Social Impact MBA

Ashley Brown, MBA’23

Ashley Brown, MBA'23Recipient of the 100% scholarship for Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs)

Ashley Brown, MBA’23, a second-generation Peace Corps volunteer, has always known she wanted to serve her community.

After graduating from Howard University, she decided to pursue her dream of joining the Peace Corps to learn more about the experience of being a foreign service officer.

“It was a dream deferred,” she says. “I had started an application before for the Peace Corps and stopped because it felt like it wasn’t the right time, but something was like ‘Now is the time.’ And now we’re here.”

Brown served in Kosovo from 2015 to 2017 in the historic village of Prekaz, the site of a 1998 massacre where Serbian forces attacked the Kosovo Liberation Army. After the massacre, the United Nations stepped in, and eventually Kosovo gained independence in 2008.

As an education volunteer, Brown worked with SOS Children’s Villages International in Prishtina and taught English to students from third to ninth grade in Prekaz and Skenderaj. She says working with the schoolchildren was an amazing experience and helped cement her passion for community improvement.

“I realized this is what I want to do,” she says.

After returning from the Peace Corps, she began exploring career paths in the nonprofit sector. Brown now works for a health care union as a program coordinator, where she administers educational benefits for their members. 

While working at the union, Brown says the discrepancies she saw in everyday life and the impact her work had on people made her realize that she wanted to change focus. She decided to get her MBA to gain some flexibility in her career.

Brown first heard about Heller through the Peace Corps, and she says the school's commitment to social justice appealed to her. Visiting campus and talking to other students helped seal the deal.

“Speaking with the student rep, going around campus and getting a full view of their experience just made it feel like it was the place for me,” she says. “Being here has made me feel like I made the right choice.”

Brown is a recipient of a 100% scholarship for Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs), and she is pursuing a social impact MBA with a concentration in social entrepreneurship. She says she is interested in creating her own non-profit, but is also intrigued by all the other avenues for social entrepreneurship she is learning about in the program. 

“It’s given me different things to consider that I was unaware of but that have also piqued my interest,” she says.

After Heller, Brown says she could see herself either working in corporate responsibility for a large company or doing diversity, equity, and inclusion work for a nonprofit that focuses on people of color and women’s rights issues. She appreciates that Heller has such a passionate community and network she can draw upon as she considers her options for her future.

“The network here, current and previous students, is so impactful, and they’re so giving,” she says. “I want to be a part of that tradition and also benefit from that tradition.”