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Board Fellows Programs Give M.B.A.'s Taste of Nonprofits

Business students join nonprofit boards of directors to hone skills and contribute their expertise.

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Encouraging students to serve on nonprofit boards during graduate school reinforces the idea that M.B.A. graduates have an obligation to serve their communities once they enter the business world. At Babson College's F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business, for example, the board fellows program is open to alumni who decided to wait until they graduated to serve on a nonprofit board.

"Our thinking is that at Babson, once you're part of our community, you're always part of our community," says Emily Weiner, assistant director of the Babson Social Innovation Lab. "Some of our students don't have time to participate until they're finished with their M.B.A."

David Andros, who participated in Cornell's board fellowship program, has already chosen the organization he will volunteer with once he starts a consulting position at McKinsey & Co. in Pittsburgh after graduating in May. A U.S. Army veteran who spent two years in Iraq, Andros plans to serve as a mentor at the Veterans Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania and eventually hopes to join its board of directors.

"I really want to be part of nonprofit work going forward, post-M.B.A.," Andros says."The board fellows program was a very valuable way for me to get exposure to this nonprofit landscape."

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