Business schools have a responsibility to instigate change, states MIP Dean Federico Frattini

EFMD Blog MIP Politecnico di Milano Business schools instigating change

Stephanie Mullins, Associate Director at specialist business education PR consultancy, BlueSky Education, spoke with Federico Frattini, Dean of MIP Politecnico di Milano in Milan, about the business schools recent ‘B Corp Certification’ – a prestigious recognition awarded to companies for their commitment to building a more inclusive society and continued sustainable development.

“Business schools must increasingly underline their strong role as agents for change committed to building a better and more inclusive society,” said Frattini, who was appointed as Dean of MIP Politecnico di Milano in January 2020, having already had a successful and prominent career at the business school for over 10 years.

“The commitment towards people, society and the environment should be typical of all business schools: parameters linked to sustainability must be included in the organisation’s mission, as a core competence for tomorrows’ decision-makers”.

The goal of combining profit with a search for collective well-being

You could say that MIP Politecnico di Milano are leaders in their role as an institution that is committed to propelling sustainable initiatives. The business school has just been awarded the ‘The B Corp Certification’ – a prestigious recognition awarded to companies for their commitment to sustainable development and building a more inclusive society. MIP Politecnico di Milano is the first Italian and only European business school to have been accredited, and is just one of a few worldwide.

B Corp companies form an international community of organizations with the common goal of combining profit with a search for the collective well-being, and care for the environment and society as a whole. Around 3,400 companies have been awarded this certification, one hundred or so being in Italy.

As Frattini told me, having one’s contribution to a more sustainable future recognised at a time when the world is still facing an unprecedented health emergency, and debates about the development models that brought it on, takes on even greater significance.

The process to receive this certification involved a rigorous assessment to examine the school’s model of governance, its care for human capital, its relationship with its partners and social context, and respect for the environment, and MIP Politecnico di Milano met these requirements in a number of ways.

Companies need to play a bigger part in building a better future for everyone

MIP intends to use its status as a Certified B Corporation to accelerate itself as a sustainable organisation, enhancing their educational methods and training programmes on the topics of purpose, sustainability and inclusivity, whilst also continuing to work with companies to achieve the same goals.

In fact, for many years now, MIP has already been actively involved in research, training and joint projects with companies on topics concerning social responsibility – an essential element that led MIP to undergo this certification in the first place.

Frattini elaborated on this when he told me that as a school, MIP have a full understanding of the role that every company will play in building a better future for everyone. “The purpose of every business will increasingly be re-thought, to give centrality to the role that it wishes to hold in society. Professionals know this, but so do consumers, who are increasingly choosing to work with companies also on the basis of their social commitment. This is why I believe that education will be crucial in training managers capable of picking up this challenge.”

Business Schools have a responsibility to instigate change

Ultimately though, issues such as social responsibility, sustainability, and inclusiveness are not only addressed at MIP, but they are also deep-rooted within the business school’s curriculum. What’s more, as Frattini shared, “sustainable initiatives are at the heart of the philosophy we endeavour to pass on to our students – they act as a compass guiding our choices”.

As well as the quality education, supportive and accessible student services, and external career and service opportunities that the school provides, it is these core values of sustainability that have the most profound impact on the overall student experience at MIP. Inclusivity is at the heart of the school, particularly towards traditionally underrepresented groups, encouraging them to progress to completion and achieve economic independence.

“Sustainability is a principle responsibility for an institute like us that operates in research and trains young professionals and managers” said Frattini, and looking towards the future, there is no doubt that MIP’s status as a B Corp certified company will only continue to direct its actions in the field of sustainability.  The institutions’ long-term plans include expanding initiatives that can produce an impact in the areas of accessibility, inclusion, the well-being of people, and environmental sustainability. This is just the beginning for MIP Politecnico di Milano.