Drew Elegante entered Notre Dame’s MBA program to study nonprofit management in 2010. After interning with non-governmental organizations in South Africa and Haiti, he thought the degree could lead to a consulting job at a firm such as Deloitte or KPMG, where he would advise businesses on sustainable practices.
He wound up, however, in a much different position: preparing to open a brewery selling craft beers in a refurbished movie theater not far from campus.
In a strange way, Elegante is satisfying the altruistic impulse that initially guided his business school studies. In his second year at school, he entered a competition to come up with a new use for an historic movie theater in downtown South Bend, Ind., that had fallen from 1950s grandeur to 2010-era blight.
Melissa Paulsen, a professor who teaches entrepreneurship at Mendoza and is overseeing the students’ involvement at the theater, says Elegante is representative of a growing number of MBA candidates she meets who are looking for jobs aligned with social goals.
“An older generation would accomplish this through charitable donations or board service, but this generation is looking at ‘How do I integrate it with my work?’,” she says. “That is how they think they are going to be happy.”