The Socially Good MBA: Manhattan Style

Getting an MBA from a top B-School has its advantages. You will definitely stick out from the pack (in a good way) in the resume pool. Top B-schools add prestige, opportunity, and big salaries for most graduates. Yet a top school will also set you back big bucks. Harvard, Stanford, Cornell, and Wharton for example will cost you around $350,000. Now, that is an investment!

So imagine taking on loans for a high-priced MBA and graduating to a social enterprise job earning $50,000 a year. Since you have an MBA, calculate how many years it would take you to pay it back. At a quick glance, if you live with your parents, pay no rent or utility bills, trade in your smart phone, get your Facebook fix from a refurbished Dell, drive a 2002 Ford, and give up summers in the Hamptons for camping in the Adirondacks, it would take you about a decade to break even. For most of the ivy crowd, this would be akin to indentured servitude for the privileged class. It is no wonder that most graduates with pricey prestige MBAs opt for Wall Street, Venture Capital, tech-preneurship, or the corporate C-Suite.

A new MBA is in town- one with a social twist. The Social Enterprise Program at Columbia University’s business school will cost you big in dollars, but claims to give you big support in university supported fellowships, career assistance, peer-review publishing opportunities, and post-graduate loan programs. To off-set the lower salary in public and non-profit sectors, Columbia University will give you a loan to pay back the loan that you incurred by attending the B-school! Hmmm…

“The Columbia Business School Loan Assistance Program aims to encourage MBAs to take management and leadership positions in the public and nonprofit sectors. The program is designed to help alleviate the financial burden associated with repaying education loans while pursuing a career in these sectors, which typically pay lower salaries but have unmet needs that Columbia Business School graduates are able to address.”

Therefore, if you don’t have big trust fund, but are passionate about social change and are still willing to shoulder the gi-normous debt burden of an ivy MBA, Columbia University will do its part to support you in that!

The Word out there in MBA-for-Good Land is that the professors that teach and direct this program are awesome. In their own words:

Message from the Co-Directors Professors Ray Fisman and Bruce Usher

“Social Enterprise” comprises the issues and activities that lie at the intersection of business practice and the interests of society. This incorporates questions of how businesses impact society through their strategies and operations — by reducing their environmental impact, developing products to serve disadvantaged communities, supporting charities, and a myriad of other activities. It also includes the application of business and management principles to help a wider range of organizations — governments, nonprofits, and social ventures — to perform their best.

Why social enterprise now? Management skills are increasingly recognized as prerequisite to solving many of society’s social and environmental challenges. Companies increasingly believe that in order to be successful over the long-term, they need to be more thoughtful and strategic in considering their social impact. And with a scarcer supply of jobs in traditional areas, many more students are broadening their employment searches and rethinking their priorities on what’s worth devoting their lives to doing.”

Read More: Social Enterprise Program at Columbia Business School

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