Career Transition to the Non-Profit Sector

Executive Programme (5 days)

Do you want to contribute to making a more equitable world and have higher job satisfaction?

Working in the non-profit sector could be your opportunity to contribute your experience, transfer your skills and make a difference. The non-profit sector needs professionals from all fields.


This five-day executive programme is designed to equip experienced professionals from the private and public sectors with the understanding and additional skill sets needed to transfer their existing capacities to non-profit organizations.


The programme is unique in its experiential action-learning approach: you learn by doing, guided by experienced practitioners. It incorporates:

  • Face-to-face meetings with managers and leaders of international non-profit organizations to discuss career perspectives
  • Meetings with HR specialists, including from cinfo, which is the Centre for Information, Counselling and Training for Professions relating to International Cooperation,
  • Exchanges with managers who have successfully transitioned to the non-profit sector and who share their experiences.
  • Three hours of individual coaching focusing on themes of personal relevance to help you develop choices and identify opportunities for your future career and to help you adapting your CV accordingly.

The non-profit NGO Management Association (NMA) and its >NGO Management School are specialised in capacity development for non-profit organizations. We bring in good practices from working in over 20 countries in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

International Management School Geneva is a business school located in the heart of Geneva. IMSG is delivering BA, MA and DBA degrees in English, French and mixed English/French pathways. IMSG provides personalised education, meeting individual needs.

The Career Transition Executive Programme helps to answer the following questions:

  • How do I translate and apply the knowledge and competencies acquired in the private or public sector into what is needed today in non-profit organisations (NPOs)?
  • Which hard and soft skills are essential for managers in the non-profit sector, and what is different in comparison to the for-profit sector?
  • What makes my profile attractive to non-profit organisations, how can I make a difference?
  • Where to find most relevant positions of interest to me and how to apply?
  • How should I approach organisations and what do I need to know before applying?

The five-day intensive executive programme starts with an overview of the international aid architecture, trends and opportunities. Modules are given by experts and working professionals to provide a concise overview of different subjects and help you map out your competencies to obtain in-depth knowledge and valuable insight into working in national and international non-profit organizations.


Comprehensive introduction into international cooperation for sustainable development, humanitarian action and environmental issues. Participants are offered an overview of competing concepts and discuss political and economic options, perspectives and trends for the future. Managers from international organisations discuss current challenges based on real-life case studies in the fields of development, humanitarian action and the environment.

  • Development cooperation and humanitarian action
  • The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Frameworks, values, debates
  • Humanitarian Action: Principles and areas of operation
  • Environment and green economy: Towards circular and zero waste economies
  • Players: States, UN, international organisations, NGOs, bilateral and multilateral organisations, business

Participants learn about the main governance models in national and international organisations, the respective advantages and disadvantages and about effective leadership and management in NPOs. Successfully leading and managing a non-profit organisation involves making and implementing strategic decisions on how to achieve its vision and how to get there. This module focuses on hands-on skills and practical tools for the effective leadership and management of NPOs.

  • Criteria for good governance; ownership, participation, accountability
  • Leadership and leadership models in non-profit organisations
  • Strategic management cycle in the non-profit sector: from planning to achieve your organisation’s vision, to translating strategy into operational action plans
  • Results-based management to improve performance and to achieve strategic goals

Participants learn about the key differences between the for-profit and the non-profit sector and the defining elements of successful NPOs. This module includes a self-assessment of competencies and interests. Through individual interviews, career aspirations are identified and possible choices for career perspectives are elaborated upon and discussed based on the results of the initial self-assessment.

  • Key differences between for-profit and non-profit sectors
  • Characteristics of successful non-profit organizations
  • Guided self-assessment of competencies and aspirations
  • Individual one hour interview with HR expert based on self-assessment
  • Review of self-assessment, supported by specialist

Hear from those who have moved from the private sector to the non-profit sector. Several speakers recapitulate how they succeeded in developing their careers in the non-profit sector; they share the highs and the lows during their own career transition period. What worked and what did not? The speakers offer interesting tips and advice.

  • Speakers from the for-profit sector share their experience, good practices and lessons learned when moving to the non-profit sector, followed by Q&A
  • HR specialists from NPOs discuss entry points and insights for moving from the private and public sector to non-profit organizations

Which core competencies, knowledge, skills and experience do you have that would make a difference in the non-profit sector? What is your USP? Participants review their CV based on the work covered in module 2 and the recent learnings. With the guidance and support of the trainers, participants benefit from individual interviews with sector specialists in development cooperation and humanitarian action to discuss career options and possibilities

  • Individual interview of one hour to discuss career opportunities and choices, with specialists from the development, humanitarian action and the environment sectors
  • Individual one hour interview with HR specialist on CV development.
  • Individual work on career planning and CV formulation, supported by specialists
  • Place: Campus Biotech, Geneva, Switzerland
  • Duration: 5 days
  • Three hours of tailored advice, coaching and individual review of CV
  • Exchanges with managers and leaders of international and national organisations
  • Meeting with non-profit HR specialists

CHF 4,500 Exc VAT


For further information and registration, please contact us at +41 22 731 76 66 and, or +41 22 545 12 80 and

International Management School Geneva (IMSG) and NMA’s NGO Management School jointly conduct this executive programme in the framework of a new chair on Social and Technological Innovation and Circular Economy (ISTEC) at IMSG.