How to Choose an MBA for Nonprofit Management

Leading a nonprofit organization where the primary metric of success is social impact differs from running a for-profit company.

Someone who intends to use an MBA degree to catapult him or herself into a leadership position at a nonprofit organizations should look for business schools that offer opportunities to complete class projects related to nonprofit work, B-school faculty say.

Jonathan Westover, an associate professor of organizational leadership at Utah Valley University’s Woodbury School of Business and the director of academic service learning in the university’s Office of Engaged Learning, says creativity in solving complex social problems and adaptability in response to change are key competencies for aspiring nonprofit managers.

WIth this in mind, Westover recommends MBA hopefuls with an interest in nonprofits attend schools where they will have an abundance of nonprofit-oriented experiential learning opportunities. He also recommends prospective MBA students check their target business school’s curriculum to see if it includes courses in change management.

“Any practicum, any fieldwork, any internship, any service learning experience or community consulting type experience – all of those would be super helpful,” Westover says.