Advocacy in Action

Through the stories we share, the Admissions Team at Baylor University hopes to inspire and educate future leaders in social work.

An MSW is the Entrepreneurial Business Degree of the Future - Here's Why

Written by Dr. Jon Singletary on 12.20.18

Sarah began serving as a long-term senior care administrator right out of her graduate program. Heather has served as a development director in religious denominations since finishing her education 8 years ago. Rucker went from his first job of administering a small nonprofit to leading a statewide religious organization focused on community development. Hope graduated and immediately began an immigration rights organization, writing the grant to launch their work.   

Each of these Master of Social Work graduates is living the reality that social work education is more expansive than most people realize.

Many students in social work education recognize and support the value of public social services for our nation’s most vulnerable families, and alumni of these programs work in direct services such as case management and counseling. But the nature of human services today has led many social workers to new and creative approaches to their careers. Read on to learn how a master’s in social work prepares you to contribute to business and entrepreneurship and to build the future of the profession.

Explore Baylor University's digital resource page: Master of Social Work — The  MBA of the Helping Professions!

How MSW Graduates Contribute to Business:

The MSW is a wide-ranging professional degree that prepares social workers for the contemporary marketplace where service and justice, compassion and vulnerability are as essential to leadership as administration and planning, logistics, and policy analysis. These skills are an essential part of the MSW curriculum, but most people only associate them with an MBA.

Given the need for the so-called “soft” skills of leadership, in conjunction with the hard skills, Fast Company hailed the MSW as the new MBA. Inside Higher Ed has also called the MSW the 21st century law degree, each recognizing the versatility and adaptability for the degree.

Social workers have realized that they can live out their professional mission in new and varied settings.  It has often been the case that nonprofits and other service and justice organizations have wanted a business leader to step in and provide direction. Increasingly, social workers are the ones to whom people turn for help.

So, what about the MSW raises it to this level of professional education?  

The primary mission of the professional social worker, as stated in the National Association of Social Work Code of Ethics, is to enhance human well-being and to help meet the basic human needs of all people. Social workers are trained to work with individuals, have an in-depth skill set focused on problem-solving, and overcome personal as well as contextual challenges.

Furthermore, social workers understand the person in the context of their environment and are committed to promoting connection, mutual participation, and inter-professional collaboration. Social workers are committed to the greater good and to finding ways to effect change by addressing diverse social issues in a wide range of settings.

The MSW and Social Entrepreneurship:

There remains a growing opportunity for social workers in traditional social work roles. According to the National Association of Social Workers, 60 percent of mental health professionals are clinical social workers, compared to 10 percent of whom are psychiatrists, and 23 percent of whom are psychologists.

Additionally, social work in the fields of physical and mental health continues to grow. More macro social workers are in administrative roles leading nonprofits, directing agency programs, and in full-time supervision roles in diverse agency settings.

However, graduate programs in social work are also equipping students for opportunities that do not yet exist, and those in the field are excited about the future of the profession.    

In recent years, the social work profession has seen more and more social entrepreneurs leading social innovation efforts, earning social work degrees, and paving the way for social change. Social workers are creating jobs that did not exist a few years ago, and this will continue to be the case for years to come.

For example:

  • The fight against human trafficking is requiring new strategies, and social workers are creating those opportunities. 
  • The field of integrated behavioral health and community health workers provide new pathways to health care: And social workers are leading the way.
  • Trauma response opportunities are on the rise, and social workers are providing trauma-informed care, trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, and specialized interventions such as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy.  

Earn an MSW at Baylor University:

Social workers are among the most highly equipped professionals to help people manage change in their lives. With a professional code that promotes service and justice, relationships and integrity, now is the time to consider what a social work education can do for you.

To learn more about Baylor’s MSW program, and how you can prepare yourself to meet the unknown challenges of tomorrow, explore our digital resource: Master of Social Work — The MBA of the Helping Professions.


Posted by Dr. Jon Singletary

Dr. Jon Singletary was named dean of the Garland School of Social Work in 2015. He previously served as Associate Dean for both undergraduate and graduate studies since 2010. He joined the faculty in 2003 after completing his Ph.D. at Virginia Commonwealth University. His research interests include: Strengthening Congregational Community Ministries, Community Development, and Advocacy and Social Justice.