MOOC, Social Entrepreneurship

It Started with a MOOC

March 27, 2019
By Whitney Stewart

How Online Education Paved the Way for Global Impact

Image of Reva and Woman
Reva engaging with women and children during her fellowship in India.


How did Reva Raghupathi pivot from a career in global health to developing her own social enterprise? It all started with a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), and the desire to explore impact through social entrepreneurship.

After 20 years of success in the global pharmaceutical industry, Reva decided it was time for a change. A leap of faith had taken her to New Delhi, India for a fellowship three years before, where she partnered with two NGOs to develop a sustainable public-private model to reduce maternal mortality.

Something clicked.

She realized she could marry her professional experience with her passion for social entrepreneurship to drive scalable social change. Inspired, she enrolled in a MOOC offered by Penn’s School of Social Policy and Practice.

“Before that, all my learning had been in classroom settings. It was a MOOC that opened up the potential of online learning for me.”

That MOOC led her to the Executive Program for Social Impact Strategy, where she was immediately connected with a cohort of professionals from over 20 countries. Penn’s online learning technology allowed Reva to tap into a powerful global community working to uncover solutions to our society’s most pressing issues.

“It started with a MOOC. It went to the Executive Program. The Executive Program brought me to the Masters Program in Nonprofit Leadership.”

Certificate in hand, she was ready to go even deeper and chose Penn’s Masters in Nonprofit Leadership to continue her studies. Now, leaders like Reva can have their pick of graduate schools across the country. So, what influenced her decision to attend Penn?

For Reva, a member of  Wharton’s MBA Class of 1998, choosing Penn was like coming home. She knew she’d benefit from world-class faculty and impressive peers. She also knew her professors would be able to deliver academic rigor coupled with powerful insights from their own careers.

She also notes that the affordable Executive Program, counting for 40% of the  Masters in Nonprofit Leadership, was another compelling reason to choose Penn.

“It was like coming home.”

Equipped with the tools necessary to create social change, she is now prepared to launch her own social enterprise to empower girls in India. Reva proves that scalable social change is achievable, and it can begin with a MOOC.