The emergence of social entrepreneurship in the MBA community

The Education section of the New York Times this morning had an article about the emergence of social entrepreneurship in the MBA community; I certainly recommend reading it if this is a topic of interest to you.

In the article, author Nazanin Lankarani discusses the results of a recent survey (pdf) of applicants as to why they are pursuing an MBA.  The results were astonishing – almost 30% of the respondents cited “starting own business” as a prime aspiration, a statistic that is up approximately 25% from the last survey in 2006.  The author also points out another interesting statistic – the prime aspiration “improving career prospects” has dropped significantly from the last survey (66.2 percent in 2009, 73 percent in 2006).  This made me think about two things on my Wednesday morning coffee break. First, what are the prime aspirations for current UST MBA students? And second, what are my applicant’s prime aspirations for obtaining an MBA?

It is clear that this shift in attitude regarding the pursuit of the MBA degree is living and breathing amongst our current students, and also our new applicants at UST.  While we certainly have the student in our classroom that would cite “improving career prospects” as a primary aspiration, UST MBA students are pursuing their degrees for a wide variety of reasons.  Since we are on the topic of social entrepreneurship, consider these UST MBA student’s stories:

Mustafa Omar, an Afghan refugee and current Evening UST MBA student, is the Director of International Program Development for Shelter for Life (SFL), a business headquartered in Minneapolis.  At SFL, Mustafa is managing projects ranging from renovating schools to executing seismic hazard reduction initiatives to microcredit and small business projects.

Kate Herzog, Full-Time UST MBA student, originally from Accra, Ghana, is pursuing her childhood dreams to build an organization that makes a dent in alleviating poverty.  This dream has been realized through her creation of House of Talents, an organization that has taken the hand-crafted work of talented artisans in her home country to be sold by Kate in the United States – with the economic benefits returning to this developing region of the world. Check out the House of Talents blog as well.

Joshua White, Health Care UST MBA student, whose story of managing and operating mobile clinics to help the people of Haiti was featured in the Spring 2009 issue of our B. Magazine shows remarkable relevance and foresight in light of the recent events that have devastated this country.

There are certainly many more examples in our student body and in within our applicant pool.  Being new to the MBA admissions world, I assumed all students pursue an MBA degree to climb another rung on the corporate ladder.  My work with current applicants, the examples above from our current student body and this article has certainly brought other information to light.  So, hopefully I have given you something to think about: What are your prime aspirations for obtaining an MBA?