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How a Mini-MBA Can Accelerate Your Nonprofit Career

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Featuring Invited MBA alum, Angela Amaya

HOW A Mini-MBA Can Accelerate Your Nonprofit Career

A dozen cupcakes baked from scratch at home – what could be better? For Angela Amaya, that question has a practical answer.  Working at PeopleFund, “better” means helping a client scale a successful, personal baking business to a brick and mortar storefront equipped for a viable, profitable business.

Invited MBA alumna Angela Amaya has been a believer in “The American Dream” her entire life. After college, she entered the nonprofit workplace with a keen desire to utilize her technology background at a company creating real impact for communities of black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC). 

Though she felt confident in her technical abilities, she realized after a few years in nonprofit that business and financial acumen could add even more value to her role and further elevate her professional capabilities. As System and Data Manager at PeopleFund, she witnesses the power of business education every day. A large part of PeopleFund’s mission is providing business training to rural and underserved communities around Austin, Texas. So many entrepreneurs have the passion and ideas, but not the resources, to make their dreams a reality – something Angela is passionate about, but had never considered for herself in the past.

“We try to make the American dream happen at PeopleFund. We are community and capacity builders and a financial institution. We help those who aren’t typically bankable …  with a focus on women, veterans, and minorities,” she said. “Considering the industry I am in … I was thinking about going to get a traditional MBA, but it was going to be very expensive. I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to make that leap in terms of the time, and I didn’t necessarily want to stop my career for that.”

Though she had taken business, accounting, and finance classes in college, she realized theory alone wasn’t beneficial in her day to day. And she saw the daily impact of improved financial literacy with her clients, so she sought out the Invited MBA to improve her real life skills.

“The Invited MBA provided the essential elements of a traditional business degree without the money and time commitment,” she said. “In college, I took plenty of business courses. But they don’t actually teach you tactically how it affects the bottom line. You can understand the difference between debit and credit, but how does this affect the rest of the organization? The simulations within the Invited MBA not only answered that question, but gave me hands-on experience and real examples of how decision-making and communication affect outcomes as well,” she said.

Working for nonprofits often requires juggling many different roles and learning unique skills.  Angela believes that a business education provides a valuable “big picture” for others in philanthropic or entrepreneurial organizations.

“The Invited MBA courses helped to give me a better grasp on how I could help our department level up,” she said. “It also helped me gain an understanding of human dynamics, because I think that is a big part of business we don’t talk about. Learning how to manage expectations and team members…. I think we can all do that, but the Invited MBA was immediately applicable.”

Angela Amaya, photo by Katelyn Powell

After completing the Invited MBA, Angela was promoted to a role with more project-management duties, a crucial component of the Invited MBA. She was able to apply her enhanced business acumen to the new position immediately, improving the entire team’s functionality.

“I started analyzing the organization and our current workflow, then discovered we could cut out some processes and create automations for other processes. We had a 20% increase in efficiency from our closing team,” she said.

When she reflects on why the Invited MBA was so impactful, she believes it comes down to the distillation of transferable skills over general knowledge. While a two year degree offers specializations and information, the Invited MBA focuses on practicing the soft skills needed to succeed.

“The Invited MBA gives you an understanding of various elements of a business and how to generate revenue –  those are critical skills,” she said. “Everyone, regardless of if you’re in a nonprofit or not, needs to understand the world functions on this economic system, and your company needs to earn money. I think when people can understand their specific role and their contribution to the bottom line of the organization, that in and of itself is worth the Invited MBA.”

Equipped with an enhanced business skill set, Angela is optimistic about the future – not only in her own professional life, but also in the community she serves. Though it would be easy to become cynical in her line of work, she exudes positivity when she talks about the impact PeopleFund and similar organizations are having on BIPOC populations. “It’s hard not to ask why things aren’t fixed yet. But we are hopeful beings. And when you do hard things in the world, you see moments of real light and real success.  That’s when I know my work truly does help. Especially when a new business owner is able to hire someone, that person now has income so that they can support their family and their employees’ families. That’s business acumen creating exponential impact,” she said. “That, and tasty cupcakes.”

Want to level up your own career?

If you’re ready to get your hands on some immediately applicable business challenges, the Invited MBA has rolling deadlines for spring and fall sessions. Apply Now!

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