Entrepreneurial thinking, organizational innovation, cross-sector action.

8 #Myths about International Organizations

Mtyh #1 -
 “Business and International Organizations are inherently at odds and have little common ground”

Management tools and principles are equally applicable in for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. IO-MBA coursework adapts universal management concepts to the context of IOs, equipping students to thrive in a not-for-profit environment while still preparing them to understand and work with the for-profit world. IO-MBA participants hail from diverse backgrounds, and their combined wealth of experience contributes to a collaborative, multi-sectoral classroom environment. This type of cross-sector cooperation is crucial to achieving the SDGs by 2030, which will require collaboration between governments, business, and civil society.

Myth #2 - “Getting your foot in the door at International Organizations requires a certain professional background”

Although IOs may seem like closed systems from the outside, people transition in at all points in their career. Understanding IOs’ priorities, processes, and language will help you make the transition smoothly. IO-MBA prepares participants to apply business and management tools in the specific context of IOs, while its robust career services supports students in building their network.

Myth #3 - “Reforms and budget cuts in International Organizations limit new positions and job opportunities” 

IOs are undergoing major transformations. Reforms in innovation and digitalization are creating new jobs, resulting in the need for new talent. Staying competitive in this market requires fresh approaches and being open to doing things differently. To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, IOs need employees with an appetite for innovation, collaborative mindset, and interest in cross-sector problem-solving.
Myth #4 - "There is no budget for external training in IOs"

Many IOs support their staff with financial contributions or days off for training and continuing education!

Myth #5 - Career mobility is low in International Organizations 

International Organizations are changing rapidly and as some opportunities close, others open. Creating a network and acquiring key leadership competencies can help you move to the next step of your career, within or across organizations.  

Myth #6 - "International Organizations don’t value management education"

While most IO staff are highly educated, a unique degree will help you stand out from the crowd. Organizations are transforming and recognizing the value of transferable management skills. A comprehensive understanding of strategy, finance, and nuances of management will only augment your specialist skills.

Myth #7 - “Innovation? Certainly not happening in International Organizations” 

Check out IO-MBA's new report, "Unleashing bottom-up innovation in International Organizations".

Myth #8  - “IO-MBA is only for people who (want to) work for UN agencies”

UN agencies are part of the broader landscape of international organizations, which includes bilateral and multilateral agencies, NGOs, governmental agencies, private cooperative agencies, and global partnerships. IO-MBA coursework prepares graduates to dive into any part of this dynamic ecosystem.

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The International Organizations MBA
of University of Geneva

The IO-MBA offers a multidisciplinary curriculum taught by an international faculty from leading universities around the world and practitioners from IOs and NGOs. The coursework explores contemporary management tools and techniques and connects theory with practice in the context of international organizations. A future-focused curriculum combining management and sustainability prepares graduates to “bridge the gap” between private sector, public sector, and social purpose organizations. Through a vibrant and active IO-MBA Alumni Association, participants have access to a network of alumni working in diverse sectors in international development, including business, government, NGOs, and social enterprise.

At IO-MBA, located in the heart of global Geneva, close to the United Nations and other prestigious international organizations, the city is the classroom. Field trips, guest speakers, and special events connect participants to organizations for a hands-on experience.

  • Why choose IO-MBA? Are you a professional working for – or aspiring to work for – IOs, NGOs, nonprofits, or social enterprise? IO-MBA provides you with perspectives from these different worlds and hands-on experience from practitioners and faculty for a true cross-sector experience.
  • How is IO-MBA different from a standard MBA? If you want to develop universal management and organizational skills, but value social and not-for-profit missions and international collaboration, then IO-MBA is right for you. The IO-MBA experience extends beyond the classroom to connect the newest research and insights with current on-the-ground challenges.
  • IO-MBA's career services programming includes small group workshops and individual consultations; our personalized approach connects participants with the networks and resources they need for career growth.
  • Achieving the SDGs is a matter of management. At IOMBA, we build sustainable bridges to achieve the SDGs and teach how to lead change for a sustainable future. Join IOMBA and become such a change agent!
  • The future talents will be “Cross-Sector Experts”: leaders who master business management tools combined with a deep understanding of the context of international organizations and NGOS. Join IO-MBA and become such a leader! 



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Program facts

Date of entry: September 2019

Degree: International Organization Master Business Administration

Language of instruction: English

Credits: 90 ECTS

Campus: Geneva, Switzerland

Tution fee: CHF 39'500.-

Scholarships available, contact us for more info.