Staying connected with the community is a priority at the School of Management. These relationships with small and large businesses serve two purposes: to give real, professional experience to students, and to keep professors and researchers current with the business issues of today. The School accomplishes this goal through a variety of activities including Corporate Social Responsibility Programs, Consulting, and Student Engagement Activities.
A central focus of the community engagement activities is Corporate Social Responsibility. One aspect is the student programs Plan Padrinos (Plan Godfathers) and Primeros Pasos en Responsabilidad Social Empresarial (First Steps in CSR). In both programs, students at both the undergraduate and the graduate levels complete a consulting project under the supervision of a professor for a Colombian small business. The programs bring the real world into the classroom as students can exercise their knowledge obtained in class and apply it to the businesses while also supporting the development of local, small businesses.
First Steps in CSR Program
The First Steps in CSR Program is an interactive exercise conducted by both university and business. This registered program, created by the School of Management at the Universidad Externado de Colombia, promotes social responsibility in business and management activities.
The First Steps in CSR Program has 3 fundamental objectives. The first is to support the managerial formation of students so that they can carry out responsible management practices in the future. The second is to reinforce the implementation of social responsibility in the short term in small and medium businesses. The third is to learn of their management performances, styles, and practices in order to improve strategies, methodologies, and tools aimed at consolidating a company´s sustainable competitiveness.
In the First Steps in CSR Program, in addition to the participants of a traditional academic activity (that is, students and professors) this program involves a third party, businesses. Participants fulfill the following:
- Students act as Junior Consultants that carry out consulting work for a client company
- Professors, having extensive experience as business consultants, fulfill the role of Senior Consultant and support students in the process of assessment according to their specialty
- Participating entrepreneurs act as Agents of Change in the company, committing themselves to the implementation of management practices created with the help of Junior and Senior Consultants, in the short term
Since the end of 2006, the First Steps in CSR Program has been conducting the Certificate in training of CSR consultants in partnership with programs such as ComprometeRSE of Confecamaras, BID and the Chambers of Commerce of Bogotá, Medellin, Cali, Barranquilla, and Cartagena.
Social Responsibility Studies – Specialization in Management
CSR Application Module – Certificate in CSR
– Certificate in training of CSR consultants