Why You Should Consider Local Partnerships For MBAs
Business schools across the country are partnering with their communities to offer opportunities to MBAs to grow local economies.
Margaret Loftus, a contributor at US News, recently wrote about how MBAs are making use of these local partnerships.
How Partnerships Help MBAs
Experts say partnerships with local businesses or nonprofits enable MBAs to learn outside the classroom while giving back to the community.
“These programs give students experience, and the business or nonprofit receives perspective and expertise that they wouldn’t otherwise have the resources for,” Juliane Iannarelli, senior vice president and chief knowledge officer at AACSB International, which accredits business schools, tells US News.
At Harvard Business School, the Board Fellows and Social Enterprise Consulting Club works directly with local nonprofit organizations to solve specific their unique problems.
“These consulting projects provide our members with an opportunity to practice skills they’re learning in the classroom and also to better understand how nonprofit, community-based organizations operate,” Sara Gentile, who graduated from HBS in 2016, writes. “Students have the opportunity to truly own and manage their projects.”
At Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, part-time MBAs complete a three-credit consulting project with an Indianapolis company. Students are matched with companies in five industries –including high tech, and manufacturing – conduct market research and develop an operational plan.
Dave Nachand, a part-time MBA candidate at Kelley, says the three-month project was a major commitment that helped him develop as a consultant.
“I took it on because I wanted to grow my consulting skills and grow my career that way,” he tells US News.
On top of developing his own career, Nachand says, the experience gave him a sense of belonging in the community.
“Indiana is a good manufacturing state – something we take pride in,” he tells US News. “You want to be a part of that; you want to have a sense of belonging.”
Better Job Opportunities Post Grad
On top of helping students develop their skills, local partnerships can also present more job opportunities for MBAs post grad.
“The best way to rise above the competitive pack is to distinguish yourself with internships and experiential engagements,” Cliff Holekamp, academic director for entrepreneurship at Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis, tells US News. “Local entrepreneurial firms provide students opportunity for greater impact on the organization, thus enriching the quality of their work experiences. This helps students develop more compelling personal narratives” with which to compete for opportunities at top international firms.”
The partnerships can be especially helpful for MBAs looking to build a network.
“We want students to get off campus and into the St. Louis community,” Holekamp tells US News. “That’s how they build a network here and end up staying.”