Is The MSW The New MBA?
Written By Christine Bader
Recent corporate failures demonstrate the need for the very skills that social workers bring. Now a few schools are recognizing this and offering joint tracks that merge the interests of businesses and the communities they work in.
The MBA is now the most popular master’s degree in the U.S., making up one quarter of all such degrees conferred. But a few schools are recognizing that a different course of study might better serve both aspiring business leaders and the world at large: a master’s in social work.
The University of Southern California’s School of Social Work just launched a business concentration for its students, and a number of universities now offer joint MBA-MSW degrees.
The cynical might assume that social workers are simply trying to make more money as government and social service budgets continue to shrink. (And why shouldn’t MSWs be able to pay off their student loans like everyone else?)
But a number of corporate failures demonstrate the need for the very skills that social workers are trained in. At the same time, the MBA has come under fire for producing some of the leaders that brought on those failures—former Enron CEO and Harvard Business School grad Jeffrey Skilling comes to mind—and perpetuating the shareholder primacy mantra that has pushed the interests of business and the interests of society so far apart.
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