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How to Get a Non-Profit Management MBA + Online Options


Many business students now want things other than a six figure salary. Rather, they want to make a difference in the world as a whole. To do so, they aim to work for nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), nonprofit organizations, and social enterprises. To do this, they can complete a Non-Profit Management MBA degree, which enables them to learn the core principles of the world of business (marketing, finance, strategy, leadership), and how to apply these principles outside of the profit making world. It is very common for people to finish this degree as part of a dual degree, and specifically combining with the MPP (Master of Public Policy) or the MPA (Master of Public Administration).  Jump to 9+ AACSB Non Profit Online MBA’s for 2017.

Why Earn a Non-Profit Management MBA?

Nonprofit organizations nowadays need to have leaders who are educated to master’s degree level, while having a specific understanding of nonprofit organizations. The degree is designed for those who already have some professional experience, and completing it will open up a world of opportunities to them. Interestingly, because the degree is an MBA at its core, students are also equipped with a wealth of transferable skills that they can apply to any type of organization.

The nonprofit management degree is now offered by many schools across the country. Additionally, many of these schools now offer this degree online, which enables working professionals to further their knowledge without having to undergo an interruption in their career. Furthermore, a lot of schools offer specific concentration areas for professionals to further hone their skills. Some concentration areas include global studies, organizational communication, social media communication, project management, and human services. Once you graduate from the program, you can either expect to be promoted within your existing nonprofit career, or you try to move into the nonprofit sector.

While studying, you will learn about the key business skills that are needed to run a nonprofit organization. These include things like budgeting, project management, interpersonal skills, and leadership. Additionally, you will learn about the legalities involved with the management of a nonprofit organization, as well as the skills you need for fundraising and grant writing. You also need to gain practical skills, as well as theoretical skills.

Admission Requirements

Each school is allowed to set its own admission requirements. Those for MBA programs tend to be quite competitive, because these are designed for those who have exceptional skills and abilities. Those set by Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management are quite representative of those required by other schools. They include:

• Completing of an interview
• Writing an essay
• Creating a video essay
• Providing academic transcripts
• GMAT/GRE Scores
• Providing letters of recommendation
• TOEFL/IELTS for non-native English speakers
• A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution

Curriculum and Courses

Each school also has the opportunity to set its own curriculum and courses. However, in order for the school and its program to receive accreditation, it must meet certain specific standards. This is why accreditation is so important. The curriculum set by Brandeis University – The Heller School for Social Policy and Management is a good example of an excellent curriculum. Subjects include:

• Transforming a vision for an organization or initiative into a reality
• Understanding the political, economic and policy forces that shape the world
• Delivering quality services while using resources efficiently
• Achieving organizational financial health and accountability
• Evaluating and continuously improving an organization’s performance
• Communicating and collaborating with a wide range of stakeholders
• Mobilizing people from diverse backgrounds

Career Outcomes and Job Titles

There are many positions available for those who have a Non-Profit Management MBA degree. These include:

• Chief executive officer
• Program director
• Board member
• Executive director
• Fundraising manager
• Social services manager

You can have these jobs in a variety of different organizations, including public policy, finance and accounting, community building for managers, management consulting, business planning, fundraising and development, grant writing and advocacy, and project management in nonprofit organizations.

Job Salary & Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has reported that social and community services managers earned an average of $63,530 per year as of May 2015 at the bachelor’s degree level. Holding an MBA increases annual salaries by $15,000 per year on average, meaning you could earn closer to $80,000 per year. The BLS has projected that there will be a 10% increase in demand for these professionals from 2014 to 2024, which is faster than the national average.

Scholarships and Grants

L. Gordon Bittle Memorial Scholarships, which are three separate scholarships of $5,000 each to those who are SCTA members and who can prove academic achievement. The scholarship is awarded to the three highest scoring students.

Russel Fey Scholarship, which is offered to students in certain California schools, who are studying because they want to work in the planning sector, which certain nonprofit organizations and NGOs now focus on. Students must be in their final year of study, demonstrate academic performance, have financial need, want to increase diversity in the world of planning, and are committed to serving the California community. Those awarded the scholarship also earn APA student membership for one year.

The CLA Scholarship For Minority Students In Memory Of Edna Yelland, which is offered to minority students who want to complete a graduate degree, with a focus on information science or library science. Information science is also a particular focus of certain nonprofit organizations. Three scholarships of $2,500 each are awarded so long as sufficient funds are available, and students must demonstrate financial need.

The Mikkelson Foundation Student Scholarship Program, which is offered to students from Colorado who have demonstrated that they excel in mathematics, biological or physical sciences, or engineering. Two $3,000 scholarships are offered, and these can be renewed for up to four years, so long as good academic standing is maintained. Students must provide transcripts, three educational letters of recommendation, an essay, and proof of a 3.7 GPA.

Lighthouse International, which is a scholarship for young adults who are legally blind and want to complete post-graduate education to further their own career. Various scholarships are offered, amounting to as much as $10,000. Students must demonstrate merit and excellent academic accomplishment. Financial need does not have to be demonstrated. Students must demonstrate legal blindness, US citizenship, transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. Students must enroll in an accredited institution.

Additional Resources

Society for Nonprofits
American Association for Budget and Program Analysis (AABPA)
Center for Nonprofit Management
Alliance for Nonprofit Management
National Council for Nonprofits