Non-profit MBA subsidies

June 17, 2013
Lucas Weingarten

Gemini 10_launch_time exposurePervasive stereotypes paint b-schoolers as unapologetic, ethics-be-damned capitalists arming themselves to cause yet another economic meltdown only to enrich themselves at the destitution of others. Yet, many MBAs truly do enter into graduate management programs with the expressed intention of using that education to drive positive change in the social and environmental sectors. These mission-driven individuals have a sober understanding that the salaries commensurate with such noble pursuits will very likely not justify the financial case for attending b-school in the first place. Despite income pragmatism, b-school graduates by the thousands seek out and accept government, social, and environmental sector jobs eager to apply the skills honed during MBA study.

The towering price of b-school along with all the associated expenses and, of course, the opportunity costs sum to an overwhelming invoice. For most, student loans are the only way to make graduate education possible and just as students get that diploma they also must give that first loan payment. Presented with the reality of decades of debt, the world unfortunately loses bright minds and bold hearts to private sector jobs that can provide salaries not often found in the public sector.

To combat this brain-drain, a notable cadre of universities is subsidizing MBA graduates post-commencement in order to encourage career paths in nonprofits and government. In a refreshing Bloomberg article, we learn about six of the world’s top business schools that have such programs in place. Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Columbia, Duke, and Michigan are profiled due to their stature, but the article lists them as “among others” who have these incentive programs that “are generally not well-known among business school students.”

What to do:

1. Find out if your prospective schools have these programs in place.

2. If you have an MBA already, still accomplish #1 because some institutions will allow alumni to apply for grants retroactively (e.g., Columbia accepts applications for each of the five years after graduation).

3. Seriously consider entering into the public sector and drive positive change. We all need you.

Lucas Weingarten Lucas Weingarten teaches students how to beat the GMAT, GRE, and LSAT for Kaplan Test Prep and is proud to have earned “elite instructor” status. Lucas writes extensively for Kaplan’s GMAT blog, and in addition to the GMAT and business school as primary subject matter, he regularly explores topics within higher education, economic systems, sustainability, and current events. Lucas spent his formative years in North Carolina and currently resides in Milwaukee, WI, though he has not yet found the part of the world wherein to bury his roots. He has an MBA with a dual concentration in entrepreneurship and finance from DePaul University in Chicago and is fortunate to have secured an adjunct teaching position there out of the department of management. Family, friends, and a seemingly endless stream of new hobbies keep Lucas busy and happy outside of the classroom. You can reach out any time by email ( or through the comments thread after his blog posts.

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