Social Enterprise Gaining Ground

MBA student debt may be skyrocketing as school tuition and fees continue to increase. But it hasn’t diminished interest in social sector jobs and careers that are among the lowest-paying fields for graduating MBAs.

Many schools have significantly increased their course offerings in social enterprise in recent years, and students are showing an increasing interest in creating for-profit businesses with social missions or entering the non-profit sector.

According to the Harvard Business Review today (Feb. 28), cases and teaching notes produced by its Social Enterprise Initiative have grown to 607 in 2010-2011 from just 45 in 1995-1996. And students enrolled in social enterprise courses or independent projects have jumped to 600 from only 71 in 1995-1996.

Screen Shot 2013-02-28 at 10.09.13 AM

Several other schools, however, have seen similar growth. Not surprisingly, the leader among top business schools appears to be Yale University’s School of Management, long known for its dual approach of educating both for-profit and non-profit leaders. Between 2003 and 2009, Yale’s courses that include social benefit content increased to 95 from 45, according to an analysis by The Bridgespan Group (see chart below).

UC-Berkeley’s Haas School is next with 74 courses, up from 30. Next is Wake Forest University’s Babcock School follows Haas, with 68 courses that include social benefit content, up from 27. The University of New Mexico’s Anderson School of Management is credited with 43 courses, up from 39.

Screen Shot 2013-02-28 at 9.57.45 AM

The HBR article quotes Dr. Nora Silver, the director of the Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership at UC Berkeley Haas School of Management.  “This generation of students is the first that was required or expected to do community service in high school and college. These students grew up expecting to integrate social impact into their work — no matter what sector they join.” Haas now offers nine courses directly related to social or public sector management (up from eight when the Bridgespan study was completed).

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.