Why don’t business school graduates tend to take up jobs in the non-profit sector? Is it because of the bad image of this sector, low salaries or a feeling that one can do much more philanthropy by being in the corporate sector? Well, it’s a mix of this and a number of other reasons. Dan Pallotta, President of Springboard (which designs brand identities and marketing campaigns for nonprofit and social change organizations) and a leading expert on innovation in the nonprofit sector has done extensive in this area. Dan is the founder of Pallotta TeamWorks, which invented the multiday AIDSRides and Breast Cancer 3-Days and is the author of Uncharitable: How Restraints on Nonprofits Undermine Their Potential. I heard Dan at the StartingBloc 2010 Institute for Social Innovation in Boston and he was extremely insightful in terms of presenting the differences between the corporate and non-profit sector.

What spurred me to write this post is the recent announcement by IIMB (Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore) that MBA graduates who would take up jobs in the non-profit sector will get their full two year tuition refunded. We applaud this decision and hope that other business schools in India will also follow this trend. Increasingly, more non-profits like Teach for India are visiting business school campuses and want to hire top talent.

Another recent article in the Wall Street Journal also talks about the role of corporations in pushing this shift and hiring students who are more responsible and have experience with sustainability and social responsibility initiatives. Though companies do say that sustainability is becoming an integral part of their values, it’s still more talk than substance.

“This new push is part of a larger effort among corporations to integrate social concerns beyond donations and once-a-year volunteering. The effort is being met with both gratitude and skepticism from business schools, which say that despite the emphasis on integrating these hot-button topics into the curriculum, it’s business as usual at recruiting time. Few hiring managers, they say, ask students about corporate-responsibility training or indicate it’s a priority.” says the article.

At Acara where we work with students from science, engineering, design, business and management, it is extremely important for us to inculcate the feeling of social responsibility amongst participating teams and students. Passion for social change will drive innovation and business and our success is clearly dependent on that.