Most people tend to think of business school as a step en route to a corporate job and a higher salary. While for many MBAs that is the elected life path, a recent article in Business Week would suggest that more and more MBAs are making use of their degrees in other ways.
The article focuses in on MBAs who are accepting positions in education upon graduation, either with Teach for America or with other programs like Broad Residency or Education Pioneers. Each of these programs serves as an intermediary, allowing highly educated MBAs to be matched with teaching and management openings in charter school organizations, urban school districts, and federal and state departments of education. More significantly, though, each of these organizations is seeing a rise in applications.
According to BW, MBA applicants for TFA rose drastically over the past three years while overall applications increased only moderately. Similarly, the Broad Residency cites that 61 percent of their 2011 applications came from MBAs, up from 57 percent last year. Education Pioneers, as well, has seen an uptake in applications over the past few years, and they cite business school students as their largest source of talent.
The post-graduation job market is not the only place that these trends are becoming evident, however. B-schools, as well, are seeing an increase in students who are interested in pursuing a career in education, and they are taking steps to meet the growing demand. Rice University, for example, has started an MBA program for assistant principals and teachers, while Haas sends teams of MBA students to urban public school districts to evaluate problems and provide solutions.
Whether these changes are signs of something greater to come is yet to be seen, but there can be no doubt of the value an MBA brings to the education system. Financial, analytical, and human resources skills are highly coveted in the education sector, and most MBAs have work histories that demonstrate these qualities. In a time of growing challenges, it’s possible that an influx of business-minded individuals into the American education system is exactly what we have been waiting for. Maybe Superman is finally on his way.