M.S. Impact-Focused Business and Investing

At the intersection of profitability and sustainability, focus on sustainable business being good business.

More than any other time in recent history, businesses are being seen as both part of the problem and part of the solution to global social, environmental and economic problems, and they face growing scrutiny from both shareholders and consumers. Today's business leaders have to thread the needle between delivering strong financial performance while not pillaging and plundering the environment and communities in order to do so.

Future leaders of these businesses are going to need new mental models, tools and frameworks if they are going to successfully navigate these complex conditions to deliver both profitability and positive social impact.

The M.S. in Impact-Focused Business and Investing is designed to provide a solid foundation in business fundamentals from the corporate, entrepreneurial, non-profit and public sector perspectives. Changemakers — entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs alike — have always been attracted to opportunities that, to other people, might look like problems.

Students in this program will learn how to design and develop solutions to these problems regardless of whether they are starting their own venture or working in a corporation, social enterprise, or non-profit organization.

In GCNYC’s Master’s in Impact-Focused Business and Investing, you will develop the knowledge and skills needed to take full advantage of global opportunities in this exciting area by:

  • Exploring social entrepreneurship – businesses that earn a profit while contributing to the common good – and the social economy
  • Studying microfinance and management strategy
  • Practicing creative and critical thinking about social problems and solutions
  • Gaining exposure to international and intercultural viewpoints

The program can be done on a full or part-time basis.

Courses may be studied on a full-time or part-time basis. Select your entry date below and apply online today.

Study Options

  • 2019/20


Mode of study


Start date



Full Time
1 Year
Apr 2020
New York
Part Time
16 Months
Apr 2020
New York
Full Time
1 Year
Jan 2020
New York
Part Time
16 Months
Jan 2020
New York
Award Mode of study Duration Start date Location  
M.S. Full Time 1 Year Apr 2020 New York Enquire Apply
M.S. Part Time 16 Months Apr 2020 New York Enquire Apply
M.S. Full Time 1 Year Jan 2020 New York Enquire Apply
M.S. Part Time 16 Months Jan 2020 New York Enquire Apply

Study Options

  • 2020/21


Mode of study


Start date



Full Time
1 Year
Sep 2020
New York
Part Time
16 Months
Sep 2020
New York
Award Mode of study Duration Start date Location  
M.S. Full Time 1 Year Sep 2020 New York Enquire Apply
M.S. Part Time 16 Months Sep 2020 New York Enquire Apply

All entry requirements listed here should be used as a guide and represent the minimum required to be considered for entry. In rare circumstances, applicants may be asked to provide information in addition to the outlined requirements.


The Master's in Impact-Focused Business and Investing is particularly suitable for students who have previously studied business at the undergraduate level and wish to develop a deeper understanding of the tools and techniques available to those managing social businesses today.

The program may also appeal to students who come from a non-business background (particularly economics and social or public policy) but are committed to developing a management or academic career in the fields of social business and microfinance.

All entry requirements listed here should be used as a guide and represent the minimum required to be considered for entry. In rare circumstances, applicants may be asked to provide information in addition to the outlined requirements.
  • Four-year bachelor’s degree in any subject with a minimum GPA of 2.7 on a 4.0 point scale or a minimum UK 2.2 honors degree or equivalent international qualification from a recognized university
  • If English is not your first language: IELTS 6 (with 5.5 in each sub score) or equivalent


  • Business Strategy as an Instrument for Economic, Social and Environmental Sustainability
  • Navigating Global Change: Business Practices for the Common Good
  • Value-Based Leadership Skills for an Interconnected World
  • Impact Through Social Entrepreneurship
  • Money as a Force for Social Good
  • Global Political Economy
  • Research Methods
  • Dissertation
Business Strategy as an Instrument for Economic, Social and Environmental Sustainability

(Formerly titled Global Strategy – Challenges and Choices)

What does a corporate statesman look like today? Corporate social responsibility is no longer a ‘nice-to-have,’ managed by a small and disconnected team. Instead, it is increasingly a mandate for business leaders trying to please customers, employees and shareholders alike. The world of finance is driving increased transparency. Free-floating data on supply chains, geopolitical risks and other areas that managers once tackled internally are now immediately visible on Bloomberg terminals, in the press and on social media. And more and more, people care about the impact a business has on the local and global community.

This module aims to provide students with the academic knowledge and analytical tools necessary to practice strategic management in a world characterized by rapid change and increasing concerns for economic, social and environmental sustainability. You will develop the knowledge and skills required to undertake research and analysis critical for strategic planning and action. You will learn to constantly seek operating efficiencies that reduce environmental and social impacts while increasing profits. You will address the what, why, where and how of strategic decisions, emphasizing sustainable growth across national boundaries – so your voice will be heard and welcomed within your organization as you help it to achieve sustainable and ethical growth.

On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to:


  1. Critically assess the implications for businesses of recent and future changes in the global business environment.
  2. Understand the ethical dilemmas facing organizations operating across national boundaries.
  3. Apply a range of analytical tools and frameworks for assessment and development of a firm's strategic capability, competences and competitive position in a variety of global settings.
  4. Use analytical methods and techniques to evaluate the financial performance and sustainability of a firm's strategy.
  5. Evaluate the challenges and choices that firms face when formulating and implementing innovative strategies to create sustainable business value.
  6. Plan, implement, report and present findings of a group-based international business strategy project.


Navigating Global Change: Business Practices for the Common Good

(Formerly titled Contemporary Issues)

Do you know how what’s happening outside of your business will impact your professional future? Organizations do not operate in a vacuum. They are shaped by, and themselves also shape, the geopolitical, economic, social and technological environments in which they operate. Companies increasingly need curious and responsible leaders across functions who can look at these global trends – and help their employers navigate both the risks and opportunities.

Increasing transparency about business practices, coupled with a growing sense that we can and should do better, is providing new impetus for managers to create enabling spaces within their organizations for innovation around global challenges. By finding ways to rebalance equity across the value chain, looking for new technologies and processes to promote a circular economy, and taking a cross-sector approach to global challenges, we can have profitable businesses and industries that create positive social and environmental impact.

This multidisciplinary module is designed to equip students with the information and analytical skills required to successfully face some of the most significant global issues for business managers in the modern world. GCU is a signatory of the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME), an initiative of the United Nations Global Compact designed to promote responsible corporate citizenship, ensure that business is part of the solution to the challenges of globalization, and help realize a more sustainable and inclusive global economy. This initiative challenges students to reflect upon conventional management and develop a new philosophy of business practice, one which considers the wider social and environmental consequences of management decisions alongside traditional measures of business success. 

On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to:


  1. Critically appraise the causes and consequences of, and implications for, organizational leadership and responsible management of the shifting contours of global, politics, economics and social developments;
  2. Apply research and analysis techniques from social science and related disciplines to gather evidence on and evaluate the challenges faced by organizations and business leaders;
  3. Critically reflect upon the concepts of 'organizational responsibility' and 'responsible leadership' and their implications for private, public and third sector institutions;
  4. Examine and debate some of the contested issues and complex problems which business leaders and organizational managers encounter;
  5. Evaluate alternative responses to contemporary challenges facing business and society;
  6. Apply critical analysis to political, social, economic and environmental challenges that arise in specialist Masters programs, particular business sectors, and professional contexts.


Value-Based Leadership Skills for an Interconnected World

(Formerly titled Personal and Professional Development)

What would your professional future look like if it reflected your unique values – and the pursuit of the common good? An exceptional career in today’s complex and fast-moving business environment requires specific skills and the ability to successfully predict and adapt to changing realities.

Managing your career in a way that is truly aligned with your personal values is exponentially more satisfying and successful. We have demonstrated that profitable sustainability requires zero compromise between great business results and practices that benefit our local and global communities.

This module is designed to help students get to the next level of their careers by mastering certain professional practices – including identifying, understanding, developing and articulating their own key abilities. Learn tactics to build teams and manage relationships across a remote and diverse organization with vendors, customers and partners scattered across the globe. Crystalize your own personal and professional values and change the trajectory of your career by practicing responsible leadership in line with these values. Take real ownership of your personal and professional development so that you can transition to the next phase of your career.

On successful completion of the module, the student should be able to:


  1. Identify, critically discuss, and appraise their personal & cognitive skills and employment needs;
  2. Demonstrate increased self-awareness and reflective thinking, leading to identification of strategies for continued development;
  3. Demonstrate increased confidence and efficacy in presentations;
  4. Work collaboratively with others, demonstrating effective interaction skills and responsible leadership;
  5. Evaluate levels of culture on national, business and corporate horizons, which influence and operate in organizations;
  6. Develop an understanding and application of key precepts in effective cross -cultural competency.


Impact Through Social Entrepreneurship

Innovation. Disruption. Transformation. These are all words that need to be struck from the lexicon. Why? They are placeholder words that make us feel like we’re on the road driving toward solutions that will positively impact the lives of scores of people, but more often than not they are merely a smoke screen placed over rehashed, mediocre or not thoroughly thought-through ideas. What the leaders of tomorrow need is not the latest shiny new lingo. They need effective tools that will help them understand how to develop real solutions that impact the wellbeing of people and the planet, and that contribute to a sustainable and resilient economy.

The Impact Through Social Entrepreneurship course will unpack the concept of social impact - the complexity of its definition and measurement, how our own biases influence how its perceived, and how it is successfully woven into business models. Students will explore how corporations, nonprofits, startups and governments each approach delivering a positive social impact, where they each succeed and fail, and why. This course will provide a reframing of how to think about solving global social and environmental problems, illustrating how making money and making positive change are not mutually exclusive endeavours. With that as a foundation, students will spend the majority of the semester in the “Social Entrepreneurship Lab”, learning the tools for building an entrepreneurial venture by actually building one, either real or simulated. Students will apply a human-centered design methodology to identify a real world social or environmental problem, and then construct a for-profit business model that delivers a solution to that problem in a way that can be measured for financial, social, and environmental impact. Students will learn about customer development; market analysis; business model development that accounts for both profitability and impact; product / service development; and business formation options such as B-corps, benefit corps, S and C corps, LLCs, cooperatives, and nonprofits.

On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to:

  1. Appraise and critically assess the contested concept of social entrepreneurship
  2. Identify the range of contexts in which social entrepreneurship can take place
  3. Analyze what is meant by social change
  4. Evaluate the circumstances in which business can play a role in driving positive social change
  5. Develop critical thinking skills
  6. Reflect on how the skills they have learnt during their degree program might be applied to creating social change
Money as a Force for Social Good

We are bearing witness to a profound moment where the paradigm of the role that money plays in our societies is shifting. No longer a tool with the purpose of solely increasing personal and global wealth, money is now more broadly understood as a tool for delivering social impact through sustainable business models and market-driven mechanisms. No longer relegated to the purview of “activist” shareholders, more and more mainstream shareholders, directors and executives of corporations increasingly understand that doing right by employees, communities, and the environment makes solid economic and business sense - it increases productivity and efficiency, reduces risk and liabilities, and increases the wellbeing of workers - all which contribute to a more sustainable and profitable bottom line.

This course will begin by exploring the concept of microfinance, including what it is, its role in enabling entrepreneurship and sustainable development globally. Topics of microfinance that will be covered include microcredits, the operation of microfinance institutions (MFIs), and case studies of commercial MFIs.

The course will then build on the foundation of the Impact Through Social Entrepreneurship course, delving into the financing of social businesses through equity, debt and other financial instruments. It will focus specifically on developing a critical understand of how finance works and how it can be used to strengthen the business case for sustainability. It will arm students with a financial toolbox that they will be able draw from regardless of whether they are going into entrepreneurship, corporate management, a nonprofit or the public sector. Students will learn the basics of financial calculation and analysis, as well how to evaluate an investment decision based on net present value and return on investment calculations. The course will examine the differences between financial capital, human capital, and natural capital, and their respect roles in economic activity and business.

Finally, students will explore money as a force for social good through capital markets. Market-based approaches of investing will be covered, including socially responsible investing (SRIs), impact investing, and social and green bonds. Students will gain a deeper understanding of the role of shareholders and institutional investors in exerting their power and influence in driving markets to work for or against a positive social impact.

On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to:

  1. Appraise and critically assess the concepts of social business and microfinance
  2. Identify how different political, economic and cultural circumstances produce different flavors of social business and microfinance
  3. Understand and critically comment on evolution of social business and microfinance in various cultural, political and religious contexts
  4. Move beyond a "one size fits all" model of developing social business and microfinance initiatives. Consider the kind of world they would like to create and equip the with the tools to proceed
  5. Develop critical thinking skills
Global Political Economy

Complex social, cultural, religious, political and economic dynamics shape our understanding of current trends and issues impacting people and businesses globally. How is it possible for the leaders of tomorrow to make critical business decisions if they don’t have a framework and tools to make sense of the direct and indirect forces that may impact that business? This course takes an interdisciplinary approach to applying theory to the economic realities of our world today. In this way, the module offers a comprehensive and critical understanding of the global political economy and its structures, agencies and processes. Students will learn to assess and evaluate the relationship between government, business, and civil society in various global contexts. For example, what impact do government-funded agencies, such as the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Finance Center (IFC), the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) or the Department for International Development (DFID) have on business’ ability to operate and deliver meaningful social or economic impact? What does it mean to operate a business or organization in the context of a corrupt or failed state? Students will learn about the role of these types of agencies and governments in our global political economy. They will also explore the often unseen role of private foundations and philanthropies in supporting the work of social enterprises and nonprofit organizations around the world. This course will provide and consolidate the intellectual and technical skills that will be most valuable in creating critical and informed citizenship for common social good and an inclusive society.

On successful completion of this module, students will have:

  1. Develop an integrated advanced and critical interdisciplinary knowledge of theories and issues involved in the debates on global political economy.
  2. Develop critical faculty about different trends in global political economy.
  3. Provide students with appropriate tools of analysis that will allow them to undertake applied research for their personal and public life in the areas of social, economic and political development which will make them vocationally relevant to employment in government, commerce and industry or in any other sectors of their work.
  4. Provide students with the analytical skills and knowledge required to evaluate current and future issues in global political economy in contemporary world. This course provides and consolidates both intellectual and technical skills that will be of most valuable to create critical and informed citizenship for common social good and an inclusive society.
Research Methods

The Master’s is designed to help students who do not have prior research experience develop the advanced skills they need to analyze and propose solutions to real-life problems. This module exposes students to the most important quantitative and qualitative methods needed for academic and applied research. Students will learn to critically evaluate new concepts, ideas and evidence from a range of sources and transfer their findings into practice. By gaining new skills in delivering written and oral presentations at the advanced management level, students can ensure that their voices are heard across company divisions and functions. One primary aim of this module is to prepare students for their dissertation by providing them with a framework to successfully conduct the type of research that is critical to management, as well as to internal and external consulting projects. The proposal for the dissertation will be developed as part of this course.

On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate advanced working knowledge of a range of key concepts, qualitative and quantitative research methods available to researchers.
  2. Identify and clearly formulate a research topic in the context of particular research area of study.
  3. Critically evaluate literature, select and utilize appropriate methodologies in the formulation of an individual research proposal for a Masters dissertation.
  4. Control, organize, communicate and analyze qualitative and quantitative research findings in an efficient and effective manner.
  5. Apply the forgoing skill to the research proposal for the MSc dissertation.

Building on the proposal developed in Research Methods, this module offers students an opportunity to focus in-depth on an investigation of a substantial business issue or problem. Students are required to demonstrate critical awareness of business practices, relevant theories, and research techniques and approaches. In conducting and presenting their research, students will have a unique opportunity to apply concepts, theories and techniques, drawing on internationally published literature and good practice, to develop and interpret knowledge about management practice in their area of inquiry. The project’s subject matter will involve the theoretical and empirical investigation of topics covered in the coursework, requiring students to demonstrate their ability to work independently with these new concepts. Each project will be supervised and supported by an appropriate academic staff member.

The research project can assume one of three forms:

  • Applied research, which develops an idea, system or process that can be put into work within a broad ecosystem.  As an example, you would explore a new practice and approach to be applied to an industry.
  • Management inquiry, an exploration of an aspect of global trends to understand how to create local solutions to a shared global problem. 
  • Consulting project, which focuses on a practical project directly linked to work with your current employer*

* Students intending to choose this option are required to secure an agreement from the client organization prior to starting research and developing the dissertation.

Regardless of the form selected, the project must be theoretically robust and methodologically sound to meet the academic requirements of the module.

On successful completion of the module, the student should be able to:

  1. Building upon previous developed proposal, conduct empirical research, present an intellectually robust and evidence-based analysis, and develop appropriate recommendations.
  2. Demonstrate a systematic and critical understanding of the relevant theory pertaining to the chosen topic.
  3. Demonstrate the use of an appropriate methodological framework (incorporating consultancy based requirement where relevant) to meet the aim and objectives of the project.


Located in the heart of SoHo, the luxury and ready-to-wear fashion hub of New York City, GCNYC's campus is nestled in the cobble-stoned streets of art and design on every corner. You will attend lectures and seminars in a picturesque, loft-like studio space that transforms itself for every occasion. With high ceilings, crisp white walls and an open floor plan - it will be hard to tell if you're headed to class or the latest gallery opening. Minutes from most major subway lines, GCNYC is easily accessible from any of New York's unique neighborhoods. GCYNYC will provide you with a degree, but New York City will serve as an unlimited resource to your education.

Total tuition cost: $34,650 ($962.50 per credit).


At GCNYC we believe that a college education is an investment for a brighter future. If you have the talent, ability and drive to study with us, we want to help you make the most of the opportunity, regardless of your financial circumstances.

As part of our institutional commitment to furthering the Common Good and with the equally strong desire to build a diverse academic community made up of the most passionate students we are proud to offer a number of merit-based scholarships.

Additional costs

All applications for admission to GCNYC require a $50 non-refundable application fee that must be paid prior to the processing of the application.

The Master’s in Impact-Focused Business and Investing takes advantage of GCNYC’s global ties and New York location. Our close-knit academic community is made up of a diverse group of highly motivated, creative change-makers from all over the world. GCNYC builds on the long-standing reputation of GCU while opening up new possibilities for international collaboration and innovation.

Your experience at GCNYC will be both challenging and exciting. We will work together, learning from and challenging each other. You’ll take core courses with students from all of our fashion and finance programs, giving you the chance to learn from vastly different perspectives and make connections across industries.

Small class sizes ensure meaningful interactions with professors and guest speakers. You’ll be making real connections while you learn from people who can straddle academic theory and real-world experience – and who refuse to compromise between career success and the common good.

Glasgow Caledonian has over a century of close ties to industry, and excellence in applied research is one of the university’s most important guiding principles. 

GCNYC takes this tradition to NYC, helping you connect your actual (and future!) work challenges to new knowledge and insights from the global academic community. But you won't just learn about research through lectures – you’ll have the autonomy, time and support to ask important questions with your own independent research.

Completing a dissertation will demonstrate to your employers that you have what it takes to tackle the issues most important in social business and microfinance with real academic rigor – and to propose solutions that emphasize sustainability as well as profitability.