How can an MBA help you launch a career in social impact?
I’m keen to pursue a career in social impact, but not sure how suitable an MBA will be in this field. I’d love to know more about how an MBA might help me in a nonprofit environment, as well as within impact driven for profit companies.
This week’s applicant question is answered by Deirdre Kane, director of admissions for the full-time MBA at The University of Georgia’s Terry School of Business.
The world needs more do-gooder MBAs, and studying one can prepare you brilliantly to drive social innovation in your community. An MBA will develop your business acumen, which is highly coveted in nonprofit management. It also teaches you solid frameworks to help you encourage ethical, socially responsible business practice within larger for profit corporations.
Here’s how an MBA can offer you the insights and connections you need to succeed in bringing about social change through business, as well as some tips for your application:
Having worked in nonprofits before, I’ve experienced some of the challenges they often face from being under resourced, lacking properly trained staff, or even not having enough funding to do what they want to do.
In many ways, everything is a business problem, so if an MBA graduate comes into a nonprofit management role with that business background and mindset, they'll be able to make better decisions for the organization in terms of managing people, processes and funds.
At Terry Georgia, we’re well positioned in the Athens community, which is a hub for non-profits and philanthropy. Being able to spend time in that environment gives our students real insight when it comes to social impact work.
We also have social innovation track as part of our MBA offering, allowing you to focus in on impact-driven business. Through our social innovation board we have lots of connections within the city to set up internships at organizations committed to a range of social causes.
An MBA can also set you up really well to work in for profit companies with a social mission.
Many of our alumni at Terry Georgia also gone down the corporate route of social innovation, driving social change within large business, supporting the B Corp movement, or doing consulting work with civic and community minded organisations.
During your MBA you will learn a range of business models and approaches to will help you asses and develop social responsibility within a given company. One such framework we teach is the ‘triple bottom line’, three questions to ask to assess and encourage ethical, socially responsible practices in your company.
Application tips for MBA candidates interested in social impact
I’ll give the same advice I give to everyone. You need to demonstrate in your application that you have reasonable, achievable goals, and that what you want to do in the future is tied to what you have been doing in your professional life so far.
So, if social impact is the direction you're interested in going in, what can you start doing now? What have you been doing within your own firm, organization or community? It’s crucial to make this clear in your application, so we can see that you have a genuine passion in your chosen field.
Also, it’s ok to have tried lots of things out in your career leading up to your MBA, but what’s important is you can identify the patterns of interest through your work. That way, we’ll know what really drives you, and we can help you get there.
Ask an Admissions Expert a Question
Next week, you'll have the chance to ask Melody Jones, co-founder of Vantage Point MBA Admissions Consulting, anything you want about getting into business school.
Vantage Point works with applicants to help them get into top MBA programs the world over. Team members include former admissions directors, MBA students, and post-MBA professionals.
Melody also holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.
Got a question you'd love Melody to answer? Submit your question.