Mary Gamber, WG’17, co-president of the Wharton Social Impact Club, gives five different ways — each with endless opportunities — to make business a force for social good before, during, and after the Wharton MBA Program.
I knew I wanted to focus on social impact when I applied to business school. My dream was (and is!) to determine how businesses can be a force of social good — to not only maximize value for shareholders, but for the broader community and world.
But could I do this at Wharton?
It turns out the answer is a resounding “YES!” And it wasn’t until I attended the national Net Impact Conference, hosted this year in Philadelphia, and spoke to other MBA students that I realized Wharton is truly a leading business school in the area of social impact.
At Wharton, the opportunities truly are endless. MBA students also choose to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to critical challenges facing nonprofits here in Philly and abroad.
1. Student Clubs
Out of the 100+ clubs at Wharton, seven have a distinct social impact or community service focus. I serve as co-president of the Wharton Social Impact Club, a professional club with more than 200 members dedicated to providing education, career opportunities, and events to Wharton students interested in social impact. Many MBA students also choose to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to critical challenges facing nonprofits here in Philly and abroad through Wharton Community Consultants, Wharton Global Impact Consultants, or Wharton Global Health Volunteers.
2. Career Resources
I’ve been blown away by the support offered to students interested in social impact through Wharton’s office of MBA Career Management (MBACM). MBACM has two dedicated staff members to advise students and build relationships with employers — and truly be your biggest cheerleaders and supporters during the internship and job process. For those who choose to pursue careers in public service, nonprofit, government, or social impact after graduation, The John M. Bendheim Loan Forgiveness Fund for Public Service provides financial support for up to five years following graduation.
As an MBA student, I’ve had the opportunity to take a variety of classes incorporating social impact into the curriculum. The Wharton Social Impact Initiative publishes a running list of more than 30 social impact courses available, and Wharton students can also take courses at any of the other 11 graduate schools at Penn. During my first year, I took three amazing social impact-focused courses: a Field Application Project with Seeds For Progress, an education nonprofit in Nicaragua; “Nonprofit Board Governance” through the School of Social Policy and Practice; and “Schools As Organizations” through the Graduate School of Education.
4. The Wharton Social Impact Initiative
The Wharton Social Impact Initiative (WSII) advances the science and practice of social impact through research, hands-on training, and outreach. WSII is an explicit commitment by Wharton to devote resources — financial and time — to being a leader in social impact. WSII offers numerous avenues for student engagement, including Fellowships (I wrote a case study for Say Yes To Education, a national education nonprofit, as a first-year fellow) and the Wharton Impact Investing Partners, a student-led impact investing group that culminates with the Wharton-hosted MBA Impact Investing Network & Training (MIINT) event annually.
5. The McNulty Leadership Program
The McNulty Leadership Program offers two additional social impact opportunities: the Nonprofit Board Fellows program (I’m working with an awesome nonprofit called Valley Youth House) and the Lipman Family Prize Fellows.
The opportunities to do social impact at Wharton are endless and growing! I’m thrilled to continue my passion for social impact at The Bridgespan Group next year, and hope to be back on campus to recruit many of you.
Posted: December 5, 2016