Business as UNusual: The MBA as Part of Your Sustainable Career Path

By Samantha Johnston

As many upcoming college graduates and professionals are looking at graduate school applications for next fall, some are considering the MBA as part of their career path.  Net Impact is shedding light on this topic in a few ways, most notably the 2010 Business as UNusual guide to graduate programs.  For more advice on choosing a graduate program and advancing your sustainability career, Net Impact sat down with Sustainability Recruiting CEO Ellen Weinreb, who recently spoke on our Issues in Depth call about using this year’s Net Impact Conference for career networking.

When considering if an MBA is the right stepping stone for your career, think ahead to opportunities post-MBA.  “What comes into play when finding a job after business school is the work that was done prior to the degree, so don’t think of the MBA as your only factor,” cautions Weinreb. “The best scenario for someone to pursue an MBA is when their career trajectory just needs that business toolkit to get to the next step.”

Once you’re settled on an MBA to advance your career goals, you’ll want to do your homework to understand which business school will best set you on your identified path. It’s a huge investment, so don’t underestimate the value of talking with alumni and other students who are currently at the program.

To do this, Ellen suggests attending events like the 2010 Net Impact Conference that give prospective MBA students the chance to network with schools, hear from current MBAs, and learn more about what MBA graduates are doing. “The Net Impact Conference is an amazing opportunity for students ‘shopping’ around for MBA programs,” said Weinreb. “Students and professionals gather from all corners of the globe representing 115 programs.”

Whether you’re going to the Net Impact Conference or attending another event where MBAs are present, Ellen identified three steps to make the most of it:

  1. Identify 3 to 8 MBA programs you want to explore further
  2. See if the event has a networking website, and then do a search for attendees at the MBA programs you have selected
  3. Check out the profiles of these students and request to meet them at the conference.  Most MBA students are happy to spend 15 minutes sharing information about their program.  Ask them why they chose their program, and have them share something about the school that you can’t find in the literature.

To research schools you’re interested in and find out what jobs recent MBA grads have gotten, be sure to read the 2010 Business as UNusual guide.  The guide provides an inside look at how over 90 MBA programs incorporate social and environmental issues into their curriculum, extracurricular activities, and career services.  You can also hear thoughtful submissions and ratings from nearly 3,000 student members.

Net Impact 2010 will be hosted by the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. Stay tuned for coverage!

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