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January 6, 2023

Usd Knauss 5

The Knauss School of Business is a division of the University of San Diego (USD) that provides students with higher education as they earn their undergraduate and graduate degrees in business. They seek to create socially responsible leaders with a global mindset through academically rigorous, relevant and values-based education and research. The Knauss School of Business is a longtime partner of the Workforce Partnership, including collaborating to host the annual Economic Roundtable event in partnership with the County of San Diego. Here, we learn how the Knauss School of Business is making an impact, the programs they offer and what change they want to see for San Diego.

How is the Knauss School of Business impacting the community?

The Knauss School of Business at the University of San Diego is a dedicated partner to many institutions throughout the San Diego region. We house five centers of excellence, which not only offer student support but also offer valuable community programs for local professionals and businesses. The Free Enterprise Institute catalyzes innovative ideas with dedicated resources for San Diego startups, and the Ahlers Center for International Business offers workshops and consulting programs to help local businesses create a global imprint and expand into international markets, to name a few.

What else do you want the community to know about the Knauss School of Business?

At the Knauss School of Business, we wholeheartedly believe in business as a force for good. We are committed to educating ethical and compassionate business leaders who are equipped and motivated to become global business stewards, changing the world one innovative idea at a time. We’re proud to say that changemakers graduate from USD every day: business alumnus Patrick Frank ’14 founded PatientPartner, the first platform to empower and educate medical patients by providing personalized one-on-one support from former patients. Erika Rodriguez ’15 opened Nadi Marketing, an eco-minded marketing agency that directly supports environmentally and socially responsible clients including The Mighty Bin, San Diego’s first zero-waste grocery store.

We also recently received a naming gift from the former CEO of Clorox, Don Knauss, and his wife, Ellie. Their gift supported the opening of a new learning complex at USD, a luminous collaboration and innovation ecosystem for our business students — San Diego businesses and community members are regularly invited to the Knauss Center for Business Education for events and workshops — featuring more than 20 active-learning classrooms, dedicated data analytics and finance labs, private focus rooms, a media production studio and more.

Can you tell me more about the programs you offer?

We offer 10 business majors and 9 graduate programs including our newly redesigned MBA program, which now requires students to complete a social impact consulting project. In their classes, USD business students often participate in projects to give back to the community, from developing digital ad campaigns for small, local businesses, to conducting research and business analytics consulting for nonprofits like 211 that help the San Diegans experiencing homeless access critical resources.

In addition, our centers of excellence offer numerous programs and events for the San Diego business community including the Ahlers Center’s Global Readiness and Global Market Navigator programs, the Free Enterprise Institute’s San Diego Angel Conference, the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate’s Morning Series on local real estate trends, and the Supply Chain Management Institute’s bi-annual professional conferences.

How would you like to see San Diego change for the better?

We’d like to see San Diego be a place where everyone can thrive. When Don and Ellie Knauss invested in our school, they pointed to how businesses can play a vital role for society: “Without the creation of wealth, no society can take care of its most vulnerable, lift the standard of living of its citizens or make the investments needed to preserve the planet for future generations.”

As a Catholic university, we believe we have a responsibility to expand access so that everyone has the opportunity to pursue an excellent education. To that end, USD has recently been recognized as an emerging Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and aims to become a full-fledged HSI by 2026. This outreach to the Hispanic community in San Diego and statewide, as well as to other under-represented communities, is consistent with our values. We hope expanding access in this way will also strengthen the San Diego community we call home.

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