The Center for Business as Mission serves as a hub for the academic study of Business as Mission and for connecting students to local and global opportunities to engage and apply what is being learned in the classroom.
Business as Mission (BAM) is an invitation to participate in profitable business as a means of leveraging the marketplace to create sustainable solutions for the common good of those in need both locally and globally.
From a theological perspective, BAM might also be thought of as a holy collision of business and mission, work and faith, and kingdom and culture.
Why Business as Mission?
We believe training students to see business with a missional framework will produce:
Sustainable impact upon global and local needs. Business as Mission is a proven strategy for serving the underserved through sustainable development, use of profit for impact, empowerment through job creation, and the formation of strategic partnerships.
Better equipped, more experienced, more creative, more globally engaged students. Students are engaged in a high level of experiential learning both locally and globally. This enables them to be better equipped in the local and global marketplace. Embedded in BAM is the discipline of Social Entrepreneurship. These disciplines require solving not only complex business problems but also social problems. Students practicing these disciplines naturally become highly skilled problem solvers who will be equipped to make a significant impact upon an organization.
Employees that contribute greater value to the workplace. Our students have a sense of purpose that goes deeper than just making an income for themselves.
An understanding of the upward trending market demand of social responsibility. 90% of global customers indicate that they make purchasing decisions based upon the social impact a business makes.
Conscious firms outperformed the overall stock market by a ratio of 10.5:1 over a 15 year period, delivering more than 1,600% total returns when the market was up just over 150% for the same period.
— John Mackey, "Conscious Capitalism"
BAM is integrated into the entire College of Business experience through our ongoing focus on training students to embody five specific Values and Virtues of Jesus, chosen by our faculty as essential to business.
The College of Business offers a minor in Business as Mission to students across campus. This minor offers classes that help students develop a framework for living out faith ranging from the office to the marketplace to the board room.
A vital component of BAM is experiential learning. Students learn real business while engaging in real mission. Whether building products or services to generate profit that is used to empower others or offering real world consulting to local and global areas of need, students immediately apply their education in BAM in a way that is impactful.
Our Entrepreneur’s Intro to Business class gives our students a foundational and experiential opportunity to learn business in a real-world setting. Students open and run their own businesses during the semester using a startup capital loan to creating products and services that create a profit. This class also exposes our students to how business can be used to do good in the world. Class profits are used to empower aspiring marginalized entrepreneurs in developing parts of the world. This allows students to create and learn real business and real impact simultaneously.
Students do not have to look very far to engage opportunities in Business as Mission. Students have the opportunity to invest directly in the local community by seeking to empower immigrants, refugees, or those lacking opportunity through teaching entrepreneurial skills that allow local individuals to break free from the entrapment of poverty cycles.
We believe in long-term sustainable mission that moves beyond the handout. Students are encouraged to engage in addressing root causes of global poverty by equipping and empowering others. To accomplish this task we offer an immersive experience that takes our students into the heart of systemic problems abroad. This is where students can apply their BAM education to breaking cycles that limit opportunity.
Business as Mission Fellows
The Center for Business as Mission Fellows program is designed to offer students academic training, experiential learning, mentoring, service opportunities and global learning experience.
Description and Goal:An important component of Business as Mission is equipping others through business education and opportunity. Use your business education and experience to teach, mentor or train others. This may come in the form of teaching or coaching in entrepreneurial principles, personal finance, sustainable business models, managerial principles, or anything that might be valuable to someone as a means of serving and equipping them.
Requirements:Complete and document 50 hours of service to fulfill the service learning component of BAM Fellows. A minimum of 30 of these hours should be contact hours where you are face-to-face (in person or via Skype, FaceTime, etc.) with the person or organization. These hours can be completed at your own pace any time between the beginning of your Fellowship and graduation. Service hours completed prior to entering the Fellowship cannot be counted retroactively. You will document your experience and your hours will be logged on Canvas.
Description and Goal: There are few things as practical and effective as learning directly from someone who has experienced successes and failures in the field. The mentoring component of BAM fellows will partner students to a mentor within a carefully selected network. These mentors will also serve as a resource in the Experiential Learning and Consultation Project.
Requirements:Students will be partnered with a mentor each year during their involvement in BAM Fellows. After connecting with mentors, students will participate in a minimum of two mentoring sessions per semester. Students will spend two semesters with the same mentor and then be paired with a new mentor if their Fellowships extend beyond a year. Mentees must go to mentoring sessions prepared with a plan for each session outlining what questions they want to ask, what topics they want to explore, etc. These plans should be submitted on Canvas for review at least 72 hours before the mentoring session.
Description and Goal: We believe students learn best through experience. This component of BAM Fellows is designed to partner you with an existing BAM or social enterprise so that you can learn from them and then offer them something of value in return.
To do this, you will spend time directly serving and observing with the goal of learning and solving a problem. The organization you partner with will assign to you a real-world project. Before you begin tackling that problem, you will spend a significant amount of time in the trenches working and observing to better understand the context, challenges and resources within the organization. You will then use this learning to build a solution which will be presented to the organization in the form of a consultation project. You will work with a mentor and the Center for BAM to help you create high quality work that you will eventually present back to the organization as a consultant.
Requirements: Document 30 contact hours with one of the BAM Fellows networked partners. These partners are local social enterprises who have agreed to assign a tangible, real-world need within their organization and then to allow you to observe them, serve with them, and have access to the inner working of their organizations. You will also document at least three meetings that you will attend for the purpose of observing and learning. Ideally, these would include a board meeting, managers’ meeting and staff meeting. You will then work with your assigned mentor and the CBAM to craft a specific solution that you will present to the organization in the form of a consultation project. This consultation will include a written component, spreadsheets (as necessary), and slides. You will make your presentation to an identified leader or team of leaders within the organization and then offer them your written work to keep.
Description and Goal: Learn Days are designed to take students directly into local social enterprises or missional businesses to allow them to tour and see them in action. The goal is to help students observe the landscape of social enterprise and missional businesses in Nashville while getting an up-close look and inside access to learn from these companies.
Requirements: BAM Fellows attend a minimum of two Learn Days to fulfill this requirement.
Description and Goal: Two of the core concepts of Business as Mission are sustainability and long-term development. Our global learning opportunity will immerse students in these concepts and many more. Students will be given the opportunity to work alongside existing and aspiring entrepreneurs globally while also earning academic credit for their work and gaining an immersive and engaging real-world experience. This long-term sustainable project will utilize students’ business skills to address poverty and break cycles through sustainable business.
Requirements: Complete a global learning experience that will include living and studying abroad at the global location offered by the Center for BAM. While abroad, students will complete a minimum of three credit hours of coursework as a Special Topics class. Students will engage directly with entrepreneurs while also having opportunities to learn about international business through on-site visits to local organizations. The trip cost will be tuition plus a global learning fee.