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Beyond Wall Street

Nonprofit, public sectors hot for MBAs

Jennifer Sikes and Shruti Sehra, both second-year students at the Tuck School of Business, are among an increasing number of MBAs who want to apply their business skills to careers in the nonprofit and public sectors. Each came to Tuck from the for-profit world and spent the summer between class years gaining valuable hands-on experience in the not-for-profit field. Sikes took a summer internship in Boston as an associate for Jumpstart, an early education organization. Across the globe, Sehra worked for the National Bank of Georgia in Tbilisi, where she assisted with the reorganization of the company's management structure.

Shruti Sehra and Jennifer Sikes
Second-year Tuck School students Shruti Sehra (left) and Jennifer Sikes both took summer internships with nonprofit organizations. (Photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

Twelve additional members of Tuck's Class of 2006 participated in summer internships in the nonprofit and public sectors at such organizations as AmeriCares, the U.S. National Park Service, and the Women's Trust of Pokuase Village in Ghana. Their experiences stretched across the United States—from New Hampshire to Hawaii—and to a range of other countries, including El Salvador and the Republic of Georgia.

"It's remarkable to see more MBAs looking beyond Wall Street and banking to enter into these nontraditional career paths," says Pat Palmiotto, director of Tuck's Allwin Initiative for Corporate Citizenship. "MBA programs haven't typically been thought of as supporting these interests, but we have seen rising attention across the board—from global organizations looking to hire MBAs to an increased number of prospective students entering business school from these fields."

In recent years, the number of students entering Tuck from the nonprofit and public sectors has risen. In the Class of 2007, 15 percent of students came to Tuck from government, military, nonprofit, or education backgrounds, as compared with 13 percent from the Class of 2006. "By increasing the diversity of student work experiences, classroom conversation has become richer, and additional real-world perspectives have contributed to the curriculum," notes Palmiotto.

Chuck Dwy from the Class of 2007 served as a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy Supply Corps prior to attending Tuck and will return to the Navy after his MBA education is complete. As one of just a handful of people to be selected by the Navy to pursue his MBA at a civilian business school, he says he came to Tuck to learn skills that will be of benefit to the business side of the Navy. "The skills I'll gain from courses like Decision Science, Accounting, and Operations will be valuable as I move into my next role in supply chain logistics," he says.

Frances Brooks, a member of the incoming Class of 2008, joins Tuck from her current position with the New York City Ballet. "I began my career in finance," she says, "with a plan to spend time working in the arts, then go to business school, and ultimately hold a top-level position with a nonprofit for the arts. I need to develop the quantitative skills that an MBA education can provide, and be involved in discussions about important business issues such as ethics and leadership. I've always wanted to be involved in something that gives back to society, and I look forward to using the skills I'll learn at Tuck to bring more people to the arts."

For more information on Tuck's Allwin Initiative for Corporate Citizenship, visit www.tuck.dartmouth.edu/initiative.

By KERI PACIENDA

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Last Updated: 12/17/08