Ethical Leadership

USD alumna Alexandra Steinhaus '15 (BA), '20 (MA)


The beautiful campus may have attracted her to USD, but for Alexandra Steinhaus ’15 (BA), ’20 (MA), the stellar educational experience kept her here. She came to USD in Fall 2011 to pursue her undergraduate degree. On a whim, she took a course in the School of Business  and it all clicked.

“I ended up in a marketing class. It was so much fun. I got to be creative but also strategic,” she recalls. “What I really valued was they talked a lot about becoming an ethical leader. It was all about how you can change the world through business.”

Inspired by the pursuit of business as a force for good, Steinhaus knew she wanted to continue on this path. That’s where the Master of Arts in Social Innovation (MASI) from the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies came in. She sees the program as a “perfect glove” that combines her love of business with social innovation.

In Spring 2020, this combination of undergraduate and graduate studies became an official program with the launch of the Kroc School combined degrees. The programs, which allow business and engineering undergraduates to earn credits towards a MASI or Master of Arts in Peace and Justice Studies degree, offer students a continuation of their changemaking education — an accelerated academic path and a career jump-start that sets them apart from peers.

“What’s great about the MASI program is you can come in and out of it with any sector. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in. What matters is that you’re trying to solve problems in new ways,” says Steinhaus. “I came into MASI thinking, ‘Let’s see how we can make businesses more authentic and more involved in actual, sustainable solutions to social problems.’”

Having a background in business and innovation has positioned her for a career of ethical leadership. “One of the biggest things I tell people when I think about USD is how it taught me to ask questions and to think critically,” she says. “USD gave me so many different opportunities to learn new things, to try new things, to become a leader in a very safe space and so I’m very grateful.” — Allyson Meyer ’16 (BA), ’21 (MBA)

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