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Considering an MBA in International Relations? 4 Things You Should Know About NGOs

Mar 21, 2019 4:18:38 PM / by Geneva Business School

Students from Geneva Business School attending NGOs

For those with an interest in business and global affairs, an MBA in International Relations can open up a wide variety of exciting career paths, whether in journalism, diplomacy, or the corporate sector.  If you have a passion for creating positive change and are hoping to find a career where you can make a difference, possibly even on a global scale, it can also open rewarding opportunities in the non-governmental organization (NGO) sector, which provide a broad range of services across the world for communities and individuals in need.

If this sounds like it could be the career move you’re looking for, here are four things you should know about NGOs.

1. There Are Many Different Types of NGOs

There are an incredibly diverse range of NGOs operating today, which vary widely in terms of their organizational structure, their sources of funding, their scope, and many other factors. As a result, there are many different ways to categorize NGOs, depending on which factors one wants to focus on. Some of the acronyms commonly used to differentiate between common types of NGOs include: ENGOs, or environmental NGOS, which focus on issues related to the environment; QUANGOs, or quasi-autonomous NGOs, which are set up and funded by a government; and INGOs, or international NGOs, which operate across borders.

2. There Are Millions of NGOs Worldwide – and the Number is Growing

There are an estimated 10 million NGOs worldwide with new NGOs appearing every day. In the UK alone, around 30 new charities are formed daily, and expenditure by British development NGOs – meaning those focused on planning, implementing, and supporting development campaigns as opposed to those focused on advocacy – has risen from around £3.5 million in 2004 to over £5 million in 2015. Likewise, the number of people donating money to NGOs worldwide increased by 200,000,000, from 1.2 billion in 2011 to 1.4 billion in 2014, with the figure expected to reach 2.5 billion by 2030. This is good news for those interested in a career working for NGOs – or interested in founding their own – as the evidence suggests that it’s a growing sector with plenty of opportunities for individuals hoping to leverage the skills they’ve acquired through an MBA in International Relations to make a positive difference in the world.

Students of the Geneva Business School sitting in a class

Geneva Business School’s International Relations program trains students in NGO management

3. NGOs Receive Funding from Many Different Sources

NGOs can vary widely in size, from small local initiatives to massive global organizations, and some of the biggest have annual budgets in the millions, or even billions, of dollars. In order to raise these budgets – which pay for initiatives, operating costs, salaries, and other forms of overhead – NGOs rely on a wide variety of funding sources, including membership dues, sales of goods and services, funding from private corporations and philanthropists, grants from various agencies and governments, and charitable donations from individuals.

4. A Broad Range of International Relations Careers are Available in the NGO Sector

The great diversity of NGOs across the world means that no matter what your own passion is when it comes to humanitarian aid, there is likely an NGO that shares it. Some examples of notable NGOs around the world and the problems they address include Medecins Sans Frontiers, which provides medical relief in war zones, natural disasters, and other situations; the Wikimedia Foundation, which is committed to providing free knowledge to the world; and Root Capital, which provides agricultural businesses in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, and Southeast Asia with financial capital and training in order to help grow developing economies. Ultimately, the range of international relations careers available in the NGO sector is as broad and varied as the range of challenges being faced worldwide.

Two students from Geneva Business School

There are a diverse range of international relations careers available within the NGO sector

Are you interested in a career working with NGOs?

Contact Geneva Business School for more information about our international relations programs.

Topics: international relations careers, international relations programs, mba in international relations

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