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Making A Difference

Leveraging MBA Skills for the Public Good

Caryl Brackenridge (MBA 1965)

Caryl Brackenridge (MBA 1965) didn’t think too much about being one of eight women to pioneer enrollment in the full-time MBA program at HBS. With two years of post-college teaching experience and two brothers, Brackenridge was used to holding her own in a discussion and enjoyed honing that skill further through the rigors of the case method: “You become very used to speaking publicly and defending your ideas,” she says.

When Brackenridge graduated from HBS, she worked as a marketing analyst at DuPont. “I wouldn’t have been hired for that job if I hadn’t had the MBA,” she recalls. “None of the men I worked with had a graduate degree.” Two years later, when the first of three children with section mate Jim Brackenridge arrived, Brackenridge focused her energies on a second career as a volunteer for youth soccer on the local, league, and state levels, eventually turning to local land conservation and historic preservation projects.

“I wrote, coordinated, and administered the grants for a local land trust,” she says. “I never felt my education was wasted, even if it wasn’t paying work. I truly believe there’s a call for people who have some degree of expertise to volunteer in nonprofit organizations. A lot of things are accomplished for free that tax dollars would have been used for otherwise. And I had the flexibility to raise my family. I was fortunate to be able to do that.”

(Published August 2015)

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