Guest Post by David-Anthony Gordon, a journalist writing for BusinessBecause.com. 

Gone are the days when MBAs were for those looking for a career in the private sector and MPAs (Master of Public Administration) were for those looking to work in the public sector. In an increasingly challenging global environment, MBA hiring in the non-profits has increased.

During any period of economic hardship, non-profits, in particular, must find creative ways to maintain their level of funding while also streamlining operations. Therefore, they are not much different from for-profits. Increasingly, many are turning to MBAs because of their strategic and analytical skills as well as their knowledge of the private sector.

According to Habitat for Humanity, around 10-12% of their staff worldwide have an MBA.

“We need to apply strong and sound managerial principles in managing the resources the organization is entrusted with,” said Katerina Bezgachina on why they hired MBAs.

A survey by Nonprofit HR Solutions showed that 44% of non-profits expected to create new positions within their organizations while 72% said they would not eliminate any positions. This reveals a confidence in the sector that current levels of funding can be secured or increased in order to facilitate new hires.

In the survey, health nonprofits were the most likely to hire new staff, with 62% of them saying they were looking to hire. However, only 30% of arts, culture and humanities organizations said that they would hire new staff.

Non-profits give MBAs the opportunity to utilize their skills and solve social problems. Apart from making a difference, non-profits are an attractive place to work because of their stable and social hours, their good benefits and flexible work schedule.

Liuichi Hara is a Grenoble Ecole de Management MBA and joined the United Nations in July 2012. He is now a consultant for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Copenhagen, Denmark. He was attracted to the non-profit sector because of the opportunity to take on larger responsibility and work on multiple projects. He said that he gained new experience, had more freedom and was able to work towards a goal rather than a bottom line profit.

“The MBA grooms you to learn how to tackle complex issues by structuring your thoughts and break problems down to its component parts,” he said.

“I believe MBAs have a lot to bring to the non-profit sector. MBAs can offer industry knowledge as well as best practices from their respective field that can help improve the non-profit sector to work better and more effectively,” he added.

Liuichi’s specialization in Technology & Innovation Management has been very beneficial at the UN. And he believes the non-profit sector has much to gain from the expertise from private sector professionals in the areas of technology, new product development and continuous improvement.

Triin Visnapuu, a HEC MBA, received the Mid-Career Service Award by the Volunteers For Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA) for her work with MBAs Without Borders in Morocco last year. She said that she chose to leave the banking industry because she wanted to give back and test herself in a new environment.

“I have to give a lot of credit to the HEC Paris MBA,” she said. “I believe the program has truly helped us alumni not only acquire good knowledge of the science of management and establish a highly international network we can tap into, but has also helped us to grow into being independent thinkers willing to venture outside the typical path.”

Triin decided to remain in Morocco after her project ended and now works as the General Manager of the social enterprise she helped to establish during her project.

Working in the non-profit sector can be both challenging and rewarding for an MBA. There are plenty of opportunities for MBAs to transform and enrich organizations and themselves using their business and private sector knowledge.

“The momentum between the private and nonprofit sector is very much different with the private being much faster to make changes,” Liuichi said. “Shifting some of the speed from private to the nonprofit sector would generate a great deal of impact as it would help accelerate implementation of vital projects.

What is evident is that today’s MBAs can shape tomorrow’s non-profits.

David-Anthony Gordon is a journalist writing for BusinessBecause.com, a professional news and networking site for MBAs and the business school world.


In this guest blog, high school student Lily Shenk describes her experience visiting colleges across the Northeast with Forster-Thomas co-founders Evan Forster and David Thomas (AKA Auntie E and Uncle D). 

I recently went on a college tour with Auntie Evan and Uncle David, where we spent three days visiting Roger Williams University, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Northeastern University, Wheaton College, Marist College, and Vassar College.

For as long as I can remember, my Mom and her BFF Auntie Evan have been talking about where I would go to school and what I would do with my life. The arguments would go like this:

“She’s an artist!” Auntie Evan would exclaim.

“But I don’t want her ending up poor!” Mama would yell back.

And somewhere in between, Uncle David would gently mention my love of marine life, animals, biology, and then something about “liberal arts”—whatever that was. But try to get a word in when Auntie Evan and Mama are in what I like to call “arguing-while-drinking” mode—impossible.

I love animals and sea life, but in my heart and in my hands, I am an artist and a craftsperson, so I was most excited to see RISD. That’s where I was sure I could express who I truly am.

Auntie Evan and Uncle D picked me up at LaGuardia Airport and we drove late into the night, straight to Rhode Island. The following morning, after avoiding the lovely do-it-yourself waffle at the Holiday Inn Express, we arrived at Roger Williams University (RWU) for my first real info session and college tour. I had no idea what to anticipate, except that my uncles promised me that it had art and marine biology. And they promised my mother that this could lead to environmental law. (Law school is one of Uncle David’s strengths. Auntie Evan’s is knowing how to say what Mama needs to hear.)

I thought RWU was going to be my least favorite college on our tour, but that quickly changed. RWU had a really cool wet lab, roomy dorms, a great campus, a convenient location, and a welcoming student body; while we were on the tour, Auntie Evan and I broke off and went into the wet lab (AKA a marine biology lab) and one of the students working there—a Graphic Design minor—even invited us in and showed us around. Cuttlefish and pregnant Clownfish—and the students, right from freshman year, get to do research! Love that! I also liked that it was only an hour outside Boston and thirty minutes from either Providence or Newport, RI. Bristol was a typical cute New England town on the water, which is an environment I like. The point is that it had everything, and with my strong B+ average, I might even get some money to attend. Mama loves that. As for me, I never would’ve thought RWU would be my thing, but there it all was. It had everything I want to study: Art and marine life!

Still, I figured RISD would win out. That afternoon, we drove to Providence. It’s beautimus and I love a small city, but right from the start I realized RISD is 100% art—and I am just not an Art-ster. So, while I was sure it would be my favorite school, after visiting, I’m not sure I’ll even apply. It would be a great school for anyone who wants art—and only art. At least that’s how I saw it. In all honesty, it was just too edgy for me. I realized that art is not all that I am interested in, and frankly, the students I met were standoffish and thought they were better than me; I’m a damn good artist and I can hold my own when it comes to drawing free-hand, crocheting, felting, or sculpting. And I’m sure the RISD kids are too, but they were just not me. I’m never going to wear tie-dye, Birkenstocks, or smoke cigarettes. I did not care for the campus set-up, either. It was in Providence and the buildings were spread out throughout a few blocks, so there was this kind of open-in-the-city campus, and I realized that I want a more traditional campus.

The next day we visited Northeastern, with its campus smack in the middle of Boston. A campus and a city! I loved the Co-op program; it allows you to intermittently go to school and work at the same time. Mama would love that! And I might even be able to intern at the New England Aquarium.

On our way back to New York, we stopped by Wheaton College. The snow was falling around this tiny liberal arts school* and the kids thought Auntie Evan and Uncle David were my two dads. That assumption and the poster for HIV testing said a lot about how accepting and laid-back the environment is. Oh, and I still dream about that beautiful botany lab. The problem is that I don’t even remember exactly where Wheaton was, except it was in a cute small town and part of the Marine Studies Consortium.

Maybe I was just getting worn out. Auntie Evan and Uncle David were too, so we took a day off back home in Westchester before heading to Poughkeepsie, where we visited Marist College and Vassar College. They couldn’t have been more different! Both were great, but Marist was way more “vocational” (SAT word!!!!) That means, like Northeastern, it’s all about getting the job right after graduation, while Vassar is all about grad school and higher learning—like RISD without the sole focus on art and cigarettes.

I also liked the dorm situation. At Vassar, the dorms aren’t separated by grade, which I think is the way it should be. You live with students of all ages. At Marist, freshmen live with freshmen. There are pros and cons to that. Like, if you don’t know where a class is, what are the chances another freshman two doors down will? I would say slim to none. The big problems with Vassar? My grades may not be high enough and it’s very expensive. Mama’s gonna hate that!

Here’s what I learned on my first college tour: Sometimes what you think you want and what you actually want are two very different things. I thought I would love a school I hated, and a school I didn’t even want to go to ended up being my favorite. So when you are going on college tours with family or friends—or your two uncles—you should keep an open mind or you might miss out on something great—and be honest with yourself about who you are: I like Alex Claire, my Toms and I want to save the Honey Badger, but at the end of the day I am a Sperry girl who loves her Tori Birch ballet flats and Deva hair products. Three snaps up.

--Lily Schenk

PS. Next tour: Washington D.C.: Catholic v. American—and both Mama and Auntie Evan are coming. Oh, brother!

* I learned that a “liberal arts school” is one that focuses on imparting broad general higher education in the arts and/or sciences, rather than focusing on vocational or technical education such as business or engineering.

Guest Post by Maria Ahmed, Editor at BusinessBecause.com

As the business world grows ever more connected internationally, the new, global version of the MBA is gaining popularity.

These are typically part-time MBA programs, delivered through a mixture of online learning with classmates spread out across nearly every time zone, and regular residencies in different cities around the world where you meet face-to-face.

If you want to embark on one of these programs, you’ll need to show evidence that you're an internationally-minded candidate with a thirst for discovering the world!

The key attraction of these programs is the network you’ll build. Since they’re mostly part-time, your classmates are working and can give you immediate introductions, all-important insider gossip, and hiring information from their employers.

The team at the Duke Cross Continent MBA describe it as an opportunity to build a “culturally-diverse peer network across the globe.” Duke’s Cross Continent MBA is delivered over 16 months in Dubai, New Delhi, St. Petersburg, Shanghai/Kunshan, and Fuqua’s home campus in Durham, North Carolina.

Duke University is something of a pioneer among US institutions in its global coverage, but several European and Asian business schools offer similar programs, for example:

Chinese University Hong Kong partners with four business schools worldwide and its OneMBA takes students to Hong Kong, São Paulo, Rotterdam, Monterrey (Mexico) and Chapel Hill (North Carolina)

The Manchester Business School Global MBA takes place in Manchester, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Miami and Sao Paulo.

Bradford University School of Management offers an EMBA that is delivered in the UK, Dubai and Manila, the Philippines.

So, if you’re applying to one of these programs, how can you show that you’re the type of person who would thrive, and also bring value to the class?

  1. Highlight your travels, whether for work, vacation or something in between like a gap year spent working and backpacking. In particular, highlight any internships, exchanges or voluntary work you have done abroad. It shows that you can handle diverse work environments and want to do more than lie on the beach.
  2. List your languages, even if you’re not fluent. Explain when and why you picked them up. Even if you learned basic Thai on your gap year travels, it shows you’re willing to make the effort.
  3. Include examples from your professional life. If you’ve ever worked abroad or worked with team members in different countries, explain what the project was, your role in it, and the outcome. Show that you’re aware of both the challenges and opportunities that the globalized workplace offers.
  4. If you’re active on LinkedIn or Twitter or have a blog, connect to people and groups worldwide and interact with them through your questions, comments, and posts. You’ll demonstrate that you can find common ground and build relationships with people from very different cultures than your own.
  5. Show that you’re a connector. Give examples of occasions when you’ve used your personal or professional network to connect people successfully, whether in your own country or abroad. Much of the appeal of a global MBA is in the class members themselves. Business schools want to see that you’ll bring value to the class.
  6. Give examples from around the world. When you’re writing about a company you find interesting or would like to work for, or a business leader who inspires you, draw examples from around the world, not just your own country or the US. Check out the European, Asian and Americas editions of the Wall Street Journal for exhaustive reporting on business, finance and movers and shakers in those regions.

About the author: Maria Ahmed is Editor at BusinessBecause.com – a professional network for business students that helps you make connections before, during and after your MBA. On BusinessBecause you’ll find useful information on MBA rankingsMBA jobs, MBA distance learning, and fresh daily editorial such as the Why MBA series.