This article originally ran on the website of the Kroc School at the University of San Diego.
Once you see the world with a social innovator’s lens and a moral imagination, you can’t help but look at problems — of all shapes and sizes — as opportunities that can and should be solved. Even more than that, you start seeing yourself as the person to solve them.
At the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies (Kroc School) at the University of San Diego (USD), we equip and empower innovative Changemakers with the knowledge, skills, experiences, and connections to shape more peaceful and just societies. Preparing individuals with a social innovator’s mindset is not only our bread and butter, it’s what the world demands of us.
That’s why we created the Master of Arts in Social Innovation (MASI) — a full-time, 9-month program (with part-time options available) for individuals with the passion and courage to lead real social impact through new ways of thinking, problem solving, organizing, and creating sustainable value. Through field-based learning and expert instruction from leading Professors of Practice, students have the opportunity to apply and test their classroom skills and knowledge with real-life expereince. The result: MASI graduates are prepared to lead as social entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs in CSR departments, foundations, B-Corps, government, scale-up organizations, and nonprofits.
USD also offers the Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge (Fowler GSIC) — a social venture development experience where students start by understanding a problem, ideate for possible solutions, and get mentoring and funding to test their idea in the world. The Fowler GSIC has awarded over $400,000 in funding to student social ventures from dozens of countries. Participants report increased confidence in public speaking, writing, networking, leading a team and building a plan for financial sustainability, and managing complex projects through uncertainty.
Together, this powerful combination of learning and practice has been described as “an MBA for social impact” and a catapult for young social entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs. Not surprisingly, the MASI program has helped alumni propel their careers forward and enabled them to make an even bigger positive impact on the world.
Here are just a handful of individuals who have used the Kroc School’s Master’s in Social Innovation as a pathway to career advancement:
- Meet Momo, who took advantage of several opportunities provided through his Kroc School experience — multi-disciplinary courses, public speaking at global events, a consulting practicum, and much more. Upon graduating, Momo became a Marketing Consultant for a digital marketing agency that specializes in helping nonprofits.
- Learn from Emily. She came to the Kroc School’s MASI program wanting to re-invent how we include survivors in human trafficking conversations. Here, she refined her ability to lead a team and articulate levers for change to build coalitions for change through the Fowler GSIC. Now she’s the Project Head at Open Society Foundations, where she can use these same skills as an advocate for social entrepreneurs — because she’s also one herself.
- Follow in the footsteps of Ana, who started a social venture around financial literacy training in Latin America and leveraged her pilot project in San Diego communities to secure a competitive position at the International Rescue Committee as a Microenterprise Business Counselor. Her MASI toolkit? Project management, pitching an idea to get new partners, and taking an idea from concept to execution.
- Check out Bianca, who founded not only a social enterprise called Baja Urban, but also a consulting firm to address structural and market barriers limiting Hispanic leaders. Through the MASI program, she tightened up her stellar marketing skills and partnership development strategies while a social innovation student and now speaks regularly on public stages.
- Catch up with Sarah, who studied social innovation cases in Bogota, Colombia during the annual Spring Break practicum “Social Innovation and Peace”. Now, she’s working on her own project to connect migrants with jobs in northern Mexico drawing from these lessons learned from model organizations.
These individuals represent just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the vast number of careers available for social innovators, and as the world becomes increasingly complex and intertwined, new social challenges surface every day.
Grow your toolkit, grow your network, and grow your career potential. The circle of social innovators making responsible change in their own corners and contexts is waiting to add your name, and the Kroc School’s Master’s in Social Innovation can help you take a big step forward on your journey.
This is a sponsored post on PCDN