The Nonprofit MBA: Not an Oxymoron |

The Nonprofit MBA: Not an Oxymoron

By QS Contributor

Updated September 29, 2014 Updated September 29, 2014

With a good MBA program, combining your love of money and and social work may not be as difficult as one thinks.  

Do MBAs only care about money? Are business-school graduates only trained for the cut-throat world of beating targets and elbowing their way to boardroom status? Many people say yes, and the truth is that there are probably a lot of MBAs out there with said mentality, but of course not all.

If you are interested in business but want to make a "different" kind of contribution to the world, don't discount the MBA.The MBA world provides more opportunities than you think, especially if you are interested in working to help smaller or under-funded businesses. Non-profit organization MBA Corps, for example, prides itself on providing "professional consulting services, management guidance and technical assistance in (its) strike zones-economically challenged urban and rural areas." MBA corps is an American operation that gives volunteers the opportunity to help business within the US or overseas.

Another such organization, MBA Enterprise, allows recent business-school graduates to help underserved economies abroad. The new MBA who signs up with MBA Enterprise will get the chance to donate 12 to 15 months of her time to helping build economies, decreasing poverty and helping communities gain many technical, social, and practical qualities necessary to help societies evolve.

If you want to gear your career towards the nonprofit sector, you will be happy to know that many business schools cater to your intentions. The Haas School of Business at Berkeley offers the Nonprofit and Public Management Program (NPM) which awards its graduates with an MBA and the necessary tools to "found, lead, manage and govern nonprofit and public organizations for the public good." The University of Geneva, HEC School of Management, offers the International Organizations MBA - an MBA for those who wish to "pursue a career in the increasingly interconnected fields of international governmental and nongovernmental organizations and companies that work with these institutions." If Australia is an option, the Queensland University of Technology offers an MBA in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies. These are just a few of the many MBA programs now dedicated to the student who wants a career in the nonprofit sector.

Nunzio Quacquarelli, Managing Director of QS, the company behind the QS World MBA Tour, the world's largest series of business school information events, reports on the growing interest in the nonprofit sector as an option to MBAs: "There has definitely been an increase in the number of future MBA students looking to apply the leadership and management skills taught in business school to the nonprofit sector," he says. "And likewise, there is a strong demand within the nonprofit sector for leaders with an excellent business grounding to pave the way for potentially groundbreaking developments within not-for-profit organizations."

Whether you plan to start-up an environmental protection organization or a charity that promotes education in developing countries, an MBA could prove fruitful in the success of your endeavour. The qualification doesn't have to be about corporate advancement (that is, if you don't want it to be), but can be about the advancement of people, places, knowledge and many other evolving entities.

This article was originally published in November 2012 . It was last updated in September 2014

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