MBA and Social Change

Charles Cameron asks a good question over at Social Edge:

What exactly is a social enterprise?
Is it a business? Is it a business, plus? Or is it something else entirely, something new, perhaps even something not yet defined?
The question we’re looking at this week echoes one that came up at a recent career development session at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.
The coach for that session made an interesting observation: that students in the liberal arts believe their careers should leverage their appetite for passion and contribution (to the world we live in, and the world our children will inherit) while MBA students believe in the importance of resources (read: dollars) and competences (read: expertise).
Two groups, two streams of students who will shortly be entering the workforce -and four significant considerations that motivate their career choices:
Resources. Expertise. Passions. Contribution.
There are some interesting discussion on the topic there but as an MBA and somebody interested in social change here is my take.
Passion is critical for personal satisfaction satisfaction and big success. I say big success because a lot of things can still be achieved in the world through hard work. However, in the start up world where you are creating something from an idea without many resources etc, passion is critical. A social enterprise is like a start up for me. In order to get it started we need to do all the things that work in silicon valley. Contribution is absolutely critical to the whole social enterprise area. No doubt about it. That is critical in how we define social change. For more on this check A Path with a Heart on my MBA blog.
In my experience working in the government and not for profit areas, these things only matter to a limit. Unless you have the capability in terms of resources and expertise to convert that social change idea into meaningful change on the ground it is practically useless.
All contribution is what makes a difference on the ground, to people. Does it need a MBA? It will be helpful but that is not the only way. The important thing is that passion and contribution can get you started but it will not let you scale and make a difference. Isn’t making a difference the point of social change?
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