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Here's 5 Reasons Why You Should Choose An MBA Career With Social Impact

The opportunities to positively impact people and the planet, and make a decent salary, are vast

Sun Mar 11 2018

Financial rewards and perks such as ping pong tables and pizza ovens are no longer enough for companies to attract graduates of the world’s leading business schools. A survey by the consultancy firm Bain & Company of 1,500 MBAs found that more than half would prioritize impact in their career over money.

For the other half, below are five reasons why you should chose a career that contributes to improving lives and the environment, as told to the Doing Well Doing Good conference at IESE Business School in Barcelona.

There are 2,429 B Corporations globally (firms that positively impact people and the planet as well turn a profit). Social enterprises employ nearly one million people in the UK. So the job opportunities in the space are vast.

1. You can become a social entrepreneur

Timo Buetefisch founded Cooltra Motos in Barcelona in 2006, two years after getting his MBA at IESE. The company promotes sustainable urban mobility by renting motorcycles to more than 200,000 customers in 27 cities across Spain, Italy, France and Portugal, according to its website.

Cooltra has 450 employees and a fleet of 11,000 scooters; more than 30% of them are electric, says Jordi Tomàs, chief marketing officer, at the IESE conference. “It’s not just about marketing…Even though electric scooters are more expensive than gas ones…it’s the only way to go to improve cities,” he says. Electric cars produce significantly less greenhouse gas emissions than diesel cars, according to a study by Belgium’s VUB University, and they are cheaper to run.

2. You can create positive change

Juan Amat joined PepsiCo as general manager after getting his MBA degree at INSEAD in France and Singapore. The US based company has a triple-bottom-line (it focuses on product, people and planet) and makes $19 billion in net revenue annually in its “nutrition category” — healthier alternatives such as Quaker oats and Tropicana juices.

Juan adds that PepsiCo makes a positive impact by “contributing to the way people eat”. It’s products are consumed one billion times a day in 200 countries, he claims.

3. You can help generate disruptive innovation

Peter Williams is chief operating officer of Alpha, the innovation hub of Spanish telecoms giant Telefónica. He received a doctor of business administration from the University of Glamorgan in Wales, UK.

He heads a small team in Barcelona that works on “moonshoot” projects that could potentially “positively impact the lives of hundreds of millions of people”. One problem he is working on is healthcare. “Costs outstrip global GDP each year,” he says at IESE. “It’s unsustainable.”

He hopes to help solve the growing problem of poor mental health due to obesity, stress and other factors through digital tools that could empower people to “take control of their health.”

4. You can still get paid

The Graduate School of Business at Stanford University in California pays a small number of aspiring social entrepreneurs a $110,000 stipend to start a nonprofit venture to address a pressing social or environmental need.

“As I’ve said before, making money is the easy part — it’s making the world a better place that is the hard part,” says Stanford dean emeritus Arjay Miller, who spearheaded the Social Innovation Fellowship program. “I wanted to encourage students to find unique ways to overcome social challenges, and I’m thrilled with the change these programs have inspired over the past few years.”

5. You will be happier and more satisfied

Making money is not enough to stay motivated in a career. People with a purpose, who use their skills to benefit the communities around them, are more likely to stay with their employer. Happier staff are 12% more productive than unhappy employees, according to research by the Social Market Foundation, so you’ll get more done and feel more satisfied in your job.

“The biggest factor that motivates any worker is a sense of purpose,” says Wally Hopp, senior associate dean at Michigan’s Ross School of Business. “Business students today are looking for jobs that matter.”