Why global development professionals, recruiters are on the MBA bandwagon

MBA students and graduates attend an intensive workshop in Toronto, Canada on how to embed sustainability into their work. Photo by: The Natural Step Canada / CC BY

This past September, Mathilde Thorel packed her bags and took off for eight months of travel across Africa and Asia to help women social entrepreneurs grow their businesses and amplify their social impact.

As part of her Why-Not-Women project, Thorel is meeting with women in Burkina Faso, Tanzania, India, Nepal, Philippines and Indonesia to improve their business models and find innovative solutions to make them sustainable in the long term.

Thorel, a graduate student at Sciences Po University in Paris, is one of many development-minded students pursuing a Master of Business Administration. Global development recruiters, too, are on the MBA bandwagon; recruiters polled in the recent “Devex Career Trends in 2015” survey identified an MBA as the second most in-demand degree, right after a master's in international development.  

While a development degree lends an understanding of underlying issues, Thorel said, a business degree “gives you the tools to bring solutions” and equips development professionals with the mindset and skills to innovate, think of new economic models and produce financial results.

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About the author

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    Claire Luke

    Claire is a journalist passionate about all things development, with a particular interest in labor, having worked previously for the Indonesia-based International Labor Organization. She has experience reporting in Cambodia, Nicaragua and Burma, and is happy to be immersed in the action of D.C. Claire is a master's candidate in development economics at the George Washington Elliott School of International Affairs and received her bachelor's degree in political philosophy from the College of the Holy Cross.