More MBAs Put Their Business Savvy to Work for Non-Profits

The notion of using a management degree to do good while doing well is growing in popularity on today’s business school campuses, where an ever-increasing number of MBAs are putting their business savvy to use within the non-profit sector.

For years, the corporate sector has lent its practices and expertise to the non-profit sector, but there is an increasing awareness of what the non-profit world can teach its for-profit counterpart, Stacy Blackman explains in Thursday’s Financial Times article, Capturing the Hearts and Minds of MBAs.

In fact, the ability to fundraise and operate on a tight budget ”“ two attributes of non-profits, are particularly relevant in a down economy, she says. “As companies big and small need to scale back, employees need to be more flexible,” says Blackman.

“Often in a non-profit, individuals pitch in where they can and are not necessarily tied to a specific role,” she adds. “Being able to wear many hats and adapt quickly will be helpful if you are seeking a new job, and have to reinvent yourself.”

John Fernandes, president of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, tells FT that the new generation of students is more environmentally and socially conscious than previous generations. That, combined with the downturn in the economy that had a disastrous impact on the number of jobs in corporate sector, is why “there are more MBAs going to non-profits,” he says.

Net Impact, the global group that promotes socially and environmentally sustainable business practices, reports that 57% of new MBAs say they are rethinking their career objectives because of the financial crisis, FT reveals, adding that of those, 15% are more interested in pursuing a career in the non-profit sector than they were before the financial crisis.

“Even though these jobs don’t offer the same upward remuneration that the for-profit sector does, they tend to have better balance of life and they speak to the desire of this new generation of MBAs to do good with their business degree,” Fernandes tells FT. “To many of these students the measure of success is not income, it’s more holistic.”

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