Impact Expedition Hao Ge

Social Impact Learnings: A Student’s Perspective on the MBA Impact Expedition

by Hao Ge | January 16, 2024
Immerse yourself in Hao's transformative journey, where he delved into the realm of social impact, unearthing profound insights that have ignited an enduring passion for driving positive change in his future career.

About the MBA Social Impact Expedition

The Social Impact Expedition is one highlight of HHL’s Master in Business Administration program. In its course ‘Sustainability, Society, Social Entrepreneurship and You’, students travel to a European destination to directly experience pressing social and sustainability issues. Through city exploration, interactions with managers and social entrepreneurs, and reflections on societal impact, participants learn about challenges, distinctive business practices, and success factors for addressing global challenges. This international impact expedition focuses on social innovation, new businesses, and the role of social entrepreneurship in creating a sustainable world.

The following article complements an Experience Report on the Impact Expedition by our full-time MBA student Jitin Varghese Philip.


“The meaning of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for a newer and richer experience.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

Hao Ge introduces himself

As an MBA student, I enrolled in September 2022 at HHL and recently embarked on a mind-changing Social Impact Expedition to Vienna, along with the whole MBA 23 class. This immersive experience allowed me to dive deep into social impact, uncovering profound insights and igniting a sustained passion for creating positive change in my future career. In this reflective blog, facing readers who aspire to be future leaders with positive impacts, I would like to share my personal journey, highlight the transformative power of inspiration, and convey a proactive message to shape a brighter future through social entrepreneurship.

Hao Ge | Full-time MBA student

Hao Ge is a dynamic Full-time MBA student at HHL. Originally from Anhui, China, he was a project integrator in manufacturing before joining HHL. Motivated by the outstanding reputation, extensive alumni network, and vibrant entrepreneurial atmosphere of HHL, Hao is eager to develop leadership skills, broaden financial perspectives, and nurture entrepreneurial capabilities. Leipzig’s enchanting music scene and serene lake parks also appeal to him, adding an extra experience to his learning journey.

About the HHL Social Impact Expedition

The social impact goes beyond the traditional bottom line of profits, focusing instead on creating positive change and addressing societal challenges, via the invention of new products, new services, new technologies, or new business models, thus leading to new ways of living. It is a vital aspect of the business landscape, where companies have the power and responsibility to contribute to the well-being of communities and the environment.

Throughout my studies at HHL, I have been fortunate to engage with the concept of social impact in various ways. From coursework on Business Ethics and Circular Economy to the thought-provoking New Leipzig Talent coaching program, my education has underscored the importance of integrating social impact into business strategies. These experiences have deepened my understanding that businesses have the power to shape and influence society, while also shouldering the responsibility to create positive social footprints.

During this 4-day impact study expedition in Vienna, I had the privilege of visiting remarkable organizations and meeting extraordinary individuals who have dedicated their lives to social change. These encounters gave me valuable personal takeaways that influenced both my business mindset and philosophical reflections.



The importance of inclusive education

One of the most profound moments occurred during the Teach for Austria session. It became painfully evident that, by the age of 10, children from households with lower income and limited parental education faced a staggering 3-year gap in their knowledge levels compared to their counterparts from more affluent and academically oriented households. Observing the stark educational disparities among children from different family backgrounds, such as varying levels of parental education, immigration histories, and income levels, opened my eyes to the urgent need for inclusive education.

Inclusive education transcends the mere integration of students from diverse backgrounds, encompassing individuals of varying cultural heritages, ethnicities, races, and religious beliefs within the same classrooms. Its purpose extends far beyond the avoidance of a potential clash of civilizations, as Samuel Huntington once suggested. Instead, inclusive education strives to create an environment where every student feels valued, respected, and empowered, fostering a sense of unity, empathy, and appreciation for the rich tapestry of human diversity that exists within our global community. This vision of inclusivity aligns seamlessly with the ethos of the HHL business school, as we strive to create a global society that celebrates the richness and diversity of the community.

The transformative effect of empowerment

This experience also resonated deeply within me and reminded me of my past three years in a teaching support program. It reaffirmed the power that teachers hold to sow seeds of hope in the hearts of their students, knowing that these seeds will bloom and shape the future. Through our program, we have witnessed the transformative effect of empowering children to believe in their ability to make a positive impact. More children have been inspired to pursue higher education, crossing the chasm that once constrained them and opening alternative doors of opportunity.


“This experience serves as a powerful reminder that we are not bound by the limitations of the present.“

Social entrepreneurship and its transformative impact

Furthermore, the experience in Impact Hub Vienna, a public incubator, introduced me to inspiring social entrepreneurs who have pushed the boundaries of traditional business practices. Elena Yaneva, the founder of Hempstatic, showcased the transformative potential of eco-building materials. Her commitment to sustainability and her relentless pursuit of alternative solutions to traditional concrete construction materials shed light on a fascinating business insight – the cyclical nature of history and how it breathes life into the past. While the widespread use of concrete, incorporating lime clasts, can be traced back to the Roman Empire that thrived around 150 BC, it is equally intriguing to witness the resurgence of bio-oriented building materials in other parts of the world. In regions like China, Japan, and Southeast Asia, bamboo and wood have long been embraced as sustainable construction materials in houses, temples, and other public architectures.

“This experience serves as a powerful reminder that we are not bound by the limitations of the present.“

Instead, we have the opportunity to build upon the knowledge of our ancestors, integrating it with contemporary values and technological advancements with more environmental awareness and social responsibility. Similarly, Nadina Ruedl, the founder of Pflanzerei, a vegan butcher shop, challenged societal norms and highlighted the impact of conscious consumption. These encounters inspired me to think innovatively and consider the social and environmental implications of business decisions, both as a professional and responsible global citizen.


Impact Expedition Hao Ge

picture by Andile Gula-Ndebele, visit in Impact Hub Vienna

Personal Lessons Learned at Social Impact Expedition

As the reflection on my journey and the invaluable lessons learned, I am motivated to convey a proactive message to my fellows, next entrepreneurs, future leaders, and the broader business community:

We possess a unique opportunity to shape the future of business and society, NOW! Let us embrace social entrepreneurship, leveraging our business acumen and passion to tackle pressing grand challenges, such as education equity, global health, demographics, technology ethics, and sustainable development.

Personally, as a fervent believer in sustainable energy and devoted to the inclusive distributed energy revolution, I aim to make a tangible impact by championing clean and renewable energy solutions, reducing carbon footprints, thus fostering a sustainable future and promoting social well-being.

By channeling inspiration into action, we can collectively shape a brighter future. Let us embrace social entrepreneurship, challenge conventional norms, and work tirelessly to create a world where sustainable practices and social well-being thrive hand in hand. Together, we can be catalysts for a more equitable, inclusive, and sustainable society.