How CASE Prepared Me for a Social Impact Career

11 students pose with messages written on their arms about their interest in pursuing a social impact career
Our CASE fellow crew during the Fuqua Reflects photo shoot

Four weeks into my post-MBA career, I realized that I absolutely loved my job. I immediately emailed Erin Worsham, the executive director of the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE), to say, “thank you.” CASE helped me curate an MBA experience that prepared me for a dream role in social impact, arts strategy. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

Several CASE initiatives were integral to my time at Fuqua, but I will highlight three for you today—career counseling, social impact coursework, and CASE fellows.

Career Counseling

The CASE team was available for every important career moment for me. Erin helped me prepare for informational interviews, reviewed a work portfolio for my summer internship interview with American Ballet Theatre, and gave me feedback on job description drafts for my current role at UNC-Chapel Hill. Robyn Fehrman, director of programs, coached me through a work plan for an independent study with ABT Education. Kim Langsam, a program director, connected me to leaders in the performing arts, a very niche field. If you want to pursue a career in social impact, these women, alongside Mackenzie Sullivan, Fuqua’s Career Management Center sector director for social impact, will be there for you.

Social Impact Coursework

I love academics, and some of my favorite courses at Fuqua were CASE courses. Professor Cathy Clark’s “Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship” exposed me to the high-level challenges that social impact leaders face every day. We analyzed governance structures for Jacaranda Health, theories of change for Grameen Bank, measurement and evaluation for Harlem Children’s Zone, and earned income scaling strategies for Aravind Eye Hospital. Cathy also led the CASE i3 Consulting Practicum. Through this experiential learning opportunity, I worked with a team of six MBAs to design an impact investing menu for a major donor-advised fund. Not only did I learn a great deal about impact investing, but I also learned how to deliver a meaningful strategic consulting project.

CASE Fellows

Being a CASE fellow gave me the opportunity to continue to build the mindsets, skills, and habits of a social impact leader. Meeting bi-weekly, our group of 12 second-year MBAs taught each another about design thinking, mindfulness, scaling, root cause analysis, the social impact ecosystem, resilience, tri-sector leadership, sources of social impact finance, and definition of personal success. Importantly, we developed a camaraderie that sustained us throughout the challenges of our second year and continues to sustain us post-graduation. We send monthly email updates to one another and have an active GroupMe which includes photos of get togethers in our post-MBA cities, including New York, New Orleans, New Delhi, and Durham. I am grateful this will be a group I can turn to in times of joy and challenge as I grow in my own social impact career.

blogger Hannah Ford, an alumna of the Daytime MBA program at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business

Hannah Ford

Daytime MBA, Class of 2018

I earned my MBA in 2018, graduating as a Dean's Scholar and receiving the Dean's... Read More

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