Diversity is more than just a b-school buzz word. It is an essential ingredient for robust discourse in the classroom and beyond. To obtain the richest mix of perspectives and world views, business schools strive to compose a class with diversity in all possible forms: racial, ethnic, religious, cultural, socio-economic, and sexual orientation. Today, we take a look at some of the resources available to minority MBA applicants to help you gain a seat at the b-school of your dreams.
For many potential applicants of color, the decision to go to business school isn’t an obvious one. They may not have many family members or friends who have pursued graduate management education. Or, perhaps the astronomical expense of elite MBA programs is too off-putting.
To these talented but unsure individuals, we say, take the plunge. There’s an extensive support network waiting to guide you through the rabbit warren that is the b-school application process.
More Efforts Needed to Attract Minority MBA Applicants
As we recently shared with the Financial Times, the main reason top business schools struggle to attract more ethnic minority candidates is that there are not enough of them among the groups who feel able to apply for a place at a top school. In order to meaningfully shape actual student class populations, awareness levels about the program must increase.
Schools that have become more diverse have done so by offering greater flexibility on their admissions criteria, particularly in GMAT scores and GPA. For example, we recently worked with a male in private equity from an under-represented minority. He gained admits to every school he applied—including Harvard Business School. Even with a GMAT below 650. Last season, we worked with a female Hispanic candidate who had a GPA below 3.0. She received admits to Duke and Kellogg—with a scholarship.
Can’t-Miss Resources for Minority MBA Applicants
Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) confronts that crisis by providing the key ingredients—skills, coaching, and door-opening relationships—that unlock the potential in the next generation of minority leaders.
The MBA Prep program offered by MLT guides fellows through the application and interview process. It shows them what it takes to be successful in business school and beyond. Through one-on-one coaching, early exposure to representatives from top schools, a skill development curriculum and lifelong alumni network, MBA Prep provides the tools for high potential applicants to become high-impact business and community leaders.
Another great resource is the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management. The Consortium awards merit-based, full-tuition fellowships to the best and brightest candidates through an annual competition. Minority candidates can also apply to up to six Consortium schools with one application. This perk significantly reduces their application fee costs.
Business has become ever more global and interconnected. Minority MBA applicants need to tap into all resources available because the desire for diversity is sincere. MBA programs have to prepare future leaders who can successfully jump into any culture or environment. This could mean Wall Street, consulting, or a BRIC country (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) start-up. Diversity in the b-school classroom is the best preparation for the challenges and rewards of the multicultural marketplace.