Top Business Schools Ramp Up Recruitment of Black and Latino Students

Shannon Cook

Shannon Cook - BusinessBecause

Shannon Cook is a Writer for BusinessBecause and GMAC Media.

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In the US, Black and Latino students remain underrepresented at many business schools. Latino students accounted for just 5.8 percent of candidates who took the GMAT in 2018, while Black students made up 8.3 percent of GMAT test takers in the US that same year.

The Black Lives Matter protests in 2020 and the wider calls for racial equality and justice that came from them highlighted the need for action.

Many US business schools have since turned their attention to MBA diversity issues and are aiming to tackle the low rates of Black and Latino representation in the MBA classroom.

MBA diversity benefits

Why? Firstly, the benefits of a more diverse business school classroom for both students and faculty are significant.

Alongside driving representation, an MBA classroom filled with students who have different experiences and cultural backgrounds can enhance group work, allowing case studies and complex problem solving to be seen from various points of view.

Quinton McArthur, senior associate director of diversity for MBA admissions at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, one of the world’s top business schools, says that an MBA classroom with greater rates of diversity is more representative of the real business world, which can see business leaders working alongside clients and colleagues from all corners of the globe.

“It’s important for the leadership class to represent the broader society in order for [business school graduates] to have credibility with the communities that they seek to represent,” Quinton notes.

What’s more, diversity of leadership in the workforce has been linked to improved innovation and financial performance, according to a study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

Soojin Kwon, managing director of Full-Time MBA admissions and program at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, believes it’s important that business schools better serve Latino and Black MBA students as they add to the richness of the educational experience.

"As with all students, Black and Latinx students bring unique perspectives and experiences to business schools which allows for other students to learn from them.

“Companies are also looking for diverse talent, so we want to be able to provide that diverse talent pool,” she adds.

Supporting Black and Latino MBAs

Business schools are supporting the recruitment of Black and Latino MBAs via various initiatives.

American University's Kogod Business School has multiple diversity-based groups dedicated to Black and Latino students, aiming to create a supportive and welcoming community of diverse students on campus.

Kogod’s Organization of Latinx Leaders Across Business (KOLAB) hosts networking events and offers students the opportunity to learn more about the business culture in Latin American countries and the US. Meanwhile, Kogod’s chapter of the Black MBA Association holds business conferences, supports small businesses and Black entrepreneurship, and hosts social events.

Another way that top business schools have proven their commitment to supporting Black and Latino students is by offering MBA scholarships for minorities. Since the cost of an MBA can be a barrier to entry for underrepresented candidates, financial aid can increase accessibility.

Cost of MBA Report 2021

How much does an MBA cost? The BusinessBecause Cost of MBA Report 2021 breaks down the total cost of the world's top MBA programs.

 

Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business offers Global Fellowships, which amount to US$30k annually, for students with a direct Latin American connection.

Texas McCombs School of Business and Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management offers The Consortium Fellowship, which covers total tuition cost for African American, Hispanic, and Native American students, as well as any US student who can show they’re committed to tackling diversity issues.

There’s additional financial aid too. Kogod reserves funds for unpaid internships and global experiences for students from historically underrepresented populations with connections to the Black, African-heritage, and Caribbean communities.

Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business also covers accommodation and flight costs for prospective underrepresented ethnic minority students attending their Diversity Preview Weekend. The recruiting event aims to attract diverse US talent to Jones by providing alumni panels and professional career advice.

MBA Scholarship Opportunities to Explore

MBA scholarships come in all shapes and sizes. The bottom line is they can help you pay for business school by drastically reducing the cost of your degree.

 

“To ensure equitable access to the MBA, it is incumbent upon programs to provide an inclusive recruitment and application process where potential students from these backgrounds feel their perspective, skills, and experiences are valued,” notes Christian West, senior director of global diversity, equity, and inclusion recruiting at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.

There's always more work to be done to ensure the Black and Latino community, among other underrepresented minority groups, feel valued at business school. With top US business schools rallying together to create a welcoming environment for underrepresented students, it’s a step in the right direction.

Shannon Cook

Shannon Cook - BusinessBecause

Shannon Cook is a Writer for BusinessBecause and GMAC Media. She is responsible for writing and managing sponsored and non-sponsored editorial content relating to the business school journey, as well as covering the latest business news trends. She also heads up the video series, building brand awareness of BusinessBecause across social media channels and the website.

Shannon earned a BA in English Literature with Legal Studies from the University of Sussex and an MA in International Journalism from the University of Leeds.

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