Do You Need an MBA to Be a Social Entrepreneur?

[22.365] sphere-itize me, captain [Photo by db Photography | Demi-Brooke] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Getting an MBA degree can be costly and impractical for some, but fortunately it’s not a prerequisite for becoming a successful social entrepreneur!

You don’t need an MBA because you can learn the business skills on your own, or you could take some other non-graduate degree programs, such as the following suggestions below:

1. Mini-MBA Program For the Social Entrepreneur

A group of friends in Boulder, Colorado have come up with an idea that they call a “mini-MBA”, designed for promoters of social change.

This 10 week program, offered by The Unreasonable Institute, is a chance for social entrepreneurs to convene, make connections, and put the business skills they learn in the program into practice. The idea is to brainstorm ideas, develop them into business plans, vet them, and then divide up a small pool of venture capital and connect with a support network during the span of 10 weeks.

According to the founders, it’s like packaging Silicon Valley in a box. The four founders are all University of Colorado at Boulder grads, who refined their ideas for the Institute last summer when they were scattered around the world on travel and volunteering expeditions.

2. Undergraduate Degrees For the Social Entrepreneur

Many people might assume that only graduate level MBA programs would offer a focus on social entrepreneurship to students. This is for the most part true, but there are several exceptions for those who want to study to be a social entrepreneur without attending graduate school.

A few online schools and traditional universities are now offering undergraduate business degrees with a concentration in social entrepreneurship. For example, Crown College in Minnesota offers a bachelor degree program in social entrepreneurship that is designed to prepare students to serve in a non-traditional ministry position or to start a new sustainable not-for-profit organization in the US or abroad.

Students learn to apply business principles learned in the classroom to meet social and environmental challenges. Supervised field experience is available through an internship program as well.