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Alternative Career Paths for MBA Graduates

MBA Alternative Career Paths

Alternative Career Paths for MBA Graduates

When you’ve got your sights set on doing an MBA, it can be difficult to see beyond the shiny corporate career at a prestigious Wall Street firm, especially when everyone around you is planning their direct route McKinsey.

In very real terms, I am here to remind you that there is more to your MBA education than preparation for a traditional business career. More and more, MBAs are finding their place among organizations that desperately need the mindset and business sense of MBA graduates, but fall beyond the realm of typical MBA career aspirations. In a nutshell, you’ve got choices:

The Non-Profit World Beacons

Non-profit organizations are very similar to traditional organizations, despite popular thought. The main difference between them is simply that they work towards different objectives – accomplishing set goals for non-profits and maximizing shareholder value for traditional listed companies. Beyond that, successful non-profits run like a well-oiled machine and need good management in order to make more of their goals, with less input.

The MBA curriculum has a lot to offer to the non-profit world, especially when it comes to concrete skills in management. Courses in financial management, people management, entrepreneurship, global development, social responsibility and ethics all provide relevant expertise for non-profit management.

Do Good for All at Government Bodies

Public bodies are often in much need for quality management, and at much higher stakes that private organizations. Your MBA skillset will enable you to whip bureaucratic and inefficient public organizations into shape, resulting in better resources and services for the public.

Your MBA curriculum will help you understand the key elements to running a successful business - and courses in finance and management will help you navigate the public system and find creative solutions to using resources strategically and efficiently.

There is much more to government than politics and MBA grads choosing this route will find that they are putting all of their skills and connections to good use and for the benefit of all.


While the entrepreneurial route can result in a corporate career in the long run, entrepreneurs have the benefit of flexibility in how they develop and accomplish their objectives. During the past decade or so, entrepreneurship has become more popular among adults, especially those aged 25-35.

It’s not a coincidence that many MBA grads hover around this age group upon graduation. While an MBA degree is not a pre-requisite for success in building a start-up, entrepreneurship is an attractive option for those with the skills, sense and network to create their own organization. Today, nearly 11% of all adults in North America are established business owners and an approximate additional 17% are engaged in early-stage entrepreneurial activity [1]. Up several percentage points from 2005, these statistics have seen a steady increase. Further, the United States, Canada and many European Union countries offer innovative-driven economies, which reward forward-thinking entrepreneurs highly [1].

[1] Singer, Slavica, Jose Ernesto Amoros, and Daniel Moska. "2014 Global Report." Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), 2014, 11, 43, 47.

Last updated: 21 Sep 2016

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