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The Role of Business Schools in times of crises – PIR 2022 launch

UN PRME Global Forum, virtually from New York, USA, June 3, 2022

The Positive Impact Rating 2022 Report entitled “The Role of Business Schools in times of crises” was launched today at the UN PRME Global Forum. The social impact levels of 45 business schools from 21 countries were announced by Prof Thomas Dyllick of the Positive Impact Rating Association and Sophie Charrois, President of oikos International.

Overview and summary

The Positive Impact Rating (PIR) is a rating conducted by students and for students. For the third time, students worldwide assessed their business schools on how they perceive their positive impact on the world. The positive impact of business schools goes beyond their contribution to business and the economy; it addresses the need for their positive impact for society. 

“Over three editions, the PIR continues to bring business schools and students together in cooperation for responsible management education, aligning with and supporting the UN Global Compact and PRME principles.”

Antonio Hautle, Executive Director, UN Global Compact Network Switzerland & Liechtenstein

In this third edition of the PIR, business schools from the Global South, particularly India, perform better than their peers in the Global North. The Indian quartet of the S P Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR), XLRI – Xavier School of Management, IIM Bangalore, and Woxsen Business School all achieved the highest level of the PIR as “Pioneering Schools”. 

The data collection was organized by student associations, which distributed surveys across campuses. The PIR gives the students a platform to assess the positive impact of their schools, providing a unique opportunity for their voice to be heard. The PIR is the only rating in which students worldwide assess their business schools on their positive impact. 

Sophie Charrois, President of oikos International and PIR Supervisory Board member, said: “We need to prepare students with competencies that empower them to impact business, society, and the planet positively. Separating economic from societal or environmental value creation is no longer acceptable. Managing a business as an isolated entity from its impact on society is becoming a thing of the past.”

The PIR was created by concerned business school experts together with global NGOs – WWF, Oxfam, and UN Global Compact. International student associations oikos, AIESEC, and Net Impact partner with PIR, supported by VIVA Idea (Costa Rica), The Institute for Business Sustainability Foundation & Fehr Advice, both from Switzerland.

The role of business schools in times of crises

The third edition of the Positive Impact Rating (PIR) appears at a time when crises are increasingly happening on the doorstep of business schools. Over the past years, the climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in the sense of instability and uncertainty, replacing the long-held focus on economic growth and prosperity in the Global North. The Ukrainian war has sealed that sentiment: we live in a time of crises. 

The PIR 2022 Report focuses on insights from top-performing business schools in the Global South and leading business schools in the Global North. The latter schools are challenged to embrace change far more quickly than ever in recent history. The report provides business schools worldwide with important lessons from peer schools, for whom dealing with crises and challenges in their communities is a role they have accepted and embraced for a long time. If Business Schools in the Global North are to continue providing value to business, they must support both business and society in responding effectively to societal crises. Students and other stakeholders challenge them to provide relevant insights to society and equip graduates with appropriate skills and competencies (see the remarkable case study from Kozminski University, Poland, in appendices).

What students want!

Students provided an incredible wealth of constructive comments on how their schools can increase their positive impact. They are very clear in what they want their schools to START doing: Teaching sustainability and responsibility in a wider number of courses, programs, and classes; providing practical skills for a future career as a sustainability leader in curricula, operations, and culture; but also updating curricula to include new theories and models of business and economics relevant to 21st century challenges. There is also a consensus on what they want their schools to STOP doing: Using single-use plastics on campus and offering unsustainable food and catering services (see appendices).

Measuring the social impact of business schools

The rating survey asks students 20 questions in seven relevant impact dimensions: governance and culture of the school; study programs, learning methods, and student support; the institution as a role model and its public engagement. The overall PIR score of the business school is used to position the schools across five levels. The different levels refer to the levels of achievement in developing the social impact. Business schools are provided with a defined social impact model and a tool that they can use for measuring their impact. 

AreasDimensions of impact
Energizing Governance
Educating  Programs
Learning Methods
Student Support
EngagingInstitution as a role model
Public Engagement

A tool for collaborative learning and action

The purpose of the positive impact rating is to enable learning at and across schools rather than creating a competitive ranking. A rating offers the safety of groups rather than individual ranks and intends to foster collaboration. Schools, therefore, are positioned in five different levels, where they are featured alphabetically. Students and the management of each participating school receive free online access to a dashboard featuring their school’s results across the different areas compared to the average of all schools. This allows them to actively work towards increasing their positive impact. Students, who have access to the same data, are empowered to collaborate with the school administration.

How the participating schools performed

In the third edition of the PIR, students from business schools located in five continents and 21 countries participated in the survey. Despite the continued COVID-19 crisis and its impact on campus education, the number of participating students, business schools, and countries remained stable. 

The PIR 2022 edition features 45 schools ranked at levels 3 or higher. Again, four business schools have reached the top Level 5 (pioneering schools). At Level 4 (transforming schools), the PIR features 29 schools, up from 24 schools last year. Level 3 (progressing schools) includes 12 schools (18 last year). In the spirit of reinforcing good practice, the rating does not feature schools rated below Level 3. All top schools in Level 5 come from the Global South – from India. Three of these schools have participated before in the PIR, with one newcomer joining in 2022. The top-rated schools perform solidly across all seven dimensions measured.

PIR as an enabler for business school development

This business school rating seeks to serve as a tool for continually improving the business school. It reflects the positive impact of the school as seen and evaluated by its students. Every year, this is done anew, with successive generations of students evaluating and reevaluating their schools. Learning and development are enabled through the design of the PIR. By providing the assessment tool to the student organizations and school management, both are empowered to use the data in many productive ways. In addition, the PIR organization collects and communicates best practices from the best performing business schools in the rating.

PIR – a valued tool for social impact measurement and reporting

The PIR has a dual purpose. It is a comparative rating, but it also serves as a social impact measurement and reporting tool. The design of the PIR offers all participating schools a private link to their school dashboard, where the survey results are available in full detail. The PIR dashboard represents a solid basis for school management and engaged student organizations alike to define actions and strategies to increase the positive impact of their schools. 

What is the PIR effectively used for? A new survey of the participating schools has shown that the PIR is primarily used as a tool for social impact measurement and communication. While the benchmarking and rating function of the PIR is appreciated, most of the participating schools value the PIR primarily as a tool for understanding how and where the school can increase its impact on society (48%). The second most important purpose is to use the PIR as a source to understand and meet students’ expectations and to engage and collaborate more closely with them (23%). Schools also use the PIR to communicate its positive impact (20%).

Furthermore, most schools have started to use the PIR as a measurement and reporting tool to account for their school’s progress and social impact. 62% of the schools surveyed have used the PIR in their AACSB accreditation. 49% have used it in their PRME Reports. And 35% of the responding schools have used it for their EQUIS accreditation (see appendices).

Prof. Dyllick, PIR Founder & Member of the Supervisory Board said: “While future students now have an alternative source to select their business school, schools refer to the PIR primarily to measure and communicate their transformational progress. The voice of the student has become a true source of value.”

More information:  |   @RatingImpact   |   #RatingImpact

Press & communications contact:  John Watt, PIR Outreach and Marketing Manager, Twitter: @impactrating, LinkedIn:


PIR 2022 3rd Edition – Overview of rated schools, by level and in alphabetical order

Level 5
Pioneering schools
● IIM Bangalore, India● S P Jain Institute of Management & Research, India ● Woxsen University School of Business, India● XLRI – Xavier School of Management, India
Level 4
Transforming schools
● Aalto University School of Business, Finland● Abu Dhabi School of Management, United Arab Emirates● Antwerp Management School, Belgium● Audencia Business School, France● Carleton University, Sprott School of Business, Canada● CENTRUM PUCP Business School, Peru● Colorado State University College of Business, USA● Deakin University Business School, Australia● EADA Business School, Spain● Esade Business School, Spain● Fairleigh Dickinson University Silberman College, USA● Fordham University Gabelli School of Business, USA● Glasgow Caledonian University, UK● Grenoble Ecole de Management, France● HKUST Business School, Hong Kong● IESEG School of Management, France● INCAE Business School, Costa Rica● Iscte Business School, Portugal● Jyväskylä University School of Business and Economics, Finland● Kozminski University, Poland● Luiss Business School, Italy● Maastricht University School of Business and Economics, Netherlands● Nova School of Business and Economics, Portugal● Rennes School of Business, France● St.Petersburg University Graduate School of Management, Russia● Strathmore Business School, Kenya● Universal Business School, India● University of Vermont Grossman School of Business, United States of America● UPF-Barcelona School of Management, Spain 
Level 3
Progressing Schools
● Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences International Business School, Netherlands● Concordia University John Molson School of Business, Canada● EAE Business School, Spain● Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, Switzerland● EDHEC, France● HEC Paris, France● HSE University Graduate School of Business, Russia ● ICHEC Brussels Management School, Belgium● Jönköping International Business School, Sweden● KEDGE Business School, France● University of Colorado Boulder Leeds School, USA● University of Gothenburg School of Business, Economics and Law, Sweden  
Reacting to the refugee crisis in Kozminski University, Poland
“The community of Kozminski University has, since day one of the war, expressed solidarity with and provided support to Ukraine and its citizens.” Gregorz Mazurek, Dean, Kozminski Business School 
On Friday, 25th February 2022, Kozminski University opened the University to incoming civilian refugees. Together with the Ukrainian House in Warsaw of the Our Choice Foundation (NGO), the school created the first 24-hour Support Point in Warsaw. Refugees received here initial humanitarian and legal support. The initiative welcomed 340 families, including 600 adults and almost 500 children, 1,336 volunteers registered, among them many students at Kozminski University. The University was able to offer 3,000 places of accommodation provided by the residents of Warsaw. Volunteers were involved in an ongoing information campaign on social media for Ukrainians crossing the border. The coordinators were highly efficient in managing the cars, drivers, volunteers, and accommodation database.  

The university’s action sparked a wave of kindness. Within a few days, local businesses and Warsaw residents delivered about 5 tons of food, hygiene products, blankets, clothes, products for children, and pet food to the university. The gifts exceeded the demand many times over, all surplus we sent back to Ukraine. With support from the school’s graduates, Kozminski has provided over 2000 medical kits, 300 sleeping bags, and 500 pillows to the Ukrainian territorial defense. Soon, the University will also be donating a mobile operating table with battery-powered lamps, thanks to the commitment of the Getinge company. 

Closing part of the university, including a complete shutdown of the library, and reading area, where people stayed overnight and a kindergarten operated, was met with complete understanding from Kozminski’s community. KU employees and students devoted a lot of personal time and energy to help. After a week, the city authorities mobilized the aid on a larger scale. As a result, the university closed its receiving point and focused on other forms of support for Ukraine. The school set up fundraising through the Kozminski Foundation, which provides funds to Kozminski students, graduates, employees, and their families affected by the war in Ukraine. The school also initiated a blood donation action for the injured and gathered supplies to help animals that suffered from the war. Kozminski University decided to launch activities to support its Ukrainian partners. These include providing three refugee staff members who coordinate student and faculty work at Krok University (Kyiv) with space in Kozminski Library and establishing temporary offices for them.  Ukrainian students, employees, and their families have been offered support from the Kozminski University Legal Office, particularly concerning the legalization process of their stay in Poland, as well as the support in personal well-being provided by the staff of the KU Wellbeing Office and qualified specialists from MindMed Institute of Psychotherapy.
Kozminski University has organized scientific conferences during which KU professors explain the unlawful actions of Russia and the possible consequences of war in the light of international law. Discussion includes scenarios of changes in the global economy caused by numerous crises ranging from humanitarian to migration, energy, and financial ones. In cooperation with the Institute for Social and Economic Enquiry (iSEE), New Europeans, and Media Dialogue, they organized the “New Dawn” initiative, a series of roundtable discussions on the European integration of Ukraine and its future reconstruction.