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Investing in Social Leadership

Investing in Social Leadership

May 23, 2013

Business & Management, Negev Development & Community Programs

When you talk to the heads of some Israeli nonprofit organizations and ask them about their past social initiatives, you may be surprised to discover that they don’t have any. Their qualifications for the top job are based on their business background and the fact that they have an MBA.

Then you look at their deputies, and find that they were involved in volunteer projects in high school, created an initiative as an undergraduate and have been active ever since.

“So why aren’t they heading the organization? Because they don’t have an MBA,” says Prof. Pierre Kletz, director of BGU’s Mandel Social Leadership MBA (SLMBA) at the Guilford Glazer Faculty of Business and Management (GGFBM), offering this as the rationale behind the creation of the new degree program.

Faculty come from around the world to teach business and management courses to those with a passion for social justice.

Faculty come from around the world to teach business and management courses to those with a passion for social justice.

“They need the business management approach and management tools to enhance the impact of their actions as heads of nonprofit organizations,” adds Prof. Kletz.

The program is a joint initiative with The Mandel Foundation. Students pay only half of the tuition and receive a living stipend.

The first cohort of 22 students graduated in January after an intensive 15 months. The students came from all backgrounds and all walks of life, but they have one thing in common.

“They are all excellent students. We took 25 students for our second cohort out of 150 applicants. For the first year, we did a lot of publicity. The second time we barely did any – it was all word of mouth,” Prof. Kletz continues.

A third of the program’s faculty members are from abroad.

“Here in Israel no one talks about performance in the nonprofit sector. In the United States, they talk about it all the time. So we have a professor from Harvard University who comes and teaches about performance in nonprofit organizations,” says Prof. Kletz.

Students have all the requirements of a traditional MBA but also take 50 percent more classes, focusing on the big issues in the nonprofit sector and bridging between the private and public sectors.

A course in the basics in marketing is followed by marketing for nonprofits, for instance.

The Mandel Foundation views this program as a powerful response to its mission to produce agents of social and organizational change in the world.

The partnership between the GGFBM and the Mandel Foundation also offers continuing assistance and networking opportunities for the SLMBA graduates.

According to Prof. Kletz, “It’s like a 20-year career shortcut.”