Social Enterprise Stealing MBAs?


ralph
Did you guys see that recent article in the NY Times? The author says that social enterprises - companies that try to solve big, sometimes global challenges - are stealing MBAs away from investment banking:

In the 2000s, investment banking and consulting had a near-duopoly on the top I.Q.?s. We saw how that went. Now those I.Q.?s are gravitating to challenges like growing mushrooms in discarded coffee grounds, allowing strangers to lend each other money online and keeping babies warm with heatable wax.


The subtext of the piece is that MBAs are starting to have a conscience, and this conscience is informed by activism and other positive social endevours:

Leslie Crutchfield, the author of ?Do More Than Give? and an expert on the field, suggested that activism was part of the learning curve for social enterprises. ?Sometimes it takes a while for social entrepreneurs to recognize that such activism is required,? she told me. However, she added, once they do, the best of them are ?relentlessly focused on changing the underlying system while also trying to alleviate symptoms.?

Not sure I completely agree. I think it's more likely that today's MBAs are as informed by the potential job market than their personal social goals. The author doesn't mention that the brain drain away from investment banking is due to that field's no-growth state. What MBA would want to go into a career if he wasn't sure there would be a job for him in 5 years?

No, more likely is that there is some segment of MBA grads who do want to do something good and put their skills towards something positive - but behind that is there is the bottom line - that there are lucrative opportunities in these fields that MBAs see and want.
Did you guys see that recent article in the NY Times? The author says that social enterprises - companies that try to solve big, sometimes global challenges - are stealing MBAs away from investment banking:

<blockquote>In the 2000s, investment banking and consulting had a near-duopoly on the top I.Q.?s. We saw how that went. Now those I.Q.?s are gravitating to challenges like growing mushrooms in discarded coffee grounds, allowing strangers to lend each other money online and keeping babies warm with heatable wax.</blockquote>

The subtext of the piece is that MBAs are starting to have a conscience, and this conscience is informed by activism and other positive social endevours:

<blockquote>Leslie Crutchfield, the author of ?Do More Than Give? and an expert on the field, suggested that activism was part of the learning curve for social enterprises. ?Sometimes it takes a while for social entrepreneurs to recognize that such activism is required,? she told me. However, she added, once they do, the best of them are ?relentlessly focused on changing the underlying system while also trying to alleviate symptoms.?</blockquote>
Not sure I completely agree. I think it's more likely that today's MBAs are as informed by the potential job market than their personal social goals. The author doesn't mention that the brain drain away from investment banking is due to that field's no-growth state. What MBA would want to go into a career if he wasn't sure there would be a job for him in 5 years?

No, more likely is that there is some segment of MBA grads who do want to do something good and put their skills towards something positive - but behind that is there is the bottom line - that there are lucrative opportunities in these fields that MBAs see and want.
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Duncan
The numbers involved are tiny. I would be surprised if it was a real trend rather than a reflection of the reduced hiring in finance.
The numbers involved are tiny. I would be surprised if it was a real trend rather than a reflection of the reduced hiring in finance.
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ralph
I think you are generally right - small and localized. For the moment these companies are recruiting a lot (comparatively) of MBAs in the US - but unlike the financial or manufacturing sector, this kind of industry doesn't scale well.

My guess is that MBA hiring (and aspirations) for this kind of industry will peak in a few years - and then we'll start seeing an exodus of MBAs (and aspirations) from the US to countries like China and Germany who are investing a lot in their traded sectors.
I think you are generally right - small and localized. For the moment these companies are recruiting a lot (comparatively) of MBAs in the US - but unlike the financial or manufacturing sector, this kind of industry doesn't scale well.

My guess is that MBA hiring (and aspirations) for this kind of industry will peak in a few years - and then we'll start seeing an exodus of MBAs (and aspirations) from the US to countries like China and Germany who are investing a lot in their traded sectors.
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