July 06, 2021
Social enterprises aim to change the world for the better. Finding long-term solutions for problems in education, health, poverty, employment, climate change and environmental protection is the main goal of social entrepreneurs. Hence, educating TUM School of Management students in entrepreneurial skills to solve today’s social issues is important to create a sustainable future. For this purpose, our master’s program offers the key module “Advanced Topics in Innovation & Entrepreneurship: Social Entrepreneurship Lab” to teach our students how to become responsible leaders of tomorrow.
Approaching the world’s pressing social problems with innovative and pragmatic strategies is a key talent of social entrepreneurs. Aiming for social change, social enterprises put their main focus on improving society while maximizing their profit.
To drive change, social entrepreneurs also constantly seek to educate themselves and other people to learn more about sustainable development and to improve their skills to reach their goals.
The pioneer of social entrepreneurship is the American entrepreneur Bill Drayton, who coined the term in the 1970s. Drayton is the founder of Ashoka, an organization that supports and fosters social entrepreneurs all over the globe. Another famous example is Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank, who visited the TUM in 2020 to talk about social businesses and entrepreneurship. The Bangladeshi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 in recognition of his introduction of microfinance and microcredit to help people find their way out of poverty.
Nowadays, more and more social start-ups are emerging. Brands like Recup or Polarstern Energie, which address environmental issues, have become successful in driving their causes forward. Recup developed a reusable cup system to reduce waste and wants to revolutionize the packaging industry. Polarstern Energie is a Munich based enterprise that promotes green energy to support the energy transition. What both have in common is a strong entrepreneurial spirit and the ability to think outside the box and develop innovative ideas to actively bring about social change. Those are qualities we want to impart to our students at TUM School of Management.
In the key module “Social Entrepreneurship Lab” we enhance our students’ knowledge and skills to become the social entrepreneurs of the future. In a practice-based seminar, our master’s students learn more about social entrepreneurship and apply their knowledge to real cases by collaborating with social enterprises from Munich and all around the world. Thereby, our students help find solutions for cross-disciplinary social issues and support the enterprises in their daily work. That is why the course is open to students from various Munich universities, the Technical University of Munich (TUM), the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) and the Munich University of Applied Sciences (HM) and is run together with representatives from the Social Entrepreneur Akademie (SEA). With its high level of research opportunities and responsible management training, the program is on track to educate sustainable and social entrepreneurs capable of actively changing our future.
June 15, 2021
Becoming a Successful Sustainable Entrepreneur: How a Key Module Can Kick-start Your Sustainable Career Path
At TUM School of Management, we are on a mission to achieve sustainable development and the Sustainable Development Goals 2030. Guiding entrepreneurship towards sustainability is essential for that. As part of our master’s programs, we established the key module ‘Sustainable Entrepreneurship: Theoretical Foundations’. In this seminar, we go beyond a simplistic win-win rhetoric, sharing profound knowledge in sustainable entrepreneurship research, discussing the difficulties of balancing the triple bottom line, the gap between sustainable entrepreneurial intentions and action, the role of culture, gender and diversity.
We spoke with Clara Reinartz, Fabienne Demmerle and Kristina Stojanovska, three of our students, about their views on sustainability in teaching at TUM School of Management.
An entrepreneurial university teaching sustainability
Fabienne Demmerle first discovered her interest in sustainability in the first semester of her master’s program, when she learned about sustainable entrepreneurship in her Qualitative Research course with Prof. Belz, who holds the Chair of Corporate Sustainability and is the PRME Sustainability Manager. Clara Reinartz on the other hand found her fascination for the possibility to generate social impact with entrepreneurial means through an internship. Through her sociology studies, she had already acquired theoretical knowledge about the dynamics of societal change, social justice, and inclusion as well as environmental sociology. Entrepreneurship, however, had remained uncharted territory for her. “Since TUM School of Management is known for being an entrepreneurial university, I figured it would be a good place to fill this knowledge gap,” Clara explains. With the Master in Consumer Science at the TUM School of Management, she found a program in which she could learn about simultaneously addressing social as well as ecological problems with one business concept.
Kristina Stojanovska also had no experience with any academic courses targeting sustainability prior to starting her master’s degree at TUM School of Management. She says: “I really wanted to get a good grasp of the basics, both in terms of theory and practice. The module ‘Sustainable Entrepreneurship: Theoretical Foundations’ offered a comprehensive introduction to the theories underpinning sustainable entrepreneurship.”
Within the course, the emphasis on group work and practical exercises ensures that lessons are interactive and that different opinions and approaches are taken into account. Kristina continues: “Our classes are very diverse and there are always multiple opinions to be heard.” Clara adds: “On the one hand, I have gained a lot of necessary hands-on knowledge to get involved with entrepreneurship. On the other hand, I have personally really benefitted from looking at the phenomenon of sustainable and social entrepreneurship through a theoretical lens as an emerging field in research.” Fabienne agrees as she explains: “I thoroughly enjoyed the combination of theory and practice throughout the program.”
To ensure that our students get to individualize their timetables according to their interests, all our master’s programs offer a variety of courses to choose from, allowing students to select what suits their interests. Clara, for instance, mainly focused on sustainable entrepreneurship but complemented those seminars with classes such as Environmental Policy, Renewable Energy Systems in the Global South and Business Ethics. “This flexibility in the selection of courses led to a diverse course composition and allowed me to network and get to know people from different fields. Especially in the context of sustainability, which requires holistic approaches and solutions, this interactive and interdisciplinary teaching is important,” Clara states. Student initiatives around sustainability complement the teaching aspect with a support system for students who want to take their knowledge a step further and start their own businesses.
“Choosing the sustainability module of the master’s program will equip you with some valuable tools,” says Fabienne. Kristina concludes: “If a student is motivated to make use of all the resources provided by TUM School of Management and the respective program, they are well on their way to becoming a successful sustainable entrepreneur.”
June 2, 2021
TUM’s Sustainability Hotspot
Today, one billion people lack access to electricity, making it one of the grand societal challenges of our time. As a PRME signatory, we are striving towards a sustainable future through responsible management education – including not only the energy transformation in industrialized nations, but also the development of new, sustainable energy systems in regions that have so far been completely undersupplied. Following our mission to create solutions on our journey towards sustainability at TUM, we founded the TUM SEED Center at the beginning of 2020. Whether you want to expand your knowledge or directly contribute to the topic of “Sustainable Energies, Entrepreneurship and Development in the Global South” – this is the place for you.
TUM SEED offers higher education at the convergence of sustainable energies and entrepreneurship while conducting research to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
As a Center of Excellence in Research and Teaching, TUM SEED offers higher education at the convergence of sustainable energies and entrepreneurship while conducting research to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. With the long-term initiative, we at TUM aim at contributing to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal No. 7: access to clean and affordable energy for everyone.
The core team of the TUM SEED Center is composed of six great minds at TUM: Prof. Dr. Frank-Martin Belz as Director, Johannes Winklmaier as Project Coordinator, Prof. Dr. Walter de Vries as Director of the PhD Program, Clement Bossard as Assistant for the Living Labs, Michelle Zorombory as Assistant Project Coordinator, and Sofia Abid for Communications.
Research and teaching with impact in Living Labs
By creating “Living Labs”, the TUM SEED Center and its partner universities provide rural areas in the Global South with sustainable energy systems. At the same time, master’s students benefit from experimental and practical learning opportunities, international exchange and research that goes beyond borders. The goal is to create a direct impact on communities, as well as on research and education – by ensuring energy access and improving living conditions.
Since the Living Labs will be located in the countries of the respective partner universities (Peru, Ghana, Ethipia, Kenya, Namibia, Uganda, India and Indonesia) they will enable all participating higher education institutions and their students to acquire a high level of expertise in development work and collaboration without the need to travel far. To get this done, Community Interest Companies (CIC) install eight mini-grids, which in turn are affiliated with the eight partner universities in the Global South.
Until 2024, the Living Labs will be implemented in a stepwise process – integrating community members in each step to co-create, validate, test and further develop new technologies in this setting. Since the installation and expansion of the sustainable energy system is a technical challenge, while the establishment and operation of a CIC is an entrepreneurial one, the project provides an interesting framework to merge research and technology with entrepreneurship.
The TUM SEED Center estimates that each Living Lab will provide energy services for approximately 1,000 people. This means that by the end of the project, around 8,000 people will have access to sustainable energy – with newly educated master’s students and doctoral candidates acting as catalysts for the program.
International and interdisciplinary doctoral and master’s programs
Going hand in hand with the Living Labs program, the TUM SEED center launched the interdisciplinary doctoral and master’s programs in “Sustainable Energies and Entrepreneurship in the Global South”. Reliable water supply for both agriculture and households usually depends on the availability of energy: While functioning water pumps ensure clean and affordable water for communities, irrigation water provides for food production.
The doctoral and master’s programs offer an educational space to experiment and deep-dive into the topics of sustainable energy, water, food production and entrepreneurship. Consequently, the curriculum of the master’s program is designed to convey the basic foundation of those fields as well as the main developments and future challenges of the latest generation of mini-grids.
To further ensure international exchange, leading experts in the context of the Global South as well as visiting professors and post-doc researchers from partner universities offer their students valuable insights into sustainable energy projects and entrepreneurship in their home countries.
Together, the doctoral candidates, post-doc researchers, scholars and master’s students complete the interplay of the Living Labs, the interdisciplinary research and the impact of sustainable teaching methods.
You can find more information on the TUM SEED Center and its programs here.
May 19, 2021
Our Journey Towards Sustainability at the TUM School of Management
We are striving towards a sustainable future through responsible management education. As a PRME signatory, the TUM School of Management is part of a global movement bringing educational sustainability to over 800 business and management schools around the globe. In the past few weeks, we introduced our latest PRME report and our newly established PRME Office on our website. Following up, we asked Holder of the Chair of Corporate Sustainability and PRME Sustainability Manager, Prof. Dr. Belz, to reflect on our journey towards sustainability at TUM.
Prof. Dr. Belz, you have been teaching at TUM for 18 years now – how would you describe your own journey towards sustainability at the university?
PROF. DR. BELZ: In the first couple of years after my appointment in 2003, I was considered “Mr. Sustainability” at TUM School of Management. Back then, sustainability was compartmentalized to a certain extent. Whenever there was an inquiry relating to responsibility and sustainability, my colleagues at TUM School of Management would pass it on to me. I was happy to fulfill this role. I remember a situation at one of our early retreats for faculty members. Over a beer, one of my colleagues in the finance department said to me – half-jokingly, half-seriously – “You know, Frank, you teach the students ethics, responsibility, and sustainability, while I teach them to get a job, pursue a career and make money.” This two-world view was shattered during the financial and economic crisis of 2008. Many of my colleagues started realizing that the market system, driven by economic growth, was not sustainable in the long run.
How did you start implementing sustainability at TUM School of Management?
PROF. DR. BELZ: Signing the PRME as TUM School of Management was an essential trigger for integrating sustainability into research and teaching. Since the release of the first status report, much has happened here. Our respected Dean started emphasizing the importance of sustainability and the Sustainable Development Goals at our regular faculty meetings – including to me. Thanks to his support and that of many other colleagues, sustainability moved to the core of TUM School of Management. And we have since pursued a strategy of institutionalization rather than compartmentalization. Great efforts began to incorporate responsibility and sustainability on all levels of the TUM School of Management.
What do those efforts look like?
PROF. DR. BELZ: At the normative level, mission statements, for example, highlight the management education of ‘responsible talents’. Our Strategy 2021, on the other hand, emphasizes a strong research agenda with implications for major societal challenges. At the operational level, we introduced a new bachelor’s program in Management and Technology, with a focus on renewable resources. And one of the most important and strategic decisions we make is hiring new faculty members. Gender, diversity and sustainability play an important role in these key decisions.
Where does TUM School of Management currently stand on the journey towards sustainability?
PROF. DR. BELZ: This third PRME report shows just how far we have come, from sustainability as a ‘one-man-show’ to sustainability as an integral part of research and teaching across the whole faculty. While we have already achieved much, PRME is rather like an Ironman Triathlon: a 3.8 km swim, a 180 km bicycle ride and a 42.2 km run all in one, calling for great stamina and determination. We at TUM School of Management are committed to PRME. We have already started our Ironman and we are determined to finish it with the help of our team and supporters.
We are looking forward to following and supporting the journey towards sustainability at TUM School of Management.
May 05, 2021
The PRME Office – A Task Force to Shape our Sustainability Strategy
The vision of PRME is clear: transform business and management education, research and leadership globally, while promoting awareness about the Sustainable Development Goals, and developing the responsible business leaders of tomorrow. TUM School of Management has been a PRME signatory since 2015. In April, we already introduced our latest PRME report here. Over the years, we realized that we needed to start assessing the impact and effectiveness of our measurements to implement greater sustainability in a more systematic and quantitative manner: Today we present to you our new PRME Office.
Responsible Management Education at TUM School of Management
PRME stands for Principles for Responsible Management Education – a platform bringing educational sustainability to over 800 business and management schools worldwide, including the TUM School of Management.
The PMRE-Office: (from left) Dr. Mattia Marchesini, Prof. Gunther Friedl, Dr. Christina Green, Prof. Frank-Martin Belz and Esther Salvi.
Being part of the Technical University of Munich allows us to benefit from a multidisciplinary environment and to be part of a holistic strategy that serves as a roadmap for our sustainability journey. We are committed to shaping an ethical, responsible and sustainable education for the leaders of tomorrow and keep reporting our PRME-related activities with great pride.
A Clear Strategy to Boost Our Sustainable Impact
After qualitatively analyzing our PRME-related efforts for the past five years, the need for us to start collecting relevant data in more detail became increasingly evident in 2020. That is why, since the beginning of this year, we’ve been focusing on that with our newly established PRME Office: With an in-depth analysis of our teaching and research activities and by monitoring the dialog with both internal and external stakeholders, the PRME Office defines a clear strategy for boosting the sustainable impact of our institution. “Our goal is to educate our students to be sustainable leaders of tomorrow,” PRME Sustainability Assistant Esther Salvi explains. At the moment, the team is running two project studies with students who are collecting systematic information about sustainability in our teaching modules. “The aim is to develop a tool to analyze the sustainability of our modules both qualitatively and quantitatively,” Mrs. Salvi continues.
Led by our Dean and PRME Office Director, Prof. Dr. Gunther Friedl, the taskforce is composed of five additional team members – each filling a different position. “We work very closely with each other,” says Mrs. Salvi who supports the PRME Sustainability Manager Prof. Dr. Frank-Martin Belz during her doctoral studies at the Chair of Corporate Sustainability. While the PRME Office Director Prof. Dr. Friedl is the reference person regarding long-term strategic decisions related to the school’s sustainability, Prof. Dr. Frank-Martin Belz is responsible for the short- and medium-term strategy. As the holder of the Chair of Corporate Sustainability, Prof. Dr. Belz has been teaching and conducting international as well as interdisciplinary research on sustainability innovation and marketing at TUM for 18 years now.
“I coordinate the data collection and sustainability assessment of research and teaching at TUM School of Management,” the PRME Sustainability Assistant explains. Together, she and Prof. Dr. Belz write the PRME Report. Additionally, Dr. Christina Green is responsible for the PRME Quality Management. Assisted by Dr. Mattia Marchesini, Dr. Green takes care of the school’s AACSB re-accreditation and examines how the students rate sustainability, responsibility and ethics in teaching. All PRME communication matters are settled by Claudia Ferringo. According to Mrs. Salvi, the PRME Office is currently planning to expand: “We want to include more people who could contribute to enhance the value of our sustainable activities and strategy.”
For now, the six heads of our PRME Office shape our sustainability strategy with the aim of tackling the grand societal challenges and transmitting our core values and purpose to the sustainable leaders of tomorrow: our students. The complete report on our 2019 – 2020 activities is available here.
Apr 22, 2021
Responsible Management Education – Making Sustainability a Priority
Today is Earth Day! Every year on April 22nd, over 175 countries contribute to increasing the global appreciation for nature and raising awareness for our consumer behavior. Earth Day is about taking responsibility and making sustainability a priority. Therefore, we could not think of a better day to introduce our ‘Principles for Responsible Management Education’ (PRME) report – the global movement transforming business and management education through research and leadership.
What does PRME mean?
Founded in 2007, the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) is a platform which brings educational sustainability to schools around the world. The United Nations-supported initiative leads the vision to create a global movement and drive thought leadership on responsible management education to advance sustainable development.
To accomplish this, PRME has engaged over 800 business and management schools worldwide – TUM School of Management being one of them. PRME works through the Six Principles: Purpose, Values, Method, Research, Partnership and Dialog. The goal is to draw attention to the Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs), align academic institutions with the work of the UN Global Compact and ensure that signatories provide future leaders with the skills needed to balance economic as well as sustainability goals.
Sustainability at the TUM School of Management
At TUM School of Management, we are committed to delivering responsible management education based on high-level research. Over the last years, TUM has been integrating sustainability in all areas of teaching, research and procedures. Operating within a technical university grants us as a management school the opportunity to interlink different disciplines and contribute to TUM’s mission to create a holistic strategy to act as a roadmap for our sustainability journey. The goal is to exploit the full sustainability potential of TUM across all key action areas, ranging from research and teaching to entrepreneurship, campus and operations. TUM School of Management Dean Prof. Dr. Gunther Friedl explains: “Together with our colleagues we are able to contribute to solutions to the grand societal challenges, such as climate change, digitization, infrastructure, urbanization and food security. We believe that we can benefit society with our research and the education of individuals who will become tomorrow’s leaders.”
While we unite management and technology in our educational approach at the TUM School of Management, we have formed an internationally renowned entrepreneurship group with a space to gather ideas and put them into practice by creating new companies. Many alumni use this foundation and combine it with ideas for a more sustainable future. “Since we started reporting to PRME, we have been able to expand our commitment to working on the Sustainable Development Goals”, says Prof. Dr. Friedl. To broaden our interdisciplinary approach at the TUM School of Management and fulfill our promise, we have launched new research initiatives, such as the SEED Center, and created new specializations within our degree programs, such as Renewable Resources or Medicine.
“This report presents details of our commitment to society, responsible management education and outreach. We are proud of how much we have achieved so far. In the coming years, we will develop an overarching sustainability strategy and further deepen our commitment to the core values of the UN-PRME initiative”, concludes Dean Prof. Dr. Friedl.
Stay tuned as we will be introducing some of the report’s highlights on our channels in the upcoming weeks and dedicate more space to the topic of sustainability!
The complete report is available here.