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After the MBA: Social Entrepreneurship

Posted in Test Prep on January 11, 2011 by

If you thought the soul-searching stopped after you decided to go to b-school, think again. There are a wide variety of career options open to MBAs — some of them less conventional than others.

In our new After the MBA series, we’ll chronicle a variety of post-MBA career opportunities to give you a sense of which might be the best fit for you. Whether you’re looking to make a career change or want to stay in your present field, this information will help guide you in your b-school decision-making process, as well as direct your studies once in school.


Social Entrepreneur

What it is:

Social entrepreneurs start companies to help work toward social change in a particular area. While these companies are often not-for-profit, creating a for-profit company is not anathema to social entrepreneurship, as these companies have the ability to make a difference too.

Recently, there has been an increased interest in social entrepreneurship in b-schools, which experts attribute to a number of different factors. While some credit it to a contracted job market, according to Colin Mayer, dean of Oxford’s Said Business School, in an article in the Wall Street Journal, “the interest in entrepreneurial ventures with social value [is about] more than the fact that people can’t get jobs as easily” due to the economy. “There’s also a sort of underlying sense of guilt about what happened during the crisis.”

Salary Range:

There’s no neat “salary range” to report for this field of work — after all, when you set out to build a business, nothing is set in stone. Unless you hit gold immediately after starting your organization, don’t expect to make big bucks (or even to be able to pay yourself a salary).

Is Social Entrepreneurship A Good Fit?

Social entrepreneurship is not for everyone. Potential social entrepreneurs must be sure they have a strong, viable business idea and a workable way to execute their plan. In addition, they should recognize that social entrepreneurship, especially at the beginning, can be a lonely pursuit and require much, much more than 40 hours/week. Your personal life will almost certainly be eclipsed by your professional life (although since you will likely be very deeply invested in your company, this might not matter much to you). Creating your own start-up, however, can be one of an extraordinarily rewarding career and one that provides the entrepreneurship with a great deal of freedom and independence.

What Business Schools are Best for Social Entrepreneurship?

Numerous programs for social entrepreneurship have emerged recently. According to an article on Poets & Quants, “The Skoll Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford’s Said Business School is a solid example of a relatively new program that is attracting the best and brightest to the social sector.” According to U.S. News and World Report’s rankings, the top 5 business schools for entrepreneurship are Olin (Babson), Stanford, Sloan (MIT), Harvard, and Wharton (U. Penn). However, there are programs and opportunities to take advantage of at many schools.

Check out the rest of our After the MBA Series learn more about all your post-b-school options.