Alternative careers popular with MBAs

Increasing numbers of MBA students are looking to apply their business skills in alternative career routes such as the non-profit and public sectors or the arts, according to the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth (USA).

by Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth
Last Updated: 23 Jul 2013

Fourteen members of the class of 2006 at Tuck took part in summer internships in such sectors. Experiences have ranged from working with early education charities or environmental organisations in the US to helping with the management structure of the National Bank of Georgia or the running of the Women’s Trust of Pokuase Village in Ghana.

“It is remarkable to see more MBAs looking beyond Wall Street and banking and entering into these non-traditional career paths,” says Pat Palmiotto, director of Tuck's Allwin Initiative for Corporate Citizenship. “MBA programmes haven’t typically been thought of as supporting these interests, but we have seen rising attention across the board – from global organisations looking to hire MBAs to an increased number of prospective students entering business school from these fields.”

There has also been an increase in the number of students entering business schools from non-traditional sectors: 15% of the 2007 intake come from the military, government, non-profit or education backgrounds, up from 13% in 2006.

The reason behind this shift is a desire from students to be involved in issues that ‘matter’. “I have always wanted to be involved in something that gives back to society,” says Frances Brooks, who will join the class of 2008 from her current position at New York City Ballet, “and I look forward to using the skills I'll learn at Tuck to bring more people to the arts.” Similarly, Chuck Dwy, from the class of 2007, who served in the US Navy Supply Corps, hopes to return to the army after completing his MBA and make the best of his business skills in his role in supply chain logistics.

This new trend clearly benefits the organisations recruiting such qualified graduates, but Palmiotto says that it has also benefited everyone at Tuck, students and teachers alike. “By increasing the diversity of student work experiences, classroom conversation has become richer, and additional real-world perspectives have contributed to the curriculum,” she notes.

Source: Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth

Review by Emilie Filou

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