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Profit Is Not A Dirty Word

As college students approach graduation, many imagine a stark choice: take the business route, or work for a non-profit? Make money, or make the world a better place? In a recent Forbes article, Brian Brenberg argues this is a false dichotomy. You can do both. Service and making a profit should work in partnership, so entrepreneurs have resources to innovate and create products that meet real human needs. In short, business should not be construed as a “dirty word”—especially since private enterprise has improved the living conditions of billions. It will continue do so in the future only if we defend it clearly.
Summer job-hunting season is in full swing on college campuses and last week one of my students came by looking for career advice. She said her friends are applying for nonprofit jobs and want her to do the same. As we talked, I could tell something was bothering her so I asked if anything else was on her mind. She paused for a moment, and then hesitantly asked: “Is it okay if I want to go into business?” Today’s college students tend to view business the same way they view underage drinking: do it if you must, but don’t admit it in polite company. ‘Nonprofit,’ on the other hand, has become synonymous with ‘giving back.’ But, take away the first three letters of the word and all you’re left with is greed. The student in my office thought she could either make money or make the world a better place, but couldn’t do both. I told her you can do both. In fact, you have to.
Read more at Forbes.