Sarah Baruch

"I really enjoyed how the course gave me a solid foundation of the different sectors operating within business, as well as the opportunity to delve deeper into topics which particularly sparked my interest, such as entrepreneurship, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and digital ethics."

Course studying: BSc Business Management
Year of Graduation: June 2021

What do you do now? What do you enjoy about what you do now?

I am currently an undergraduate student in my final year at the Business School, studying BSc Business Management. Overall, I really enjoyed how the course gave me a solid foundation of the different sectors operating within business, as well as the opportunity to delve deeper into topics which particularly sparked my interest, such as entrepreneurship, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and digital ethics.

I enjoyed writing my final dissertation on digital ethics concerning addictive user behaviour on social media platforms, which stemmed from my original interest in the Management for Social Purpose module.

Why did you choose to study the Managing for Social Purpose module?

I was interested in learning about CSR and how large corporates navigate their CSR goals in a business context. I also wanted to set my preconceived notions aside that ‘Social Purpose’ was only regarding voluntary/charity work. The module really taught me that social purpose and CSR are critical for businesses to ensure they provide to the ‘greater good’ of society, and not only fulfil business-based/monetary-based objectives.

What does social responsibility in business mean? How did you become interested in it?

Social responsibility in business means acknowledging the significance and impact businesses have in influencing the values inside the workplace, and how their socially responsible values impact the societal context in which the business operates in. I became interested in how businesses can obtain CSR values by reading more on unethical corporate behaviour found in the cases such as the Enron scandal or the Vauxhall’s emission scandal.

As interest in CSR becomes more prevalent today, I notice its importance more than ever with employees and companies wanting to provide a better and more fulfilling experience at work and I find CSR/Social Purpose covers this.

What was your favourite part of the module?

My favourite part of the module was when the class would discuss key ideas mentioned in the lecture, and how/if these related to our lives. The class discussions really brought the content to life and brought a sense of purpose to what we were learning. It established to me that Social Purpose in business is a significant value all businesses should work on fostering.

What was the most challenging or surprising part of the module?

To me I was intrigued to learn about the financial aspect in link with socially responsible businesses, as this was something I had never thought of in detail before. I was also surprised at learning how certain charity campaigns can sometimes be unethical by projecting a guilty conscience onto people, which to me contrasts with what a charity should project, when writing up my coursework.

What impact do you feel the module has had on you personally and professionally? Has your perspective on business changed?

It definitely opened new career prospects to me, as I am now interested in working within a CSR division of a company. To me CSR in a company ensures companies stick to their socially responsible objectives, and do their part for the world and employees. I know working under a CSR division would give me a sense of pride to my work. Also, as someone interested in entrepreneurial ventures, I found the module gave me a sound understanding in how social entrepreneurship works and this would be something I would also want to explore in my professional life.

What are the developments in socially responsible business practices you’re most looking forward to or most interested by?

One thing I am looking forward to is seeing how digital business such as online social media platforms will curate more ethical platforms to ensure a healthier user experience. I am also interested in how large FMCG companies will alter their current practices to align with changing consumer values of companies behaving responsibly and ethically. Also, I am looking forward to see how the growing interest in socially responsible values will manifest itself in social entrepreneurship as I currently follow multiple individuals/small brands on social media who will go down this path.

What key piece of advice would you give to future students who are thinking about taking this module/a career in the charity sector or social enterprise?

I would encourage them to put any preconceived notions about working in the charity sector/social enterprises aside, and to be open to learning the reality of working in these sectors. I would also encourage them to engage as fully as they can with the module content, as it is particularly relevant to today’s world where socially responsible values are becoming more prevalent, and of greater interest to society.

I think people want to make a positive impact and contribution to their professional careers and I believe working within these divisions can truly accomplish that. Lastly, I would also tell them that concepts and cases learnt in this module will frequently come up again, whether it be in other modules or in their business careers, as a lot of the time they are key examples of what not to do in business, or of how businesses entered scandals.

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