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Career Discovery Forum-Mission_20100818_0006 First year students at Darden begin their job search process as soon as they arrive in August, participating in a series of Career Discovery Forums (CDFs). The CDFs give students a better understanding of post-MBA options in Consulting, Entrepreneurship, Finance, General Management & Operations, Marketing, and Mission-Driven Careers.

The opening presentation for the Mission-Driven Careers Forum was given by Kellogg Leliveld, Associate Director of Business Development for Darden’s Career Development Center. In addition to meeting with companies, Kellogg focuses on finding jobs in a variety of industries, including energy, microfinance, corporate social responsibility (CSR), education, government and non-profits, and also leads the school’s Renewable Energy Job Trek.

Kellogg noted a number of changes during the 2009-2010 school year: Darden posted approximately 120 positions related to sustainability and social change, an increase over 2008-2009; there was an increase in student interest in such roles; and membership in career clubs related to energy, sustainability, education and entrepreneurship has increased. Some students also choose to start their own mission-oriented companies, and have the opportunity to spend a summer (with funding provided) in Darden’s Incubator. Last summer’s Incubator companies included two focused on renewable energy and energy efficiency.

What are mission-driven roles, which can encompass many of the categoriesCareer Discovery Forum-Mission_20100818_0009 mentioned above and more? They look different to different people. One could be an operations role in a traditional company committed to energy efficiency in its supply chain. Or a product design role focused on bringing innovative goods to market that provide environmental solutions (note our GE panelist below). Or perhaps a job in community development finance or a CSR role for a Fortune 100 company. Below is a list of a number of these types of positions. A great resource on this topic is the book Profession and Purpose: A Resource Guide for MBA Careers in Sustainability by Katie Kross.

Mission Driven Careers Slide

A diverse group of panelists shared with students what they do and their enthusiasm for the impact they are having, including:

Career Discovery Forum-Mission_20100818_0014

The message from Kellogg and our panelists was that there are great opportunities for MBAs to focus their careers on addressing the world’s most serious issues such as climate change, education reform, potable water availability, and poverty. And business schools like Darden have the expertise to help guide students on this path.

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