Increased awareness of Education Pioneers and greater understanding in the education sector of the importance of M.B.A. talent has driven student interest in the fellowship, Angilly says. "In general, the education space is becoming more open to skills and experience outside of the traditional education world," she says.
After they graduate, about half of the M.B.A. students who are Education Pioneers fellows work in education, primarily in leadership and management roles, Angilly says. That's a career path that requires some humility and discretion, says Tracy Brisson, a former director of teacher recruitment for the New York City public school system.
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"Some people think education reform is about hiring outsiders to come in, change everything to make it more business-like and 'save' schools from themselves. It's very paternalistic. No one likes that attitude, and I and many others pass on those candidates," says Brisson, who is also founder of the career consultancy The Opportunities Project.
At MIT's Sloan School, there's a lot of excitement about education technology, and students are mostly motivated by the right desires, says Dennis Jiang, an M.B.A. student and copresident of the student club Sloan.Ed.
"I've personally never met anyone who is passionate about education because they think this is the way that they're going to be [Facebook cofounder] Mark Zuckerberg. People who are passionate about education technology—a lot of it is driven by their desire to help people learn," he says.
Education is undergoing a technological face lift as schools focus on personalized, tailored curricula and online and hybrid teaching, according to Jiang. "There's a promise of technology finally being able to create a big difference in education," he says.
But whereas Kazakoff of Testive says education is a low-paying field, Jiang says there can be "serious money" in creating and marketing educational tools. "If you work at a startup in education technology, you'll get paid probably as much as you do at another startup working in a completely other field," he says. "You're going to make much less than you'd make if you went to Wall Street, but that's a trade that a lot of people are willing to make."
[Read about whether doctorates compensate for inflated M.B.A.'s.]
Ryal Tayloe, an M.B.A. student at the University of Virginia's Darden Graduate School of Business Administration and president of the Education Club, prefers to look at an education sector job as a win-win situation, where he will be able to make a difference and earn a competitive salary.
"Business school is such an introspective process, where you are trying to figure out where to go, how to craft your career, [and] how to set out a path. A path toward education is really appealing to me, because I may be able to make a living and also make a difference," he says.
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