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Social Enterprise Mentor Profile Series

Daniel Ennis (MBA ’98) is having his cake and eating it too. His message to Harvard MBA’s: you can too.

Assuredly, Ennis has a background that’s among the most competitive HBS offers. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Boston College with a BA in Political Science and was the Valedictorian for the College of Arts & Sciences. There he also won the prestigious Harry S. Truman Scholarship.

Before going to HBS, Ennis spent three years working as a Financial Analyst in Goldman Sachs’ Debt Capital Markets Group. At Harvard, he received both an MPA from the Kennedy School of Government and an MBA from the Business School, where he was President of the Social Enterprise Club.

Now Ennis is an Engagement Manager in the Boston Office of McKinsey & Company, where he focuses on both the financial services and economic development sectors. In his four years with the firm, Ennis has had at least one major economic development project per year.

“I think I’ve had an unusual experience,” he said in a recent interview. “But I’ve expressed a passion for non-profit work since before I’ve been here, and I’ve been proactive here about finding the work.” He also plays a primary role in joint social enterprise efforts between McKinsey and HBS, a role that has enabled him to act as manager in the HBS
Community Enterprise Fellows program in which he was once a summer MBA participant.

When asked if he feared the “golden handcuffs,” a term used to describe the tendency of social enterprise aspirants to stay in the more lucrative private sector, he chuckled and said, “Well, it’s become more of an issue having just bought a house and with a baby on the way.”

In the long term future, Ennis sees himself as a leader in a major organization in the social enterprise sector, and he sees his professional experience in the private sector as valuable preparation. “I’ve been comfortable holding on for now,” he says of his McKinsey position, “but I know where I’ll end up maybe five or ten years from now.”
Said Ennis, “I’ve been very fortunate. I’ve had the best of both worlds.” Some might say, with a new home and baby on the way, he’s having the best of all worlds – and being the best in them.

February 19, 2002
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