MBA

Want a purpose-driven career? A social impact MBA might be right for you

SOURCE: ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP
Want your work to serve a greater purpose? Here’s why a social impact MBA can help you achieve that goal.


By U2B Staff 

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Do you want to carve yourself a career that acts as a stepping stone towards helping you achieve your goal of healing others or the wider society? A social impact MBA might just be your calling.  

While an MBA will give you a broad overview of management skills, a social impact MBA can also help you develop the theoretical and practical skills needed to advance your career in rewarding pathways such as corporate social responsibility, social enterprise, and philanthropy.

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There’s never been a more opportune time to jump in the field. Sustainability is high on the political agenda while the general public is growing increasingly aware of how our daily choices, such as the food and clothes we purchase, to the organisations we support, can affect the environment or communities around us. 

An increasing number of companies look towards reducing their carbon footprint and being more “green” and socially responsible due to consumer demand. As sustainable business models grow, there’s more potential for new career options in the field to grow. 

A programme for responsible leaders

There are a growing number of related MBAs for future leaders to make a sustainable impact on the world. 

The University of California Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, for instance, offers the MBA social impact coursework and experiential learning opportunities. 

Learners will be exposed to courses such as Social Investing, Human Rights, and Business and Social Impact Marketing, as well as hands-on learning available through Social Sector Solutions, Social Lean Launchpad, and Impact Investing Practicum.

Some of the Social Impact Coursework learners will be exposed to include the following areas: social change, human rights, and business and social investing, to name a few.

Student teams also partner with McKinsey & Company coaches to provide strategic consultation to a nonprofit, social enterprise, or public organisation to facilitate their learning.

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At the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, students will get to carve their own path in their social impact MBA. Its website notes that “Booth offers lots of ways to learn in areas that span from the community and social sector to global issues and policy change. More than getting an MBA in social impact alone, you are exposed to a broad business foundation with opportunities to build upon your unique educational and professional background. So you get exactly what you need out of your two years here.”

Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management offers a Social Impact pathway, which is designed for students who want to create positive social change throughout their careers. 

The school notes that the conceptual basis of the pathway includes classes to define social value; identify and implement strategies to effect change through partnerships between business, government, and non-profits; and anticipate and manage inevitable value conflicts. 

“The pathway recognises that social change may come through different professional tracks: The Policy track examines the interface with and impact of the public sector, the Nonprofit Management track looks at leading non-profit organizations, and the Social Innovation track focuses on new and sustainable approaches to impact and scale,” it said.

At the end of the day, there are many related MBAs in the field so be sure to inquire about the programme with your respective business school to ensure that it meets your career aspirations and goals.