Leadership for Society
Scholars Program

Earn credit for exploring a topic of societal importance that you’re passionate about and learn how to lead on the pressing issues of our time by becoming a Leadership for Society Scholar.

Program Overview

The Leadership for Society Scholars program provides MBA students with the opportunity to deeply engage on issues of societal importance and lead peer dialogs on these issues. Students apply to the program in Winter Quarter of MBA 1 and participate through their MBA2. 

In this program, Scholars develop a course of inquiry on a particular issue in partnership with advisors and the Stanford network. These self-chosen projects help students cultivate an understanding of the historical and social context for their chosen issue area, develop a perspective on existing and possible solutions, and identify opportunities for societal progress.

Scholars also learn the skills needed to create space for competing viewpoints and put these skills into practice by managing peer dialogs on the Leadership for Society conversation series.

Upon completion of the program, participants will have:

Focus on an Issue of Societal Importance

Scholars may choose any line of inquiry on an issue of societal importance

Example of possible student projects include, but aren't limited to:


The Scholars Program requires an ongoing engagement over the course of multiple quarters. Starting in the spring of 2023, MBA1 Scholars take GSBGEN 496, a course that facilitates students self-chosen projects on issues of societal importance, providing support from GSB faculty and staff members in order to grow understanding and gain introductions to relevant key stakeholders. 

During winter of MBA2, Scholars generate productive discussions across the GSB by managing peer dialogs on Prof. Lowery’s weekly conversations (GSBGEN 495). To learn these skills, Scholars enroll in GSBGEN 494. The next series of conversations, beginning in Winter of 2023, will focus on People and Planet in the Information Era. 

Academic Credit

In spring of MBA1, Scholars enroll in GSBGEN 496, a 3 unit course that helps students cultivate an understanding of the historical and social context for their chosen issue area. 

During Winter of their MBA2, Scholars are required to take GSBGEN 494, a 2 unit course co-taught by Prof. Lowery & Hugh Keelan, to learn and practice creating productive conversation on issues of societal importance including amongst those who disagree. 


Applications for the 2022-23 cohort were due Monday Jan. 31st at 9am.