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Booth School scholarship targets nonprofit and government professionals

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By Tara García Mathewson

MBAs are the most popular master’s degree for both men and women, by far. They cost a lot, but students continue to enroll in programs across the country, expecting the returns in future earnings to be well worth the investment of time and money. When people parlay their business skills into high-paying corporate jobs, that’s nearly guaranteed.

For those who come from and plan to stay in the nonprofit sector, the math is a little different. That’s partly why government and nonprofit sectors are underrepresented in traditional MBA programs.

But the University of Chicago Booth School of Business is offering a new scholarship program, specifically designed to give nonprofit and government professionals access to a fully funded MBA. The highly selective Civic Scholars Program launched this winter, helped along by a $4 million gift from the Neubauer Family Foundation. It will bring eight scholars each year to the Booth Weekend MBA Program, giving students the opportunity to continue working full-time while they advance their educations.

“This is an opportunity to strengthen the development of future leaders from the public and nonprofit sectors across the United States, and Booth’s data-driven and collaborative approach will help these professionals drive change within their organizations that has a dynamic impact,” said Joseph Neubauer in a prepared statement announcing the launch of the Civic Scholars Program.

Civic Scholars will be expected to meet the same curriculum requirements as other Booth MBA students and their degree will be the same MBA degree Booth has come to be know for. Beyond the core curriculum, Civic Scholars will get access to new experience-based courses that allow them to work in teams on research and consulting projects for social sector and government organizations, including the organizations they come from.

The design of the weekend program offers students the opportunity to immediately and directly apply what they’re learning in their work lives. Booth School Dean Sunil Kumar expects the Civic Scholars Program to expand the school’s reach and impact.

“This investment will allow Chicago Booth to provide select students from the nonprofit and public sectors the same discipline base and leadership tools we offer to business leaders,” Kumar said in the scholarship announcement. “In time, this will help the school broaden its impact into these sectors by building a community of talented and well-trained alumni.”

The program is designed for working professionals in the public or nonprofit sectors between the ages of 27 and 35 with six to 10 years of work experience. For students who take an average of two courses per quarter, the entire program takes between 2.5 and 3 years. While the program is especially convenient for working professionals already based in Chicago, about 75 percent of Weekend MBA students live and work outside of Illinois. Neubauer Civic Scholars, too, are expected to come from across the country.

“The same leadership skills are required to run all enterprises regardless of sector, which is why we are particularly excited to provide this opportunity to those who are the best and brightest in their chosen fields to strengthen the critical business and analytical skills required to run their organizations,” Neubauer said.

The application deadline for the upcoming class of Civic Scholars is May 13. Learn more athttp://www.chicagobooth.edu/weekend/civicscholars.

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