Students Honored for Leadership on Environmental and Social Issues

Stanford GSB announces Stanford Impact Leader and Miller Awards.

May 18, 2023

| by Margaret Steen
Photo collage of students, clockwise from top left: Eric Kotin, Anisha Mudaliar, Alvina Jiao, Joseff Kolman, Irfan Mahmud. Credit: Photos by courtesy.

Stanford Impact Leaders recipients, clockwise from upper left: Eric Kotin, Anisha Mudaliar, Alvina Jiao, Joseff Kolman, Irfan Mahmud | Photos by courtesy

Students at Stanford Graduate School of Business are increasingly seeking out career paths where they can make a social or environmental impact.

Five students — the most ever — have been awarded Stanford Impact Leader prizes, which recognize graduating students who plan to join a high-impact organization. This year’s winners are a diverse group, both in their own backgrounds and in the types of issues they hope to address: promoting careers in public service, increasing economic mobility, finding climate solutions, strengthening democracy, and catalyzing capital for impact.

“The Stanford Impact Leader prize winners exemplify the qualities we need in the next generation of impact leaders: commitment, innovative leadership, and a deep understanding of problem spaces and approaches to solutions,” says Matthew T. A. Nash, director of the Center for Social Innovation. “The GSB is committed to addressing the most critical issues of our time by supporting students who are working on these challenges regardless of sector.”

Multidimensional Support for Impact Careers

Stanford GSB support for the SIL prizewinners takes several forms: a $20,000 prize, the opportunity to participate in a community of Stanford GSB social innovators, and loan forgiveness through the Stanford GSB Social Impact Loan Forgiveness Program (for those eligible).

The loan forgiveness program, available to all GSB alumni, is intended to lower the financial risk for students who want to make meaningful contributions in areas such as education, health, social justice, sustainability, and financial inclusion. It pays a portion of qualifying graduates’ Stanford GSB loan obligations — for those working in high-impact, for-profit businesses as well as in the nonprofit or public service sector.

Increasing Interest in Social Innovation

The record number of SIL prizes awarded this year is just one indication of GSB students’ growing interest in impact careers. The number of applicants for the prizes increased 85% this year.

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“The number of applicants for the prizes increased 85% this year.”

In addition, more than 150 graduates will earn the Certificate in Public Management and Social Innovation, highlighting their academic focus on a social innovation field such as economic opportunity, environmental sustainability, health, or education; or an approach to social impact, such as nonprofit leadership, social impact funding, or public policy.

The impact community at Stanford GSB is further bolstered by academic and co-curricular offerings that support experiential learning, and student interest in these offerings has never been stronger: 79 students participated in the Stanford GSB Impact Fund, which is managed by students and invests in early-stage for-profit ventures seeking both financial and social and environmental returns. The Leadership for Society Scholars Program, which helps students build their understanding of pressing societal issues, selected 20 students. And more than 40 took part in summer immersion programs such as the Social Management Immersion Fund and Impact Design Immersion Fellowships.

A Diverse Group of Winners

The planned career paths of the five SIL winners illustrate the variety of ways in which GSB graduates engage with social and environmental issues:

  • Alvina Jiao, MBA ’22, hopes to create opportunities and improve outcomes for children and families through cross-sector systems of cradle-to-career support, with the long-term goals of advancing economic mobility and racial equity.
  • Joseff Kolman, MBA ’23, plans to advance vanguard climate technology to decarbonize the economy.
  • Eric Kotin, MBA ’23/MA Ed ’22, is aiming to expand and enhance the career opportunities available for young people interested in public service.
  • Irfan Mahmud, MBA ’23, plans to work in voting rights and political law in order to unlock progress on key policy issues.
  • Anisha Mudaliar, MBA ’23, is pursuing a career in philanthropy and impact investing; she is passionate about funding organizations that will drive positive impact at scale.

Stanford GSB also awarded Miller Social Change Leadership Awards to 16 students, recognizing their outstanding contributions to the GSB social innovation community. Peer nominations are a key element in determining the winners. “The Miller awards showcase the galvanizing influence our students have to inspire, educate and bring together the impact community at the GSB,” said Nash.

2023 Miller Social Change Leadership Award Winners

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