On the Chronicle of Philanthropy chat today Nancy Lublin CEO of Do Something told an MPA grad student to transfer to a MBA program. She said and I quote,
"If we (as NGOs) want to be respected and want things to change, instead of creating more programs of our own, we should attend b-school, sit in the front row, and be the curve breakers we know we are actually think this separate degree programs and courses just allows those business people to continue to think that we're "that other thing" or "that other sector"
REALLY NANCY? PLEASE CHECK YOUR SOURCES. As much as NANCY wants nonprofits and businesses to be the same -- they can't be. Nonprofits run differently than businesses. Nonprofit finance and accounting, fundraising, and board management are different than for-profits. Do B-schools teach these topics? NO, the majority of them don't.
There are over 260 colleges and universities that offer SPECIFIC courses for running a nonprofit organization. In the last ten years these programs have nearly quadrupled in size. This year alone, the Nonprofit Leadership and Management program at USD had to turn away over 70% of its applicants due to demand for this SPECIFIC type of training.
I do want to emphasize there are some b-schools that offer nonprofit specializations. I personally attended North Park University and my graduate degree in was in a School of Business and Nonprofit management. I took some of the same courses as MBA students, however I also took other courses like Nonprofit Accounting, Nonprofit Fundraising, Capital Campaign Development and Planning, Board Leadership and Management, and the list continues.
I agree with Nancy in the fact that nonprofits can teach businesses about how to run more effectively, however I think Nancy seriously needs to check her sources before she recommends people to transfer from a nonprofit focused graduate degree program into an MBA program. Last time I checked, the news media was slamming MBA programs saying how unprepared MBA grads are. Where many MBA students are analyzing cases, nonprofit master's degree students are working in real nonprofit organizations and doing real projects for these organizations. See my research, where alumni of nonprofit programs said they were better prepared because they receive hands on experiential learning in their program.
Nonprofit degree programs are here to stay!!
Yes, I can truly say I am biased because I work in a nonprofit master's degree program and I am doing my dissertation on experiential education in nonprofit master's degree programs. I can also speak all day long about how my Masters degree in Nonprofit Administration prepared me to be more effective in my nonprofit job and the nonprofit workplace.