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Boston’s Essential Nonprofit MBA Programs

Business doesn’t only have to be about flipping a dollar. Some work isn’t about how much money a business makes but, rather, how much change it makes. This is part of the drive behind nonprofits and why some people dream about leading one.

Nonprofits provide rewarding work, and they’re right down the alley for those who believe in social change and people who don’t want the influence of corporate money. The nonprofit sector is a surprisingly huge as well, employing more than 10.7 million employees in the U.S. alone. Luckily, many schools have recognized the need for a proper education in this field. After all, nonprofit business is a particular kind of model, and it requires a particular kind of knowledge.

So why not learn the ropes in Boston? It’s not far from Washington DC, either, for those interested in policy work. It’s also a short ride to New York City, where there are more than 35,000 nonprofits. The state of Massachusetts offers roughly the same number, to put it into perspective, but the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network offers the state a unique resource to help connect nonprofits with funders and elected officials.

If Boston is the right city for you, here are three schools that offer competitive nonprofit MBA programs.

Questrom School of Business – Boston University

This MBA goes by another name: Social Impact MBA. Boston University’s Questrom School of Business program is one of a kind. It’s formerly known as the Public & Nonprofit MBA, but this name suits it better. The program’s key skills are marketing, public policy, and financial management—the ingredients to a boss nonprofit.

The program shares the same curriculum as the school’s full-time MBA and then some. The required social impact course is titled Fundamentals of Nonprofit Management. Electives will help students better concentrate their skills on areas they want. If you want to work in Latin America, Questrom’s got a class for that. Sustainability strategy? Yup. And even a course that teaches the importance of a mission.

D’Amore-McKim School of Business – Northeastern University

Northeastern University‘s College of Professional Studies offers a Masters of Science in Nonprofit Management on the Boston campus. While separate from the D’Amore-McKim School of Business, this program certainly gives the same business appeal from the business school.

The program comes in two sizes: full-time and part-time. Most students complete it between one and a half to two years. The school states, “Integrating theoretical approaches with practical applications, the Master of Science in Nonprofit Management prepares you for a leadership position in a not-for-profit university, hospital, charity, foundation, or religious organization.”


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Northeastern students can walk away with skills like fundraising, legal literacy, grant writing, and more. There are seven concentrations to choose from: global studies, human services, leadership, organizational communication, project management, social media and online communication, and sport and social change.The program costs roughly $30,000, and 11 percent of students receive financial aid.

Sawyer Business School – Suffolk University

Suffolk University has many different MBA program offerings, including a healthcare MBA, an executive MBA, and, of course, a nonprofit MBA. This specialty degree will teach students how to successfully lead a nonprofit. Seated within the Sawyer Business School, which has been around since 1937, the program includes a number of interesting courses.

One featured course is on law and ethics, with another on public service communication, as well as a vital grant writing course.  The program costs $1,424 per credit and can require anywhere from 45 to 58 credits. Students will be working out of downtown Boston with easy access to businesses conducting nonprofit work daily.