Harvard MBAs Taking Nonprofit Jobs Get A $50,000 Salary Sweetener

When more than 900 members of the Harvard Business School class of 2013 graduated on Thursday, they all walked off the stage with diplomas, but 19 of them had something more in their pockets: a check from Harvard for $50,000.

The MBA graduates were members of the HBS Leadership Fellows Program, which places graduates with nonprofit and public-sector organizations.

Since 2001, the program has placed 106 students with 47 organizations. This year’s class of 19 is one of the largest in the program’s history.

Unlike many students who take low-paying jobs in the nonprofit sector, the students in this program can do good and do pretty well for themselves at the same time. The participating organizations pay each student $45,000, which is supplemented with a one-year, $50,000 grant from Harvard.

When the year is up, HBS says, more than 90 percent of the graduates receive an offer to stay at the organization that hired them. Two-thirds of the graduates remain in the nonprofit or public sectors—at the same organization or another, HBS says.

This year’s fellows are working for a diverse group of organizations, including the U.S. Education Department, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Teach for America, the Environmental Defense Fund, and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.


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