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Social impact MBA internships

Prodigy Finance - July 24, 2018

MBA internships with social impact

Last year, the median monthly salary for an intern at Google was $8000¹. Yes, that was the median salary, which means half of the interns were making even more than that.

Over three months, that comes out to $24,000, which can go a long way way when you consider the cost of an MBA in the US.

The Cost of Attendance (CoA) for the first year of Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business’ two-year MBA programme is currently $115,797². And that’s just for the academic year. Sure, a Stanford GSB MBA is often the one with the highest price tag, but it’s easy to see that every little bit of income really does count.

If you can get a well-paid internship during your MBA, it’s awfully difficult to pass up. That’s likely why a mere 5.3% of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business MBAs seeking internships in 2017 pursued internships with social impact organisations³. Though social impact doesn’t always mean non-profit, those that need the help of budding business gurus often are.

But, these figures don’t paint a full picture.

For a start, only 1.2% of the same Wharton class pursued internships in professionals services, and the median internship salary in that sector was $15,000 per month, nearly double the entire classes’ median salary of $8124. (For reference, 756 first-year MBAs pursued and accepted internships in 2017.)

On the other hand, the median monthly salary for those Wharton first-year MBAs in social impact was a just $4167.

Compensation clearly isn’t everything to everyone - as the number of MBAs interested in social impact internships is on the rise. Nor is an MBA stonewalled into a smaller salary because they want to make a difference with their internship. 

Meet the Prodigy Finance Social Impact Fellows

Joanna Merker is graduating in 2018 with an MBA from IESE Business School in Spain. She’s already secured post-grad employment with Google Dublin as a Business Development Manager. (Yes, the same Google that boasted an $8000 median monthly salary for interns.)

But that’s not how she’s spending her summer. This multilingual German-Norwegian MBA committed her time to working with ACTEC to assist with scaling their microMBA programme which provides assistance to low-income social entrepreneurs in Columbia. While giving back, she’s also deepening her exposure to knowledge-based business ideas, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Joanna Merker Social Impact Fellowship Programme 2018

Joanna Merker

On the other hand, increasing numbers of socially-motivated individuals are turning to MBAs to assist them along their impact paths. And, they’re keen to pursue internships in the same sector. 

Sahar Jamal Social Impact Fellowship Programme 2018

Sahar Jamal

After several years managing consumer healthcare brands, Sahar Jamal decided to pursue an MBA to pivot into social entrepreneurship in the global healthcare space, specifically improving health outcomes for vulnerable populations in developing regions. 

She’s now a 2019 MBA Candidate at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and is spending her summer in Nairobi interning with Jacaranda Health - a startup focused on improving maternal and newborn health by scaling innovative nurse mentorship and training programmes through public-private partnerships.

While they’re working in different parts of the world, and on different issues, Sahar and Joanna have something in common - they’re both interning at organisations that couldn’t afford (the increasingly competitive) MBA internship rates.

That’s not the only thing they share, either; both are receiving fellowships from Prodigy Finance for their work with these social impact enterprises.

This is a new social impact initiative that we’ve created to be able to help international students pursue their dream internship to create positive change through their work, regardless of funding restrictions for traditionally non-paid or low-paid social impact roles.

And, we’re proud to admit, we’re not the only organisation assisting MBAs to pursue social impact work. 

Some universities have created their own funds to facilitate internships in this sector. The Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia⁴, for example, has developed the Darden Nonprofit Internship Fund. Another example is the Impact Corps consulting internship programme at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business⁵.

The goal of each initiative is to multiple social impact efforts by leveraging the talent and concerns of motivated MBAs without sacrificing their ability to earn a competitive internship salary. It’s one of the reasons we selected another fellow for our inaugural Prodigy Finance Social Impact Fellowship Programme. 

Alonso López Niño de Rivera is a 2019 MBA Candidate at the London School of Business. This summer, he’s collaborating with Peru Champs, an education NGO based in Lima, Peru. His main objective is to achieve operational efficiencies by implementing digital platforms to track performance and improve the relationship with donors. 

He’s excited to work on innovative, yet simple solutions for an NGO that has helped more than 2000 kids access quality education annually.

Alonso López Niño de Rivera Social Impact Fellowship Programme 2018

Alonso López Niño de Rivera

Increasing access to education should sound familiar; it’s at the heart of the Prodigy Finance business model. 


Want to know more about the Prodigy Finance Social Impact Fellowship Programme?

Take a moment to learn more about our 2018 fellows and learn more about our inaugural Social Impact Fellowship Programme.

¹ money.cnn.com/2017/05/02/technology/highest-paying-internships-glassdoor/index.html

² gsb.stanford.edu/programs/mba/financial-aid/cost-attendance

³ statistics.mbacareers.wharton.upenn.edu/internships/

 www.darden.virginia.edu/mba/career/internships/dnif/

 socialimpact.umich.edu/academics-aid/funding/internships/ 


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