Careers in Social Enterprise
A career in social enterprise is appropriate only for individuals with a strong commitment to serving others. This is especially true for social entrepreneurs seeking to start their own ventures, who may need to overcome great obstacles with limited resources. Still, many people have the necessary dedication and perseverance to succeed in social enterprise, and others may find an unexpected interest through exposure to the field.
Careers in social enterprise include positions in traditional nonprofit organizations, government social services agencies, philanthropic foundations, and the social responsibility functions of for-profit business corporations. In addition, jobs are increasing in support services for social enterprise in such areas as management consulting, marketing, product development, financial advice, and legal counseling. An education in social enterprise also involves the study of entrepreneurship, which is widely applicable in business generally.
Although an education in social enterprise provides basic business skills and knowledge, it must also prepare students to be innovative, which comes from deep knowledge in diverse fields. A business student preparing for a career in social enterprise should include courses in areas related to social services, such as sociology, social work, urban affairs, health care, and sustainability. For the same reason, students majoring in these areas may benefit from some business education to prepare for careers in social enterprise.
Since an education for a career in social enterprise involves skills and knowledge that cannot be acquired merely from academic course work, students interested in social enterprise should also take full advantage of opportunities for learning outside the classroom in such activities as clubs, retreats, service projects, internships, case competitions, and collaborative research.