Partner Sites


Logo BusinessBecause - The business school voice
mobile search icon

Bain, BCG, And McKinsey Are Snapping Up MBAs For Social Impact Consulting — Here's Why

The consulting industry has spotted an opportunity in “impact advising” — and MBA jobs abound

Mon May 16 2016

BusinessBecause
Fadzi Whande wasn’t in search of riches when she began an executive MBA in Australia. “I have always wanted to start my own consulting firm and set up a foundation to educate and empower women,” she beams.

With a passion for social justice and heroes such as Martin Luther King Jr, Fadzi did just that. She’s the founder of premier diversity consultancy Whande Group and has interests in a plethora of social impact initiatives, from non-profits to a consulting firm that fights institutional racism in schools.

“The networks I have formed have opened up so many opportunities for me,” she says of her three years at Perth’s UWA Business School. “The experience has been life changing in so many ways.”

More than half of MBA students plan to put positive impact ahead of financial gain, according to research from Bain & Company. The firm, along with McKinsey & Company and Boston Consulting Group, are offering MBA jobs in sustainability, healthcare and environmental consulting, says Vimi Emraz, consulting careers lead at the prestigious business school INSEAD.

“Lots of big firms have social impact practices,” she smiles.

The consulting industry has spotted an opportunity in “impact advising”. Nine in 10 companies are engaged in social impact activity, according to a survey of Fortune 500 firms by Deloitte. Such is demand that the professional services firm set up a dedicated social impact practice in September last year.

“Organizations of all kinds — businesses, multilateral organizations and foundations — operate in an extremely global way. This presents a major opportunity,” says Jerry O’Dwyer, Deloitte principal and head of the new consulting practice.

With the UN’s Millennium Development Goals agreed last year, and the COP21 climate talks in Paris, there has never been a better time for businesses to take a look at sustainability, according to Simon Abrams, senior manager for climate change and sustainability consulting at Ernst & Young.

“The commitments made by governments and the implications for businesses will shape consulting trends for years to come,” says the Henley Business School graduate. The growing scope of issues mean there is a thirst for talent, Simon says. “There are really good jobs, which need really good people.”

Consulting firms are the lead employers at most business schools, and have been for decades. McKinsey doubled the number of MBAs it hired last year at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, for instance, says Sheryle Dirks, associate dean for careers. Many of those jobs will be in strategy consulting, but opportunities do exist in areas related to social impact, suggests Peter Lacy, managing director of Accenture Strategy.

“We need people at Accenture who can bring a different perspective,” he says, adding: “We are the biggest employer of MBAs in the world.”

Peter hints at the circular economy, which Accenture reckons could be a $4.5 trillion market globally by 2030. “The circular economy is one of the most disruptive forces we will see. It will define business in the next generation,” he says.

While consulting firms are increasingly expanding their “impact” practices, some may find it difficult to hire and hold MBAs. They are of the millennial generation; more concerned with fulfilment, purpose and entrepreneurialism than earning six-figure sums.

“What they’re looking for is purpose, but in a different way. They’re looking for jobs that matter,” says Wally Hopp, senior associate dean at Michigan’s Ross School of Business.

Daniela Papi-Thornton, deputy director of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School, says companies should not side-line these initiatives. Instead, they should “redesign businesses from the inside so that social and environmental responsibility are embedded in the organization”.

Examples of this shift are already evident across sectors, from finance and banking to fast-moving consumer goods.

“Big firms like Deloitte and others give full credit to young consultants who work on pro bono projects,” for example, says Ben Mangan, executive director of the Center for Social Sector Leadership at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.

Katya Akulinicheva has worked at investment banks Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and Lazard, but the chance to explore impact was why she decided to begin an MBA at INSEAD. “My ultimate objective was to learn what social impact was — what are the different paths?” she says.

Now she’s a senior consultant at Dalberg Global Development Advisors, a consultancy firm specializing in international development. Katya says it’s easier to land a job if you have a background in consulting, “but we hire from all different fields”.

Passion, an analytical mind set and flexibility are important. Above all, “demonstrate that you don’t want a cushy corporate job”.

Student Reviews

Duke University Fuqua School of Business

Student

Verified

31/10/2023

On Campus

Supportive atmosphere

The professors at Duke university exhibit exceptional commitment to the success and well-being of their students by ensuring their academic growth and fostering a supportive social atmosphere. Moreover, the entire community is recognized for its amicability and inclusiveness.

Maxwell

Verified

30/03/2023

On Campus

Diversity

The people or the students are without a doubt Duke's greatest asset. While all students are driven to succeed, they are also enthusiastic about a variety of hobbies. You run across a huge lot of diversity. It is the ideal example of a school with well-rounded students and the ideal balance of campus life in a metropolis.

Anabelle

Verified

27/02/2023

On Campus

Happy to school

All I could ever hope for is Duke University. That really epitomizes the "work hard, play hard" philosophy that elite colleges frequently pursue. Even though you'll have a lot of schooling to complete over the week, it's simple to keep focused because all of your friends are putting in similar amounts of effort. Many events taking place on and around campus on the weekends provide a great way to unwind. The combination of demanding academics and traditional college fun strikes the perfect balance.

Monica

Verified

27/02/2023

On Campus

Good schooling

Living, eating, learning, and developing who you want to be as an adult are all fantastic at Duke. I participated in student athletics, and I couldn't have asked for a better interaction with the faculty and other students. I appreciate all of the help I get from the Duke community more than anything. Furthermore, the teachers take the time to get to know you, and the lectures are diverse and demanding (if you do the same). I'd give it a 10 out of 10.

Aline

Verified

26/11/2022

On Campus

Beautiful School, Nice Classes

DU remains one the greatest and best universities that I have ever stepped in. The school is beautiful and neat. The classes are spacious and also very nice. I enjoyed attending my Lectures in those lecture halls. I also loved the Lecturers because of the good work they did. The university also has very good dorms that are given to students on first come first serve basis and they are affordable

Student

Verified

29/06/2022

Blended

Amazing experience

I received my B.S. in Biology and B.A. in Global Health with a minor in Chemistry from Duke University. I was able to grow as a student, scientist, and global health advocate with the help of my friends, professors, and other mentors I met along the way. A lot to learn if you look and ask, a great place to learn for those who want to learn.

Student

Verified

29/06/2022

Blended

whirlwind of growth and change

An amazing 2 years, with covid and everything else happening Duke has been a place of growth for me. The courses , classes were one of a kind, online and on campus. But the valuable lessons learned in the classes are irreplicable. The students are amazing here, so much diversity , I had no problem fitting in. The teachers are down right brilliant and so helpful. Don't be afraid to ask them anything. Graduated with my MBA with Duke and now my future awaits.

Student

Verified

29/06/2022

On Campus

One of the best for Business students

Graduated with an MBA. The classes were very insightful and engaging. The staff are very easy to deal with. The teachers and students, are truly amazing people. Grateful to all the people I've met along the way at Duke. I've learnt a great deal that will help me in my future endeavors. The campus itself is a marvel, it is beautiful.

Student

Verified

16/06/2022

On Campus

The university campus is awesome

I graduated with a masters degree in Religious Studies from Duke University. One thing I really liked about the university is its huge campus. It is spread in a large area with a lot of greenery and also have the facilities of reading rooms for single person also. My department building was very well taken care of. The library is immensely populated with books for all your needs. The faculty is very nice to students. The classes are equipped with latest technology to cater the needs of students. The University also provides room rentals for international students. They are very well maintained and priority is given to the International students for a comfortable stay there. There are weekly events conducted by the University as well as Student clubs for the entertainment of students. Anybody can take part in them and show their talents. I enjoyed my degree and I graduated in 2021 and was very happy that I had graduated from a reputed University.

RECAPTHA :

82

25

dd

85