8 Exciting Alternative MBA Career Paths

alternative MBA career

Not everyone considering an MBA degree wants to work in consulting, marketing, or investment banking. If you’re thinking about going to business school but aren’t keen on the traditional corporate route, that’s okay! The versatility of an MBA extends far beyond these boundaries. Today, we’re identifying several alternative MBA career paths you can pursue that offer both fulfillment and impact. These paths are about making a living and making a difference. Let’s explore some of these less conventional avenues.

Are you curious about your chances of getting into a top B-school? Contact us to talk strategy with a free 15-minute advising session with an SBC Principal Consultant.

Most Popular Alternative MBA Career Paths

Social Impact Entrepreneurship

Social impact entrepreneurship offers a compelling alternative MBA career path for applicants who are passionate about making a difference in their communities and beyond. By founding ventures that address pressing societal issues, such as poverty or environmental sustainability, MBA graduates can combine profit with purpose to drive meaningful change.

alternative MBA career

Check out Stanford Graduate School of Business and UC Berkeley Haas School of Business for this career path. 

Stanford’s Center for Social Innovation and its Impact Labs provide ample opportunities for students interested in social entrepreneurship. The school offers courses, workshops, and resources specifically tailored to this area.

Berkeley Haas is known for its emphasis on social responsibility and sustainability. The Center for Social Sector Leadership and the Institute for Business & Social Impact offer numerous programs, fellowships, and resources for students interested in social impact entrepreneurship.

Nonprofit Management 

MBA holders interested in the nonprofit sector can leverage their skills to manage charitable organizations effectively. From fundraising to strategic planning, these professionals play a crucial role in maximizing the impact of philanthropic initiatives.

alternative MBA career

For this career path, check out Michigan Ross School of Business and Kellogg School of Management.

Ross offers a Nonprofit Management Program within its MBA curriculum. This program gives students a deep understanding of the nonprofit sector and the skills needed to lead nonprofit organizations effectively.

Kellogg offers a Nonprofit Management Certificate Program, which provides students with the skills and knowledge necessary to lead and manage non-profit organizations effectively. The program covers topics such as fundraising, strategic planning, and governance.

Stacy Blackman Consulting offers a Social Impact Accelerator package specially created for social-impact-focused applicants applying to top MBA programs. Contact us today to learn more about this exciting onramp to a social impact career. 

Sustainability Consulting

As businesses increasingly prioritize sustainability, there is a growing demand for consultants who can help companies integrate environmentally responsible practices into their operations. MBA graduates focusing on sustainability consulting guide organizations toward more sustainable business models and practices.

alternative MBA career

For this career path, check out the MIT Sloan School of Management and INSEAD.

MIT Sloan offers a Sustainability Certificate Program, which allows students to explore sustainability issues and solutions through coursework, projects, and experiential learning opportunities. The school’s Sustainability Initiative provides additional resources and support for students interested in sustainability consulting.

INSEAD offers a certificate program in Social Entrepreneurship and Social Business, including coursework and sustainability consulting activities. The school’s Hoffmann Global Institute for Business and Society provides additional resources and support for students interested in sustainability-focused careers.

Technology Management

The intersection of business and technology offers exciting opportunities for B-school graduates as an alternative MBA career path. By leading initiatives in product development, digital transformation, and IT strategy, these professionals drive innovation and strategic growth within technology-driven organizations.

For this career path, check out CMU Tepper School of Business and Kellogg School of Management.

Tepper offers a Technology Leadership Track within its MBA program. This track gives students the skills and knowledge to lead in technology-driven organizations. The program includes technology strategy, product management, and innovation management coursework.

Kellogg offers a Technology Industry Management (TIM) pathway within its MBA program. This pathway focuses on the management challenges and opportunities unique to the technology sector. The program includes specialized coursework, experiential learning opportunities, and access to a strong network of alums in the technology industry.

Healthcare Administration

MBA holders in healthcare administration play a vital role in managing the business aspects of healthcare delivery. From overseeing hospital operations to navigating healthcare policy, these professionals contribute to improving patient outcomes and organizational efficiency.

Check out the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and Duke’s Fuqua School of Business for this career path.

Wharton offers a Healthcare Management Program within its MBA curriculum, providing students with opportunities to explore the business side of healthcare through coursework, experiential learning opportunities, and access to a network of healthcare industry professionals.

Fuqua offers a Health Sector Management Program within its MBA curriculum, focusing on the business aspects of healthcare delivery, financing, and innovation. The program includes coursework, experiential learning opportunities, and access to a network of healthcare industry professionals.

Don’t miss Why an MBA in Healthcare is Your Winning Combo

Government and Public Policy

 Those interested in public service and policy-making can pursue rewarding government and public administration careers as an alternative MBA career path. Graduates bring valuable strategic planning and financial management skills to inform policy decisions and drive economic growth.

For this career path, check out Harvard Business School and Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business

Harvard Kennedy School offers a master’s in public administration (MPA) program focusing on government and public policy. The school provides rigorous policy analysis, leadership, and management training for students interested in public sector careers. 

By participating in the HBS/HKS joint degree programs, structured to be completed in three years, candidates will have demonstrated exceptional aptitude in the complementary areas of policy expertise and cross-disciplinary management. 

Georgetown McDonough’s Center for Business and Policy allows students to explore the intersection of business and government through coursework, experiential learning opportunities, and access to a network of government and nonprofit leaders.

Education Management 

MBA professionals in education management contribute to creating more effective and equitable learning environments. Whether leading educational institutions or shaping education policy, these individuals play a crucial role in fostering innovation and excellence in education.

Check out Columbia Business School and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School for this career path.

Columbia offers a Program in Social-Enterprise and Education Management (SEE) within its MBA curriculum. The program provides students with the skills and knowledge needed to lead educational organizations effectively.

The M.S.Ed. in Education Entrepreneurship dual degree is an exciting opportunity for Wharton MBA students who recognize new challenges and opportunities due to the tectonic shifts underway in society, business, and education. Combining a master’s in Education Entrepreneurship with an MBA from Wharton creates a unique, highly marketable degree.

These programs provide students with the skills and knowledge needed to lead educational organizations and drive innovation in education.

Arts and Entertainment Management

Creative individuals can leverage their MBA to excel in arts and entertainment management. From managing cultural institutions to producing multimedia content, MBA graduates bring business acumen to the creative industries, driving success and sustainability.

For this career path, check out NYU Stern School of Business and UCLA Anderson School of Management.

NYU Stern offers a specialization in Entertainment, Media, and Technology (EMT) within its MBA program. The EMT specialization covers entertainment strategy, marketing, finance, and digital media. This provides students with a strong foundation for careers in the art and entertainment industries.

UCLA Anderson offers an MBA specialization in Entertainment Management. The specialization covers topics such as entertainment marketing, distribution, finance, and talent management, preparing students for leadership roles in the entertainment industry.

Anything But Ordinary

With a little imagination and a lot of hustle, you can turn your MBA into a ticket to an exciting, fulfilling career that’s anything but ordinary.  The diverse alternative MBA career paths highlighted above merely hint at the breadth of opportunities available to graduates beyond the conventional corporate sphere.

Whether driving social change, leading sustainable initiatives, or shaping policy and innovation, an MBA degree equips professionals of all stripes with the skills and knowledge to make a meaningful impact across various sectors.

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Stacy Blackman Consulting offers multiple services to meet your MBA application needs, from our All-In Partnership and Interview Prep to hourly help with essay editing, resume review, and much more! Contact us today for a free 15-minute advising session to talk strategy with a Principal SBC consultant.

Here’s a snapshot of the caliber of expertise on our SBC team.

SBC’s star-studded consultant team is unparalleled. Our clients benefit from current intelligence that we receive from the former MBA Admissions Officers from Harvard HBS, Wharton and every elite business program in the US and Europe.  These MBA Admissions Officers have chosen to work exclusively with SBC.

Just two of the many superstars on the SBC team:
Meet Anthony, who served as the Associate Director of MBA Admissions at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he dedicated over 10 years of expertise.

Meet Andrea, who served as the Associate Director of MBA Admissions Marketing at Harvard Business School (HBS) for over five years.

Tap into this inside knowledge for your MBA applications by requesting a consultation.

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