact roles in the corporate sector
  • Senior public administrators, public service executives and policy managers
  • Anyone seeking executive roles where they can make a social or environmental impact

Job and career prospects

  • Executive roles in not-for-profit and community organisations
  • Public sector managers and leaders
  • Social policy managers, foundation and social responsibility mangers in corporate sector
  • Social entrepreneurs

The AGSM MBA (Social Impact) is a part-time program and can be completed in anywhere between 2 - 6 years.

Social Impact courses are delivered by the Centre for Social Impact (CSI), a collaboration between UNSW, Swinburne University of Technology, and The University of Western Australia. CSI is supported by a combination of corporate, philanthropic, and governmental organisations, with the objective of taking a systemic approach to Australia’s social change challenges. These courses are available to students undertaking the MBAX (Social Impact).

Core courses – choose six

MBAX9100 Introduction to Management

This course provides students with a broad introduction to the study of business and management, while at the same time developing important academic and study skills that are required of students engaged in postgraduate business education. This course examines the broad context of business and enterprises, by focussing on issues at the level of an organisation as well as the role of the individual in an organisation. Students who have been away from study for a period of time and/or are new to the area of ‘business studies’ may also benefit from the course.

Course outline
MBAX9114 Marketing Management

Marketing Management is a course designed to introduce fundamental marketing concepts, theories and analytical tools to managers working in today's highly competitive and complex business environment. The course places particular emphasis on the management of profitable exchange processes in the context of modern organisations and covers a diverse range of marketing topics including marketing strategy and planning, the marketing environment and how to monitor it, consumer and organisational behaviour, marketing research, market segmentation and development of target markets, new product development, pricing, distribution, promotion and international marketing. Participants are required to tackle real life marketing problems and demonstrate their ability to apply classroom knowledge to their own work situations.

Course outline
MBAX9120 Accounting: A User Perspective

Accounting - A User Perspective is designed for those who use accounting information, rather than those whose task it is to prepare it. The focus is on the understanding and use of accounting information as well as the composition and meaning of the financial statements. The course covers accounting reports prepared for external users as well as accounting reports used by managers to plan, control and make decisions.

Course outline
MBAX9122 Economics in Management Practice

An understanding of economics is essential for the long-term viability of business. The economic environment in which business operates will have a vital bearing on day-to-day decisions. Economics in Management Practice lays the foundations for such knowledge. It provides a basic introduction to those economic principles that are important for business, as well as providing general economic literacy to enable participants to read and understand economic reports and to be able to communicate with and understand business people, economists and policy makers.

Course outline
MBAX9123 Corporate Finance

This course stresses the fundamentals of corporate financial decision making with special reference to investment, financing and dividend distribution. The course develops distinct conceptual frameworks and specialised tools for solving real-world financial problems at both the personal and corporate level. Examples include funds management, mergers and acquisitions, capital raisings, portfolio selection of financial securities, public floats and the pricing of assets in the stock market. Illustrations from real-life corporate practices are used to highlight the importance and relevance of financial management to the realisation of personal and corporate financial objectives.

Course outline
MBAX9125 Fundamentals of People Management

Fundamentals of People Management examines the different ways in which organisations approach the management of their employees. We explore the behaviour of people at work, and the impact this has on others and on the organisation itself. We consider the relationship between people management and the organisation's strategy and locate the management of 'people at work' within various theoretical, philosophical, historical and regulatory contexts.

Course outline
MBAX9131 Leadership in a Complex Environment

Leadership In A Complex Environment addresses the need for, and value of, leadership in complex environments characterised by technology, sustainability and the need to operate across boundaries. It introduces students to contemporary models, concepts and theoretical frameworks of leadership and examines different forms of leaderships, including emergent, sustainability, cross-boundary and transformational. The course facilitates the development of personalised leadership plans for each student using theoretical knowledge. It also provides practical guidance to help students strengthen the leadership abilities they need to address business problems, exert influence and drive change across a wide range of organisations.

Course outline
MBAX9135 Business Analytics

This is a core course in Business Analytics, which enables organizations to make quicker, better, and more intelligent decisions to create business value in the broadest sense. This course addresses the context of business analytics and the management actions required for organizations to manage business analytics such that they can create value from their data and make progress on the transformational journey to becoming data-driven. Emphasis will be placed on the managing and sourcing data, the analytic process and the role of leadership in supporting the organizational and cultural change associated with the transformation to becoming a data-driven organization.

As part of the business analytics process you will build predictive models. This requires a basic understanding of statistics and you will therefore be required to study the material on basic statistics provided by Harvard online training. IBM’s Watson Analytics will be used to build predictive models and communicate analytic insights.

Course outline
MBAXxxxx Strategy**

More information coming soon.

Find the course outline PDF for this course in the archives

** This course is pending approval.

Social Impact specialisation courses – choose five 

COMM5703 Social Impact Investment, MG2 2016

Major changes are reshaping the role of social investment both internationally and in the Australian context:

  • Global economic realignments, the privatisation of community services
  • New patterns of wealth distribution and of inter-generational wealth transfer
  • Greater expectations of the role of corporate citizenship and of corporate philanthropy

These forces are also extending the meaning of philanthropy by encouraging the growth of new forms of social investment, in which commercial enterprise is being shaped by social as well as financial goals, to create innovative, and increasingly hybrid, models of sustainable community services, environmental protection and social development, as well as new business opportunities and markets.

This course will introduce the history, core concepts and current issues in the fields of social investment and the new and innovative forms of fundraising, philanthropy and social bonds that are emerging. It will also examine patterns of financial investment, philanthropic giving, ethical and philosophical perspectives and the management and legal aspects of social investment programs.

Find the course outline PDF for this course in the archives

COMM5704 Demonstrating Social Impact, MG2 2016

Demonstrating Social Impact provides an overview and introduction to evaluation and social impact assessment, the underpinning principles of evaluation and social impact assessment and examines some of the key social impact measurement approaches increasingly used by leading Third sector organisations in Australia and internationally, including Logic Models such as LogFrame; Social Return on Investment (SROI); and Social Accounting and Audit (SAA). Other frameworks used to measure the impact of corporate social initiatives will also be discussed.

The course will provide the knowledge and tools necessary to understand and apply social impact frameworks and methodologies at a project and organisational level.

Find the course outline PDF for this course in the archives

COMM5706 Design for Social Innovation

Social innovation, the outcome of the work of social entrepreneurs and others can be developed in almost any context. It is often a response to an identified problem, issue or opportunity. Design thinking and methods take a whole systems, rather than a silo, approach to offer different perspectives to the traditional business tools.


Design for Social Innovation offers participants the opportunity to learn and apply design tools and methods to real projects with a focus on social outcomes.


This course is an elective subject for the Graduate Certificate in Social Impact, and an elective available for all postgraduate students. It provides an overview and introduction to the role and application of design concepts in social innovation and social enterprise.

The course will provide the knowledge and tools necessary to understand and apply design principles at a project or organisational level.

Find the course outline PDF for this course in the archives

COMM5707 Social Impact Field Project

This course is an individual student driven project bringing together learning from the core COMM5708 along with 2 Elective courses. It applies the cumulative learning of students' three previous courses so it cannot be studied until the student has completed three GCSI courses.

This course places students, through negotiation, with an agreed suitable host, in a practical working environment with a social impact focus. Students may choose to work individually, or in a team of two.

Students will work at least one day a fortnight at a host organisation’s premises on a project with a social impact focus agreed between the organisation, the Graduate Certificate in Social Impact Program Director and the student(s).

Suitable projects should come from any of the areas studied in the other Graduate Certificate courses: social enterprises, the measurement of social value creation, social finance, leadership for social impact, corporate responsibility and accountability. The course has no formal classes; all sessions are arranged between the supervisor and the student. The course requires a written interim and final report.

Find the course outline PDF for this course in the archives

COMM5708 Social Impact: Entrepreneurs and Social Innovation

Social Impact: Entrepreneurs and Social Innovation examines the accelerating economic relationship between government, business and the third sector to deliver social (including environmental) value in communities and the way in which this drives social innovation. The course first examines the social economy through the emerging spectrum of organisational forms that generate both social and economic value: from traditional charities, to social enterprises, through to socially responsible business and traditional corporations. It looks at why the traditional boundaries between government, business and the third sector have become blurred and fluid and what that means for the capacity to deliver new forms of social impact.

Second, the course examines trends and drivers re-shaping the dynamics of social impact. It reviews the key changes that have occurred within each of the sectors: the changing role of government from direct provider to enabler; the emergence of corporate responsibility within the business sector; the emergence of social enterprises and socially responsible businesses within the third sector and the consequent implications for leadership; and the emergence of new forms of philanthropy and social investment.

The course examines the ways in which these changes drive social innovation and it concludes with a review of global trends and organisations that effect social change and impact.

Find the course outline PDF for this course in the archives

COMM5709 Corporate Responsibility and Accountability

Corporate Responsibility and Accountability examines how business manages its social, environmental and economic impact on society.

The course first reviews the historical evolution and development of the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Citizenship and why it is now a key part of managing the business enterprise.

Second, the course examines what acting responsibly means for corporations in terms of the market, community, environment, workplace and government. Issues covered include business and human rights, business-community partnerships, corporate philanthropy, the human resource management implications of CSR, business and the environment and businesses’ relationship with government.

Third, the course examines how business accounts for its behaviour and impact in society through sustainability reporting and the role of external assurance and outlines debates on the appropriate role of government policy in either regulating and/or enabling responsible corporate behaviour.

Find the course outline PDF for this course in the archives

COMM5710 Creating Shared Value

Creating Shared Value (CSV) is a business strategy aimed at enhancing a company’s competitiveness through finding business opportunities through addressing social problems. As an organisation and business ethos, CSV seeks greater integration of organisational economic imperatives with the identification of social needs that can be addressed via the expansion of economic markets and business innovation. Complementing existing strategies of corporate philanthropy, corporate social responsibility and sustainability, CSV is aimed at creating shared value by reconceiving products and markets, increasing productivity in the value chain, and enabling development of clusters of stakeholders. This course will examine the fundamentals of CSV and how businesses might co-create sustainable financial and social value.

Find the course outline PDF for this course in the archives

COMM5713 Collaboration for Social Impact

This course examines key concepts and frameworks of sector collaboration and develops your capacities to undertake highly effective collaboration with existing and emerging partners. Primary topic areas include: cross-sectoral leadership, building and sustaining strategic partnerships, creative collaborative management, collaboration dilemmas and tensions and effective collaboration design and implementation. In completing this course, you will gain a deeper understanding of the knowledge and frameworks required to develop and sustain cross sectoral collaborations to achieve social impact and outcomes. You will also have the opportunity to develop a range of skills and competencies that can be applied to build collaborative partnerships with government, business and the third sector within your workplace.

Find the course outline PDF for this course in the archives

COMM5902 Leadership for Social Impact

Leadership for Social Impact is designed for a new generation of leaders

  • Those who seek a leadership career in social enterprises, and those already in the sector who wish to enhance their professional capacity to create social and environmental value through leadership of third sector/not-for-profit organisations
  • Those who aspire to hold executive positions in companies which are committed to maximising social benefit and meeting corporate responsibilities through their products and practices
  • Those who wish to become senior public administrators working with community groups, or public service executives with a responsibility for developing the public policy framework
  • Those individuals and foundations that seek to ensure that their social investment is applied to greatest social impact

The course provides students with an introduction to the challenges and opportunities of leading organisations with the purpose of improving social outcomes.

The course will examine the following areas:

  • Current challenges in achieving social benefit
  • Leadership in the social economy
  • Challenges and opportunities of leadership during a time of inflexion
  • A model of leadership centred on identifying adaptive challenges for leaders
  • Intervention of leaders and practices for more effective and positive social outcomes
  • New forms of organising designed to address breakdowns in the social economy
  • Governance systems and demands
  • Diagnosis of leadership challenges

Find the course outline PDF for this course in the archives

Capstone (required)

MBAX5714 Social Impact Capstone

The main aim of the capstone course is to enable graduates to synthesize all their learning from across the MBAX Social Impact program and, to achieve a common understanding of the degree qualification. The capstone course will add significant value to your Master's degree by building on your knowledge and skills from across the core business discipline courses within the MBAX Social Impact program financial, legal, marketing, etc.) in addition to the specialist knowledge and skills in Social Impact that you have developed throughout your study and professional experience. As a graduate of MBAX (Social Impact) program it is expected that you will be able to perform effectively at a high level across social impact field within either the corporate, social purpose, or government sectors. You should now be able to demonstrate effective leadership and management in the field of Social Impact by combining strong generic strategic management skills with specialist social impact expertise.

Find the course outline PDF for this course in the archives


^Leadership for Social Impact is only available to students who have not selected Leadership in a Complex Environment as a core course

Applicants with a prior undergraduate degree (or equivalent qualification) require a minimum of 2 years professional or managerial work experience. Applicants without a degree will be required to have at least 6 years professional or managerial work experience.

The UNSW English Language requirements apply to this program.

You can apply to the AGSM MBA (Social Impact) program online. Applications are assessed on a session by session basis.

Semester Applications
open
Application
deadline
Classes startClasses finish
Summer Semester, 2017 5 September 2016 9 January 2017 13 February 2017 14 May 2017
Semester 1, 2017 13 February 2017 1 May 2017 29 May 2017 27 August 2017
Semester 2, 2017 29 May 2017 14 August 2017 11 September 2017 10 December 2017

Documentation checklist

Before applying you will need to gather the following supporting documentation:

Please see the AGSM MBA (Executive), MBAX and GCCM Admissions Policy (pdf) for more details on supporting documents and the application process.

Apply online

Please refer to the application process for further details on how to apply.

The AGSM MBA Admissions Selection Committee will review your application. We will advise you of the outcome by email within three weeks of your complete application.

There is a non-refundable online application fee of AUD$100.



The MBA (Social Impact) program is offered entirely online; AGSM @ UNSW Business School becomes your 'mobile campus' - take your course materials with you on business trips and continue to participate in on-line discussions. Students may also opt to take some classes in face-to-face class mode according to preferences and offerings.

Online classes

The MBA (Social Impact) can be studied entirely via interactive online classes through the intuitive, communication tool: Moodle. Whether your class is real or virtual, the emphasis will be on sharing knowledge and skills. Online classes do not require facilitators and participants to be online at the same time, it is asynchronous, enabling contributions to discussions at a time of personal choice. AGSM @ UNSW Business School becomes your 'mobile campus'; take your course materials with you on business trips and continue to participate online. Class facilitators manage the discussion and assess for participation.

Class size

For each course you undertake you will be allocated to a class with typically 25 to 28 co-participants and a class facilitator. Group discussion, either on-line or face-to-face, ensures a sharing of knowledge with fellow students of diverse backgrounds and experience and contact with program staff.

Your class facilitator will lead and guide interaction and participation in the online classroom environment.

Interactive learning areas

You can log into your online class at any time during the week, day or night, to contribute to set learning activities. In an MBA (Social Impact) online class there are four main locations:

  • The announcements where facilitators post notices to the class
  • The forums where facilitators conduct the formal teaching and learning activities in a class
  • The coffee shop where informal discussions among members of the class take place
  • The student profile where each member of the class can introduce themselves and upload a photo

Face-to-face classes

In some cases, certain MBA (Social Impact) courses will be available in face-to-face mode at a UNSW campus, with course selection alternating each session. Both class delivery options are based on the same course material content, and students who undertake face-to-face classes will access our online tool Moodle to download their course materials.

Course materials

The course materials are the starting point to your weekly studies. MBA (Social Impact) course materials are divided into 12 units, one per each teaching week, and include the core concepts, activities for reflection, set readings, reference lists of further readings and detailed information regarding assessment.

It is expected that all participants will have read the week's unit prior to attending class or participating in online class discussion. Course materials are available in three different formats:

  • A PDF via Moodle 4 weeks prior to the commencement of class (typically in the week enrolments close)
  • Approximately one week before classes commence, course materials are available in separate units and you should expect to receive an email from your facilitator in this period
  • For those who prefer a hardcopy, the printed course materials may be purchased from the UNSW Bookshop at cost price plus delivery

Other materials

Many courses also have prescribed textbooks which may be ordered online from the UNSW Bookshop. All participants have access to the vast online resources of the UNSW library, and borrowing rights at your local academic library can usually be arranged.

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Quick facts for students

Program code
8625
Award
MBA (Specialised)
Total Units of Credit (UOC)
72
Study Mode
Face to face
Online
Duration
2-6 years part-time
Commencing semesters
Session 1 - February
Session 2 - May
Session 3 - September
Course fee*
$4,560 (core courses), $4,110 (Social Impact courses)
Program fee (total)*
$52,020 for 2017
* Fees are indicative only

​​​​​​​​​Area of Study

Browse the list of study areas available for postgraduate study

 

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