The Bottom Line: The Crossover Between Corporate and Social Ventures


By Sweta Merchant

The Zicklin Graduate School clubs are on the road once again gathering passionate students, hosting events and meeting with people of repute from all walks of life. The big question here is. Why are you going to graduate school? Presumably it’s so you pursue enterprises that will be rewarding in all aspects of your life. How do you get that career started? HINT: Don’t spend too much of your time searching through the classifieds! Networking people, it’s what you have to do. What better way to spend your time than to introduce yourself to the stalwarts in your field who have found a more meaningful extension to their profession by way of social entrepreneurship?

Before a capacity audience at the Baruch College, the Zicklin Women in Business and the Sustainable Business Club, hosted ‘The Bottom Line: The Crossover Between Corporate and Social Ventures’.  The program included speeches from Christina Dellisanti-Miller (Founder of the Athena Collaborative), Michelle Pullaro (Founder of EA Solutions), Judy Vredenburgh (President and CEO of Girls, Inc.) and Jonah Zimiles (Co-founder and Managing Principal of Words Bookstore).

The guest speakers were all energetic, knowledgeable, and passionate about their social ventures. While most of the speakers had their MBA degrees in Finance, they explained that social entrepreneurship required an independent study of the business world as a culmination of all knowledge and skills learned throughout that degree. They advised graduating students to present an exhibition of their interest in social responsibility by way of volunteering for events. They also recommend that students try a variety of different areas on a trial basis to expand their scope of experience. This could also help to understand which cause was best suited to each person and gauge the rigors demanded of being in that sector. With regards to future earnings, salaries in the non-profit sector are much better than in the past, with more emphasis on performance based pay than ever before. The shift from the profit to the non-profit sector would ideally happen after one has secured ‘enough’ layers of finance to have a ‘good life’.  The final piece of advice for all students regardless of their interests is this: develop your soft skills, no matter how technical your job is, the higher up you get, the more critical these skills are to your success.

The caliber of the students was phenomenal and the discussion was so engaging that we almost ran out of time!  Social entrepreneurship was the hit of the day & the introduction of ‘sustainable business’ as a major at Zicklin School of Business was received with a huge round of applause. Students were also given an opportunity to interact with the guest speakers before and after the event to further their knowledge on the subject.

It’s a ritual for graduate students to eat and run, however, this seemed to be one event which captured and held their short-lived attention. More than 100 students from around the graduate school packed the Newman Vertical Campus meeting room. Their questions and thoughts on alternate career paths gave me new things to think about while defining my goals.  It was an impressive display of the depth and breadth of the networking activity! Kudos to the Zicklin Women in Business & the Sustainable Business Club members who coordinated such a well-planned event.

For more opportunities to network and meet amazing speakers click here to RSVP for a join event by the ZWIB and the ZGFIC, featuring Mr Pat Lomelo, MD at JPMorgan, on Wednesday October 27th at 1pm.

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