In today’s atmosphere, it’s becoming increasingly important for businesses to see themselves as more than just engines of profit. Leaders including Marc Benioff, Arianna Huffington, and Walter Isaacson have stated that businesses have a responsibility to lead with purpose, and some of the most renowned institutions are following suit by training the next generation of purpose-led executives.

The University of North Carolina, for instance, has teamed up with Fortune to offer an innovative executive certificate program called “Change the World: Lead With Purpose.” According to the University’s Kenan-Flagler Business School website, the online course will teach students how to develop their own leadership style, understand change and how to manage it comfortably, and how to address and solve problems effectively. At the heart of the program is the question, “Is doing good good business?”

Fortune president Alan Murray offered more details on the thinking behind the collaboration: “we at Fortune are committed to serving the growing ranks of business leaders who are rethinking their obligations to society and infusing their organizations with purpose.” He notes that the course, taught by UNC faculty, will use Fortune interviews with “CEOs of the world’s top companies as tools of instruction.”

This emphasis on purpose — instead of an obsessive focus on traditional metrics of success like money and power  is part of a larger cultural shift, illustrated elsewhere by the popularity of Yale’s Happiness course ( the most popular in its 316-year history), and the fact that millennials are pursuing companies committed to social causes.

Learn more about UNC’s course here


  • Alexandra Hayes

    Content Director, Product & Brand, at Thrive

    Alexandra Hayes is a Content Director, Product & Brand, at Thrive. Prior to joining Thrive, she was a middle school reading teacher in Canarsie, Brooklyn.