Which is the best course for a management career in the social sector?

by Admin | 5 January, 2023
Which is the best course for a management career in the social sector?
Author Published: 04 January , 2024
Unveiling 5 Game-Changing Collaboration Models in Development Sector

Embracing the Social Sector

In the realm of diverse causes and global challenges, a growing number of individuals, both students and professionals, are driven not just by a paycheck but by a yearning to make a meaningful impact. The millennial generation, often deemed Gen Y, is increasingly drawn to the development sector, fueled by a genuine desire to address the world's most pressing issues and outshine their peers through exposure and experience. Success, for this cohort, is not solely defined by financial gain but by becoming catalysts for social change.

Over the past five to eight years, the Social Sector has undergone a profound evolution. While Social Purpose Organisations (SPOs) still dominate, the sector has become a mosaic of opportunities, welcoming individuals from various backgrounds, each with unique hopes, aspirations, skills, and visions for change.

The Social Sector's Allure

Nitisha Pandey, a B Tech graduate in Computer Science and an alumna of ISDM's Class of 2017, serves as a testament to the sector's allure. Working at Nomi Network as a Senior Programme Manager and Menstrual Health Educator, Nitisha initiated the 'Green Period Project.' This initiative aimed to raise awareness and action for eco-friendly menstrual products in North East India, securing funds to provide these products to 50 women in Kalimpong and Dimapur for five years. Nitisha's journey also involved speaking engagements at various forums, amplifying conversations around Education, Health, Climate, and their intersections with menstrual health.

The Social Sector, she contends, is not merely a professional landscape; it is a realm bursting with exciting career opportunities that hold the power to effect lasting social change. The sector's growth has given rise to a pool of bright minds, showcasing diversity and skill comparable to any other industry. Consequently, Social Purpose Organisations are actively seeking niche talent to fortify their ranks, individuals who can devise strategies to lead teams and foster transformational impact at the grassroots level. In essence, leadership and management skills emerge as the linchpin of Development Management. And here is where ISDM, the Indian School of Development Management, takes center stage.

ISDM's Role in Shaping Social Change Leaders

ISDM, through its 11-month full-time Post-Graduate Programme in Development Management, plays a pivotal role in shaping leaders poised to transform the social sector. As Shrikantha Raipurkar, an ISDM student, notes, the set of skills required for the Social Sector operates on different principles due to the complexities involved. Retrofitting a broad corporate philosophy, as often taught in traditional MBA programs, falls short. Management for the Social Sector demands a tailored approach to master the unique challenges exclusive to this domain.

Ravi Sreedharan, Co-founder of ISDM, provides insights into the nuanced interpretation of Development Management for the Social Sector. With a 24-year corporate career, including significant roles at HSBC, Ravi transitioned to the social sector in 2011, joining the Azim Premji Foundation. His journey reflects the necessity of adopting business management practices specifically designed to address the issues of the Social Sector.

Crafting Change-Makers: ISDM's Vision

ISDM envisions itself as a pioneer institution forged through collective wisdom and philanthropy. It contends that the Development Sector must imbibe and adapt Business Management Practices meticulously crafted to resolve the sector's challenges. ISDM has cultivated an identity synonymous with excellence, offering a first-of-its-kind curriculum and pedagogy tailored for students aspiring to excel in Development Management.

Mr. Ashish Dhawan, a key advisor to ISDM and India's leading philanthropist, echoes the importance of leadership in the Social Sector. An alumnus of Harvard Business School and the co-founder of Chrysalis Capital, Dhawan emphasizes the need for a new breed of professionals equipped with relevant leadership skills, strong ethics, and a social conscience.

ISDM's Flagship Initiative: PGP DM Programme

Crafting Social Change Professionals: The PGP DM Curriculum

ISDM's Post-Graduate Programme in Development Management (PGP DM) stands out as a global initiative, blending development principles with management theories. This 11-month program is meticulously designed by leading academicians and practitioners, offering in-class sessions that create impactful, committed management professionals. The curriculum aims to instill the ability to navigate non-linear complexities, diverse processes, geographies, and cultures.

The mission of the PGP DM Programme encompasses:

Strengthening the Foundation of the Social Sector: Focusing not just on individual growth but also on fortifying the very essence of the social sector.

Developing On-the-Ground Understanding: Through immersive learning methodologies, the program ensures a profound understanding of managing social sector organizations.

Facilitating Mentorship: The distinctive Mentorship Programme connects students with CEOs, industry executives, and global leaders, providing invaluable guidance.

Holistic Learning: ISDM's Approach

The PGP DM curriculum at ISDM encompasses:

Context-Based Collaborative Learning: An approach that enables students to understand contextual realities, essential for developing sustainable solutions in the Social Sector.

Learning from Stalwarts: Exposure to thought leaders and influencers from various industries fosters interaction and co-creation with the best minds in the Indian development space.

Blended Learning: A combination of technology and traditional classroom activities provides flexibility for customized learning experiences.

Realising India Immersion: A two-week program immerses students in a district, facilitating exploration of local issues, ongoing social sector work, and reflection on their experiences.

Radical Transformation Leadership Course: Specially curated workshops covering a range of topics such as Group Dynamics, Radical Transformation Leadership (RTL), Networks, Partnerships, Alliances for Scale, Fund Raising, Project Management, Volunteer Management, and Instructional Design.

Interaction with Eminent Leaders: Regular interactions with leaders from different walks of life facilitate debates, discussions, reflection, and learning.

As part of the ISDM Live Lecture Series - SANGAM, Dr. R. Balasubramaniam, an award-winning activist, leadership trainer, and prolific writer, shares insights on the Samaj-Sarkar-Bazaar Convergence. Listen here. [Watch the full session here]

Nurturing Future Professionals: Bricoleur-Continued Mentorship Programme

The Bricoleur-Continued Mentorship Programme at ISDM is instrumental in steering young professionals toward becoming authentic development management professionals. Recognizing the unique management disciplines required for the social sector, ISDM provides sustained mentorship tailored to the sector's scale.

Enhancing Communication: Development Management Writing Centre

The Development Management Writing Centre at ISDM aids students in excelling in written and oral communication. Through personalized training, students can draft theses, research manuscripts, and even publish their own papers.

Personal Mastery for Development Leadership

ISDM's emphasis on personal mastery for development leadership aims to instill curiosity, courage, and compassion in students. Creating a safe space for teams to flourish, encouraging generative conversations, and building attentional focus are crucial aspects of this approach.

Voices from ISDM Alumni: Stories of Transformation

Dhristha Bhagawati and Roopesh Kumar, alumni of ISDM, share their unique experiences. Dhristha emphasizes personal mastery for development leadership, while Roopesh, an ex-student, attests to the curriculum's role in fostering his growth as a development leader.

PGP DM Programme: A Sought-After Course

Unmatched Success: Key Statistics

The PGP DM programme at ISDM has garnered significant success:

  • Five Successful Batches
  • 75 Global Faculty Members
  • 100% Placement Assistance
  • Exciting Scholarships and Financial Assistance Options

World-Class Faculty: A Pillar of ISDM's Success

ISDM's faculty, drawn from diverse backgrounds with vast interdisciplinary experience, exposes students to thought leaders and influencers from the industry. This exposure allows students to interact and co-create with the very best in the Indian development space.

To know more about ISDM's faculty, click here.

Mentorship: A Guiding Light for ISDM Students

ISDM students benefit from mentorship provided by a select group of experienced professionals holding senior leadership positions across industries and domains. These interactions center on making sound professional choices, providing sustained guidance, and enhancing students' experiences throughout their academic journey and beyond.

100% Placements: A Testimony to ISDM's Impact

ISDM's graduates are universally accepted and in demand by social-sector organizations. The unique challenges faced by development sector professionals, including navigating non-linear complexities and processes across diverse geographies and cultural contexts, find effective solutions through development management skills acquired at ISDM.

Career Options and Alumni Testimonials

Career Options

Graduates of the ISDM PGP DM Programme are prepared for various roles in development sector organizations, equipped to start their for-impact organizations, and, in time, assume senior leadership and management responsibilities.

Alumni Testimonials

Shreya Verma, Class of 2021, shares her journey:

  • Before ISDM: Graduate and Fresher
  • After ISDM: Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Government of India, State Coordinator, J & K

"Besides the strong alumni base and a welcoming faculty, PGP DM gave me a global perspective and has equipped me with knowledge of Design & Systems Thinking, nurtured and enhanced my leadership skills."

The Difference: PGP DM vs. Other Social Sector Courses


While both a Master of Social Work (MSW) and the PGP DM Programme aim to prepare students for the Social Sector, they differ in several ways:

  • An MSW focuses on fieldwork and grassroots-level engagement, while PGP DM imparts management and leadership skills tailored for mentoring teams working at the grassroots level.
  • MSW prepares individuals to understand communities, develop solutions, and implement them effectively. PGP DM, on the other hand, teaches the creation of world-class social organizations with appropriate strategies, structures, systems, and processes.

Public Policy vs. PGP DM

Public Policy Courses examine how government policies impact the public and how policies can be implemented effectively. In contrast, PGP DM prepares students to work specifically for the needs of the Social Sector.

  • Public Policy is a theoretical discipline, while PGP DM is hands-on. PGP DM students gain practical exposure through Rural Immersion, Professional Learning Communities, and various workshops, leading to careers in Think Tanks, Consultancies, the Government Sector, or International NGOs.

Diverse Organisations: Where PGP DM Graduates Work

The array of organizations where PGP DM graduates find opportunities is vast, catering to various interests and inclinations:

  • CSR Fund/Foundation
  • Social Welfare Organizations
  • Policy Consulting Firms
  • For-Profit Social Organizations
  • Social Advocacy
  • Not-for-Profit/NGOs
  • Impact Investing Firms
  • Social Impact Consultancies
  • Social Enterprises
  • Education/Think Tanks/Research
  • Bilateral Agencies

Career Roles for PGP DM Graduates

PGP DM graduates have a plethora of options for building their careers in diverse roles:

  • Programme Operations and Management
  • Communications and Engagement
  • Fund Raising (Retail and Corporate)
  • Strategy & Data-based Decision Making
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
  • Government Relations and Advocacy
  • Strategic Partnerships and Alliances
  • Monitoring & Evaluation
  • EA to CEO
  • Co-Founders

Financial Aid and Scholarships: Making Education Accessible

ISDM, being a non-profit institution, is committed to making world-class education affordable for students from all walks of life. Deferred payment options and financial assistance are offered to support meritorious students with genuine financial needs.

To know more about the eligibility criteria, click here.

Applying for the PGP DM Course: A Seamless Process

ISDM's admission process involves four straightforward steps:

Connect with Us: Share your interests here or chat with our counselors at +91 9999788216 for personalized guidance.

Fill out an Online Application Form.

Selection Process: Includes an Online Assessment and a Personal Interview.

Embark on Your Journey: Start your ISDM experience with a smile on your lips and a dream in your heart.

To know more about the admission process, click here.

Eligibility Criteria for PGP DM

If you aspire to make a deep, long-lasting impact on the world and build a mission-based career, ISDM is the place for you. Graduates from any stream, whether working professionals or freshers, with an interest in the social development sector can apply. Previous work experience is an added advantage but not mandatory. However, some amount of professional or volunteering experience is recommended, with the average previous work experience of ISDM students ranging from 1.5 to 2 years.

In a landscape where social impact is the currency of change, ISDM stands as a beacon, shaping leaders equipped to navigate the complex tapestry of the social sector. Aspiring individuals seeking a meaningful career with

In closing, ISDM's PGP DM Program emerges as a transformative force, cultivating leaders driven by purpose in the dynamic landscape of the social sector. The humanized approach to education, holistic mentorship, and real-world immersion experiences position ISDM as a beacon for those aspiring to make a meaningful impact on society.

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Admission open for PGP-DM