Hands-on learning is nothing new for Wharton EMBA students. After all, they go right back to their offices after weekends in the classroom to apply what they have learned. And they have ample opportunities for hands-on learning outside of work through International Seminars, the Global Consulting Practicum and Wharton’s Leadership Ventures to name a few.
Wharton l San Francisco students now have another option via the School’s Nonprofit Board Leadership Program (NPBLP) , which selects and trains Wharton MBA students to serve on the boards of directors of nonprofit organizations for one year using their high-level knowledge of areas such as accounting, finance, and marketing. Launched in 2005 to match Wharton MBA students in the Philadelphia area with nonprofit organizations, the NPBLP expanded this year to San Francisco.
“It was important to bring the program to Wharton|San Francisco to provide more leadership opportunities for students, to reach out to the local community, and to support local nonprofits by providing them with world-class business management knowledge,” says second-year EMBA student Caspar Horne, president of Provisi Experts in Santa Clara, CA, who helped establish the West Coast NPBLP program.
Horne says he was stunned by the enthusiastic responses from nonprofits in the San Francisco and Bay Area. In fact, there were more nonprofits interested in the program than available students so he hopes to expand the program next year.
While serving on a nonprofit board may sound like a lot to balance on top of work, family, and class commitments, Horne says it’s not as bad as it sounds. “It’s about eight to 10 hours a month including the monthly board meetings and gives students a much richer experience during the Wharton MBA for Executives program because it’s not just reading a case and making decisions on paper. These are real organizations with real challenges,” he says.
Horne adds that since EMBA students tend to be farther along in their careers, many are interested in giving back through community leadership. “This program helps students prepare to take on those roles by working on causes they are passionate about. And it’s a great way to network beyond the student body!” he says.
Wharton|San Francisco second-year Executive MBA student Anand Hariharan, a manager at Cisco Systems in San Jose, was recently matched through the program to serve on the board of One Million Lights, a nonprofit seeking to distribute one million environmentally friendly, rechargeable solar lights to people around the world. “A deeper understanding of social entrepreneurship coupled with a goal of better education and quality of life for children and the under-privileged is the ultimate opportunity,” he says.
Other nonprofits participating in the Wharton|San Francisco NPBLP include the YMCA, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Junior Achievement, Education through Music, and Breath California.
Get more information on Wharton’s NPBLP.