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Students are working at nonprofits, in government, health care, and developing economies. They are passionate about doing well and doing good – applying the rigors of a Chicago Booth MBA to drive greater social impact. They are mid-career professionals in Booth’s Civic Scholars Program, dedicated to careers in the nonprofit or government sector and receiving up to 100% full-tuition support. If you are an emerging leader and want to join a highly motivated group interested in innovation, advancing research, and developing the people and practices that accelerate social change, consider applying to the Civic Scholars Program.

Launched in 2016 with support from the Neubauer Family Foundation, our Neubauer Civic Scholars are selected each year and have the flexibility to enroll in Booth’s Full-Time MBA, Evening MBA, or Weekend MBA Programs. You will join a close-knit group of fellow public and social sector professionals throughout your MBA journey. As a Civic Scholar, you will experience the breadth of the Booth MBA curriculum – strategy, operations, leadership, finance, economics, accounting, and other disciplines – that position you to lead social sector organizations. Beyond the Chicago campus, you’ll also have access to our worldwide community of more than 54,000 Chicago Booth alumni.

Neubauer Civic Scholars benefit from the program’s close collaboration with Booth’s Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation, the school’s destination for people committed to helping solve complex social and environmental problems. Courses examine the role of business and the social sector in society and offer hands-on learning. Programming explores sustainability and climate change, social entrepreneurship and impact investing, and how philanthropy advances justice and equity. 

Today, Civic Scholars Program alumni are reimagining systems to provide equitable access to high quality, affordable health care, helping lift rural households out of poverty, fighting climate change, and investing in organizations serving Black and Latinx youth. 

In the discussion below, hear why some of the diverse voices in our 2021 incoming class chose Booth and the Civic Scholars Program. Learn more and apply here. 

Why Booth?

Ben Harris, Health and Social Systems Strategic Advisor, Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, Denver

After over a decade in public health care, I needed to refine my existing skillset and add new skills to maximize my impact. I also wanted to reflect on my experience and make a plan for my future goals and impact with other experienced public and social sector leaders. Booth’s prowess and reputation in developing highly skilled leaders who aren’t afraid of tackling complex problems was an immediate draw to help me address my first goal. The Civic Scholars Program was the community where I could do the deep work of reflection and leadership growth to achieve my second goal. Together, with the possibility of being back in Chicago, they were an excellent fit.

What is the value of the Civic Scholars program?

Jasmine Ferguson, Senior Operations and Compliance Associate, Rocketship Public Schools, Chicago

The Civic Scholars Program will allow me to build a network of peers who challenge and encourage one another to not only build solutions but implement them. I will use my time at Booth to deepen my understanding of how to tackle larger structural issues through a qualitative and quantitative approach, financial sustainability, and organizational leadership. Harnessing my education and professional experiences, I will merge business and social impact to create partnerships that can advance the efforts of community-based organizations and increase economic opportunities.

What is the value of an MBA to the nonprofit and public sectors?

Louisa Shepherd, Director of Collective Impact, Epicenter Memphis

Some people might think of nonprofit organizations as less serious or less competitive than their for-profit business counterparts. But I argue that, because nonprofits are often dedicated to addressing our planet’s most pressing social problems, it is imperative that our work be led by exceptionally well-trained and well-prepared individuals. An MBA provides the tools and frameworks that those leaders need to be successful. The societal challenges we’ll face in the coming decades will be great and the stakes will be high – that’s why an MBA is a critical part of my career development in the nonprofit sector.

How will you apply the skills you learn at Booth?

Aviva Kapust, Executive Director, The Village of Arts and Humanities, Philadelphia

At Booth, I want to build muscles to create long-term impact. As executive director of an arts-based community development organization in one of Philadelphia’s most disinvested communities, I aim to develop my ability to strategically attract, manage, and leverage smarter combinations of revenue, investment capital, and human capital. Booth courses such as Impact Investing, Social Sector Strategy and Structure, and Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation offer the knowledge, frameworks, and tools I seek. I am interested in learning how to adapt market-based interventions for social impact that fosters long-term systemic change.

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