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HOBOKEN, N.J. — This summer the MBA interns are coming, and the timing couldn’t be better.“With the economy and the Goldman Sachs-Merrill Lynch-typical-MBA-shuffle straight to Wall Street not being the same cash-strewn path it used to be, there is now uncertainty among these students about their career paths,” said Filene Research Institute CU Tomorrow Driver Ben Rogers. “And this is the perfect time for credit unions to make their play for these talented students and let them know they can make a difference.”To help credit unions tap into this talented pool of future leaders, Filene has partnered with Net Impact, a network of global leaders dedicated to changing the world through business. Net Impact members are committed to sustainable business, which Rogers said makes them a great match for credit unions. With Net Impact chapters at top MBA programs around the country, Rogers said their members represent the cream of the crop in terms of business talent and leadership.“We’ve got more than 10,000 members from around the world who are MBA students committed to using their knowledge and experience for good in their communities and people’s lives. With the challenges the credit union industry as a whole is facing attracting young talent and given the value credit unions have in their communities, the partnership seemed to be a natural fit,” said Net Impact Corporate/Donor Relations Senior Manager Sarah Coleman.Rogers said participating in the MBA Fellowship program is easy. Credit unions simply have to identify a management-level project-that might otherwise be reserved for a consultant-and be prepared to pay market wage for a 10-week internship. Filene and Net Impact will take care of all of the vetting and send credit unions a list of qualified candidates to interview.“They may not be getting Wall Street compensation, but what credit unions can offer these MBA students is a seat at the table with senior management making decisions,” said Rogers. “They might not be bounding up the compensation ladder as quickly as their fellow alums, but they can be rungs ahead on the strategy and management ladders.”It turns out that the new crop of MBA graduates may be interested in more than just cashing in. According to Coleman, an informal survey last year of its member MBA population revealed that respondents are willing to accept a 20% cut in compensation to have a position that better reflects their values.“We recognize that our membership is not representative of the total MBA community, but the response was still surprising,” said Coleman. “And as more people consider the entire spectrum of compensation, the idea of being socially responsible and having opportunities to give back to the community may gain more traction than just financial rewards.”Rogers adds that now is not just a good time for credit unions to attract members but also these leaders who are looking to make a real difference in an organization and their communities.“Credit unions are thinking hard about succession planning across the ranks and where the next generation of credit unions will come from,” said Rogers. “We can offer these MBA graduates something that is diametrically opposed to what they are seeing in the headlines-financial institutions that are cooperatively owned with no outside shareholder pressure-with just the mission of doing what is in the members’ best interest. And credit unions have access to high-level thinkers who can serve as a consultant and bring fresh ideas and new perspective to specific projects.”Rogers said the hope is that when they graduate, these future leaders interested in working at socially responsible organizations will consider a career path that leads them back to the credit union industry. The program is in its second year and so far four credit unions and CUNA Mutual Group have opted to participate.According to CUNA Mutual Strategic Staff Manager Jaime A. Benton, the allure of getting young potential leaders into credit unions while learning more about the recruiting process and internships came at the right time. Building on its successful undergraduate internship program, CUNA Mutual has recently started the framework for recruiting MBA and graduate students.“The undergraduate internship experience has been so wonderful and over half the interns have been offered an opportunity to come back full time,” said Benton. “We’re looking forward to recruiting two MBA interns and this has been such a positive experience. Being able to use and leverage Net Impact’s connection with students and Filene providing the contacts, we didn’t have to do any direct marketing and that has been a huge timesaver. We’re also getting great ideas on ways we might be able to network and show how amazing credit unions are to these potential leaders.”Also excited about showing off the credit union difference to their three MBA interns is Xceed Financial Senor Vice President of Marketing and Human Resources Kathryn Davis.“It is a great opportunity that fits in with who we are and what we are trying to do here. The two biggest things that piqued our interest is that I love that we’ll be getting fresh ideas and a fresh set of eyes on different projects and giving these talented people an opportunity to open the hood and look at what credit unions are about and that they can have a viable career in the industry,” said Davis.–[email protected]

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