Aspiring Minority MBAs Casualties of Ranking?

by John A. Byrne on

Why has minority enrollment at the nation’s 50 top business schools remained so persistently low, with virtually no improvement in more than a decade? Peter Aranda, the chief executive of The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, is blaming B-school deans and admission officers for their obsession with rankings for the lack of progress.

Schools are so focused on grabbing students with the highest possible undergraduate grades and GMAT scores to improve their rank that it has made it harder to make progress in diversity, he says.

“In general, our B-school environment has become overly focused on GMAT and undergraduate GPA. People who could complete the MBA and go on to have very successful careers aren’t considered anymore because they might lower a school’s rankings,” says Aranda.

When Aranda became CEO of the Consortium nearly eight years ago, the percentage of minorities in the nation’s top 50 business schools was roughly 6%. Today, it’s exactly the same. If you subtracted the impact of the Consortium on those numbers, Aranda says, you could slice another two percentage points off the 6% to bring the total down to a woeful 4%. Typically, the 17 schools in the Consortium report minority MBA enrollments that are 38% higher than non-Consortium business schools.

The non-profit group of leading business schools, including Cornell, Yale and Michigan, work to increase the presence of African, Hispanic, and Native Americans in MBA programs and the corporate world. The Consortium hands out more than $20 million in merit-based scholarships each year to more than 300 MBA candidates with outstanding academic credentials who also prove a commitment to diversity.

“It’s frustrating,” concedes Aranda. “When I look at the stats, 13% of our [national] population is Hispanic, another 13% is African-American, and 2% are Native Americans. And then I look at enrollment of MBA programs, and we are not anywhere near 28%. I’m not arguing for quotas, but that is a very big gap.”

The U.S. News & World Report’s MBA rankings, which came out earlier this month, relies heavily on a school’s GMAT and GPA averages, with nearly 25% of each school’s standing based on those figures. Both measures have been drifting higher and higher for more than a decade — partially a consequence, Aranda believes, of the increased pressure on admissions officials to achieve higher rankings.

Some 15 years ago, no U.S. business school reported an average GMAT score for its entering class above 700 (the highest possible score is 800). Now, 13 of the top 15 schools in the U.S. News survey all have average scores ranging from 728 at the Stanford Graduate School of Business to 714 at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. For the class entering the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in 1994, for example, the average GMAT score was 650. Today, it’s 718.

“Institutions of higher learning are non-profit organizations and have a social responsibility bigger than competitive forces,” Aranda says. “The schools tend not to do much outreach with younger people. The schools should have some responsibility to address that problem but, by and large, they operate like for-profit companies.”

According to the Graduate Management Admission Council, which administers the GMAT, the average score of an African-American in the last testing year was 431—113 points below the 545 average for all GMAT test takers. Scores for Hispanic Americans was 490—some 55 points below the average—while scores for Native Americans was 500—some 45 points below the average.

“On average,” says Aranda, “these candidates are less well heeled. They come from family environments that don’t understand the reasons why you would go to a graduate business school. So there is family pressure for these young people to keep the jobs they have because they are considered already successful. So they don’t go to school unless they get funded or they go to part-time programs.”

Aranda says he firmly believes that the two most important things that can be done to improve the MBA enrollment of minorities are both related to problems caused by rankings.

Business school deans, he says, should pressure the organizations that rank business schools to both reduce the importance of GMAT and GPA scores and include other factors that would promote diversity. Aranda says schools that perform well on a diversity measure should be awarded on that metric. “It doesn’t cost money and would change the game a little bit,” he says.

As for the quantitative metrics, “I’m not saying we should let people in who struggled to maintain a 2.2 GPA. But I believe 570 to 580 GMAT candidates can complete their MBA programs without significant difficulty. You don’t need to have a 750. The rankings system needs to be adjusted and the schools should exercise some clout to make that happen.”

Increasingly, he says, there is “tremendous pressure on applicants to know exactly what they want to do when they grow up. In my opinion, graduate school should also be a time for exploring alternatives and expanding your mind.”

Aranda says that schools are putting applicants under such pressure to limit risks to their job placement stats, which can also hurt a school’s ranking. In the U.S. News’ survey, employment at graduation and three months later accounts for 28% of the weight of a school’s rank.

Both of these issues have a disproportionate impact on minority candidates because, on average, they tend to score lower on quantitative tests and are less certain how they will use the degree when applying to a business school. “We have an African American president, but it doesn’t mean that racial issues have gone away,” he says. “It doesn’t mean we have addressed all of the past wrongs that our society imposed on these groups of Americans.”

 

  • Random

    @John Welker

    Free GMAT courses or get an MBA from a program that you have the adm. stats to get into?

    That’s your solution? Interesting.

  • John Welker

    @ Redpoet

    Legacy admits are beggar too, in a different way however, they are not qualified to be there, but bought their place through donations, anyway another story.

    I actually like your idea, and guess what, most European schools use it. Check the Insead, LBS, Oxford, and the best thing is 95% of the students are not from the country; talking about diversity.

  • http://poetsandquants.com/members/redpoet/ Red Poet

    Let’s look at those URM stats for top b-schools a little closer.

    HBS 23% (doesn’t break down by ethnicity, so could be anywhere from 1% – $23% black, Hispanic, Asian, Indian continent, whatever)

    Stanford 21% (same criticism as Harvard)

    Wharton 32% (same criticism as Harvard, which they basically acknowledge on their website)

    Kellogg 21% (same critique)

    Booth 9% (same critique)

    CBS 33% (same critique)

    Sloan — didn’t even see a breakdown readily accessible on their site

    Berkeley 36% (same critique)

    Why aren’t these schools more specific as to the percentage of particular persons of color that attend their schools?

    Does anyone want to bet against the probable fact that each of these schools has a class demographic that is < 10% African-American (and in some cases, under 5%)?

    Is a school truly representative of America if over 90% of their population of color is Asian or Indian, while blacks and Hispanics are squeezed out?

    I'm not hating on Indians and Asians; rather, I am questioning whether black students, in particular, are included to the level that we ought to be as, well. I strongly suspect that the answer is no. B-schools classes may be a lot of things; representative of America, hell no.

  • http://poetsandquants.com/members/redpoet/ Red Poet

    @JohnnyWelker The idea that someone with a sub-median GMAT is “begging” when they apply to a school is amazing.

    What you might call begging, I’d call making a case for why you can add value to a school. And if we have a society where attending certain schools could have a tremendous benefit to your future, who can blame someone for trying to make the case? But begging? …. Wow.

    You know, there’s a strain of social conservatism in America that discourages people who “don’t belong” from trying to advance themselves. This is unfortunate.

  • Alex

    Red Poet, you wrote:

    “B-schools classes may be a lot of things; representative of America, hell no.”

    Are these classes even supposed to be representative of the demographic makeup of America? Heck, 30-40% of the students are international and these schools believe themselves to be global programs with required international experiences. Should they aspire to be representative of global demographic culture or at least proportionately representative of the demographic of business school applicants?

  • gr8

    @Red Poet

    check the businessweek mba rankings..those stats are published.

    for example:

    booth:
    African American: 7 %
    Asian American: 21 %
    Hispanic or Latino American: 9 %

    Wharton:
    African American: 5 %
    Asian American: 25 %
    Hispanic or Latino American: 3 %

    Harvard & Stanford, the epitome of elitism, do not release the numbers because they don’t want to make themselves look bad.

    USC:
    African American: 5 %
    Asian American: 32 %
    Hispanic or Latino American: 5 %

    UCLA:
    African American: 2 %
    Asian American: 36 %
    Hispanic or Latino American: 4 %

    I put the last two schools because they are in a large city that contains both a large Hispanic and African-American population.

  • http://poetsandquants.com/members/redpoet/ Red Poet

    @gr8: Good call, thanks. BusinessWeek has some great stats.

    @Alex: America’s greatest institutions can aspire to global reach AND offer better access and opportunity to underrepresented demographics here in the States. It is not an either/or proposition.

    This goes a bit outside of the scope of what’s primarily been discussed, but since you alluded to the subject: A lot of kids in America from certain communities don’t even know that business school is an option for them. This may shock some, but there are millions of kids in this country who don’t know what Dartmouth or Wharton or Kellogg is. And even if they did, they might not see that as being a realistic option for them, for a variety of reasons — even though if they were mentored in that direction, they could succeed as much as anyone. If you haven’t been in that situation, this may be hard for you to understand.

    Point is, it’s not good enough for business schools to be representative of their applicant pool. Otherwise, Harvard should just admit white men in their mid-to-late 20s who have worked for Goldman Sachs or BlackRock and sport 750s, and Indian men with MS’s in engineering, or whatever the idealized Harvard stereotype is, and say GTFO to the rest of us without any further delay or thought. We do need to be concerned with whether our country’s finest institutions are actively and effectively fielding classes that represent the best and the brightest among all of us, in all demographics.

  • 1st Year

    I agree with Alex. I think business schools are trying to be representative of global demographics – hence some schools are as high as 40% international.

    That being said, you still can’t represent every one of the 192 countries in the world.

    Business schools have to make difficult choices when building a diverse class. When you admit one person of one demographic (A), then you must deny admission to another person belonging to another demographic (B).

    How do we measure diversity? By ethnicity? By socio-economic status? By pre-business school industry? By country? By gender? By desired industry after business school? The list is infinite.

    Business schools field classes of between 200 to 900 people. They may achieve high levels of diversity in some categories but not in others. Who is to say which is the most important category of diversity?

    My point is that business schools have difficult choices to make and there is absolutely no way that they can please everyone.

  • 1st Year

    In addition, I’d like to question an assertion made in the original article that business schools are concerned about GMAT statistics for their classes primarily because of its effect on the school’s ranking.

    For my school at least, the GMAT as seen as a fairly reliable indicator of performance in the MBA program and success potential afterward in certain industries. Schools have collected years and years of data on applicant stats and later performance (in school and afterward) – as a result, they have a decent idea about what to look for in an application. Is the correlation 100%? Of course not. But it is a metric that needs to be evaluated. Not as a measure of intelligence, but more as a measure of quantitative ability, critical thinking, reading comprehension (in English), writing skills (in English), etc. — all of which play a strong role in how a student performs in the MBA program.

    For those of you who haven’t experienced the business school curriculum yet, the MBA is highly team-based environment. I’ve worked on over 15 teams this year alone. As in the real world, sometimes I can choose my team, sometimes I can’t. Everyone needs to pull their weight on these teams – the admissions committee owes it to the rest of the class to admit individuals who, if they were to join a team (say, your team), would have a high likelihood of being strong contributors to that team. Students with lower GMATs and GPAs raise questions about how effectively they will contribute to those teams (based on past experience). Business schools are trying to mitigate risks and create $120K of value for their students. They are responsible to these students (and alums) for admitting people who will be strong team contributors.

  • Not an MBA Candidate

    I read many (but not all) of the comments posted and the back and forth about race and quotas are more or less what I expected to see.

    Allow me to add what I hope is a constructive suggestion.

    If (as other posters mentioned) primary causes for the disadvantage are:

    • overall higher level of poverty for Blacks and Hispanics
    • poor education system availability

    Why not attack the problem at the source? Perhaps the top tier B-schools could offer graduates a full scholarship if following completion of their MBA program they agree to work as a teacher in an economically disadvantaged school district for some minimum specified period of time.

  • Alex

    Hi Not an MBA Candidate,

    I agree with what you’ve written and to this point, many MBA programs do offer such programs. HBS in particular will forgive your tuition if you take a job in the social enterprise sector upon graduation.

  • Bruce Vann

    Not an MBA Candidate, I’m not trying to be a hater. Maybe I don’t fully understand your argument. How would a teacher with a Masters of Business Administration be a better teacher of small children than someone with a Masters of Education? How would they make education more available than it already is?

    I think what’s currently being done is addressing the first bullet “overall higher level of poverty for Blacks and Hispanics” though it bothers many people. Here’s what I mean. My mom is one of 12 and they grew up super poor (having to eat out of trash cans poor). My dad never went hungry but was only a little better off. Thank God they were able to work hard and make it into the working class. Economically, I’m doing better than they were doing at my age because they busted their humps and put me through college. Since I’m going back via the Consortium it’s highly unlikely that my future kids will be in the 1/3 of black kids that grow up in poverty and they will have access to education and career choices that I was never exposed to as a child. What the Consortium is doing may not be pretty to some but over generations I think it’s addressing the problem.

  • John

    “You know, there’s a strain of social conservatism in America that discourages people who “don’t belong” from trying to advance themselves. This is unfortunate.’

    Wow, Red Poet, I could not have put this better myself.

  • http://poetsandquants.com/members/redpoet/ Red Poet

    @John: Some of the arguments seem to equate to shrugging shoulders, muttering, “Well, look at these stats I’m gonna offer you. There just ain’t nothing we can do for those people. They just can’t succeed in this environment, alright? Now leave me alone while I go apply to my school and enjoy the privilege of access I have. The rest of y’all, I’m gonna turn my head and pretend that you don’t exist — and that even if you did, you aren’t as good as me, because these numbers I am selectively presenting to you say you aren’t.”

    This enlightened mode of thought is right out of the 1950s.

    I also see no one’s who’s so dismissive of this issue has been willing to admit that they’ve probably applied to a school for which their GMAT is below or just at median, in the hopes of getting in over people with higher GMATs — even though GMAT is supposedly what’s MOST predictive of success, and should be stressed the most. Or is NO ONE here applying to Stanford or Harvard even though they don’t have a 730?

    Predictable hypocrisy. The rules apply to others, but not to you, I guess.

    Reply???

  • Johnnie Walker

    Hey RedPoet,

    I understand your point; don’t get me wrong, however, I still think the better way to tackle these macro issues is by going to the source:
    Let’s try to make the *food chain of this topic:
    1-Minorities are not being admitted in Top MBA programs because of GMAT score.
    -Cause 1: minorities do not have *time* to prepare for standardize tests: I would suggest Free GMAT courses, or some steep discount. I didn’t took a class because of the price personally, $1,000 was too much
    I would also add that a lot of whites and asians do not perform well on standardize tests, because the test is not perfect; we all know that. Because of this admission officers look at other data like GPA which bring my second point

    2- Minorities have low GPA in college because they worked while going to school
    Cause 1- Give more scholarships to minorities (maybe B-school should participate from undergrad), also make more loans available to them. By the way I worked 40 hrs a week at Walmart my first 2 yrs of school.
    Cause 2- Minorities had a hard time studying math and English in highschool.Maybe, we should have one or two semesters to catch up for these students. Summer school before undergraduate studies for free.
    Cause 3- URMs that are already done with undergrad could receive 2 semesters of math, accounting, finance, english before applying to B-school, for free, or at a discounted price, to make up for the time spent working while going to undergrad.

    I am sure there are plenty of initiatives that can be done to make us more aware of going to B-school at a younger age. My whole point is however that academics are a part of the B-school experience. Sure, everyone says it doesn’t matter, but honestly, it would show if a student is not prepared, and that would woeful for the student and the school in general. I don’t think we cannot advance because of our social disadvantages.

    I also do not agree not take into consideration the GMAT because:
    1- an MBA has an educational portion.
    2- GMAT is a standardized test that everyone is aware of before applying. Maybe we should study a bit more, take classes to be better.
    3- Schools would start ranking undergraduate schools and degree to make decisions. Quickly admission officers will say that Harvard 2.5 GPA> Howard 3.7 GPA, or something similar.
    The best way for the Howard student to compete would be to take the GMAT and show that the 3.7 was not a fluke.

  • http://www.lifeandsights.com Tony

    This article is written in clearly biased manner as far as mislabeling data to further an agenda.

    Since when did Asian-Americans become a non-minority? We certainly aren’t a majority. And there are Asian Americans who too, suffers to get into an MBA degree.

    Yet why make no mentions of them?

  • http://poetsandquants.com/members/redpoet/ Red Poet

    But Johnnie, the point is not to ignore whether someone can hang in the classroom in an MBA program. I don’t want my investment portfolio to be in the hands of someone who can’t do math quickly enough to decide whether to buy or sell in time. So what’s the GMAT score cut-off that determines whether someone can do that or not?

    The core issue here is really hypocrisy and arbitrariness (and lack of transparency) in admissions standards, and that’s a whole different issue than educational preparation. That’s why I complain about people with median or sub-median GMAT scores applying to “reach” schools, in the hopes of beating out people with higher scores, while telling others with sub-median scores that they shouldn’t apply. What’s the difference? You (meant in the general sense) have a 690, and that makes you a better prospect for Stanford than the kid with a 660? Those 30 points mean that you’re a better entrepreneur, or will be better CEO material?? Really???

    I’d hire a kid with above-average quant skills who’s been hustling his or her entire life over some desk-jockey with real high scores and an inability to relate to people to do my marketing any day. I don’t think a kid with a 670 is going to necessarily be a failure at Stanford anymore than a kid with a 740 is guaranteed to be a success. Nor would I even argue that it’s “more likely.” It depends on a lot more than a test score.

  • Bruce Vann

    Tony, asian americans are a minority but they’re not under-represented. If anything they’re overrepresented in many graduate level academic settings. To my knowledge Blacks (and probably Latinos and American Indians) are underrepresented in every graduate level academic setting.

  • Bruce Vann

    Also, I don’t find this article biased. John does a really good job of just stating facts and quotes without injecting his own opinion.

  • Johnnie Walker

    @ Redpoet
    @ Bruce Vann

    You both see to see it in the same light, at least compared to me.

    Actually, I do agree that a 670 may be better than a 740, the same with a 540 may be better prepared for an MBA program than an 800 GMAT. I also do agree that admin offices make their decisions based on sometimes preferences. I guess the question at heart is whether it is OK, that a lower GMAT can be explained with race, or social status. I think the answer is no.

    Minorities have a tougher time, in childhood, highschool, college, work; you name it. We know it is a bit harder for us; we don’t need to get into the causes. However, I think that we can achieve the same metrics that other groups are getting. It is a question of where the resources are being allocated.

    I don’t know whether people with 500 GMAT will be more valuable to the society than people with 750. I don’t know. I will not venture to tell you the opposite.

    What I know is that entrepreneurs don’t need an MBA, and a lot of CEOs do not have an MBA. So I am not sure that MBA programs would be the best path to reach these levels.

    What I also know is that all MBA programs have academics portions (sometimes graded) within them. You are asked to resolve statistics problems, accounting, finance, to remember the marketing tools, etc. If schools want more geniuses in their classes, it is really up to them.

    The key in business is at the end of the day to sell something (a service, product, or both) to someone else; therein you have a business with someone. Everything in between is really semantic. You can be a great investment banker, but if you have no clients you will not be making money. The same apply to consultants and other professions. You may need marketing gurus to sell you business, but at the end of the day, you need to sell something.

    We can discuss whether an MBA can make people good salesmen, or anything in between (bankers, consultants, marketing people, HR, operations people etc.), and there we would discuss the merit of the GMAT. It has nothing to do with race or social status.

    We can also have plenty of discussions around URMs and understand how great addition we are to the class, because we have a different background, but the same apply to the student from Pakistan or Indonesia. The fact that we are under represented is not because we are not being admitted fairly, but I think because we have not tackled the issues that would make us better candidates.

  • Bruce Vann

    I’m not sure we see it in the same light. I wouldn’t say that the admissions standards have a lot of hypocrisy though I understand Red Poet’s arguments. I just have a very positive view of programs like the Consortium and affirmative action in general.

  • Phoenix Rising

    Alex wrote “Are these classes even supposed to be representative of the demographic makeup of America? Heck, 30-40% of the students are international and these schools believe themselves to be global programs with required international experiences. Should they aspire to be representative of global demographic culture or at least proportionately representative of the demographic of business school applicants?”

    Others echoed similar views, and I agree. Why is it imperative that a top b-school be a slice of the american demographic. As shown above, the top b-schools are globally elite programs. They should contain globally elite students with no emphasis or consideration given to demographics.

    The idea that schools are turning down students with lower GPAs and GMATs that “could complete the program” is no surprise. I’m sure the NFL would turn me down even though I could execute plays. Why?? Because the NFL is looking for the best playmaker they can attract, and that is shown through empirical evidence. The same should be true of top b-schools. They should be selecting students that have empirically exhibited exceptional ability.

    After all, we don’t look at the NBA and complain that it isn’t representative of the population. Similarly, we don’t look at the Forbes’ list of billionaires and quip that the list isn’t representative of our society. Maybe we should put quotas on the wealthiest people, on athletes.

  • Phoenix Rising

    @ Johnnie Walker

    You speak the truth and it is refreshing to hear.

  • Mr. Williams

    It would be a smarter strategy to help more blacks get the scores to be more competitive than to beg the most prestigious programs in the world to lower their standards. That’s just not going to happen. And if it did, would it really solve the problem if the blacks in those programs were still looked down upon because everyone else knew they got in without cutting it? That doesn’t cure the bias, it perpetuates it. If blacks/hisp/NA are to be better represented than why not form an organization that helps them get the scores they need to show the world that they CAN cut it? That would get a lot more done.

  • Mr. Williams

     You probably just needed more repetition and studying. A lot of times minorities have a perception that whites and asians have some magical pixie dust when it comes to these tests. They don’t. They just have a different outlook on what needs to be done to be competitive; and they typically invest a lot of money and time (GMAT = give money and time) that many will never even admit to. Many times minority candidates will take the test once or twice after 30 day of studying and then feel like the test is biased against them. Meanwhile some white guy who went to Duke undergrad but/and is no smarter than you studies for 12 month straight, spends $2000 in classes and books, and makes a 750 on his 3rd try. NOTE: he’s not even smarter than you; but he realizes what many minorities don’t. Standardized tests can be mastered by anyone who goes at it long enough and diligently enough.

  • ICE

    I study racial achievement differences in one of the top10 Social Policy programs in the country. I want to stress the fact that the GMAT puts negatively stereotyped minority groups at a SYSTEMATIC(!!!) disadvantage. GMAT scores for black, Latino/a and American Indian students do not represent their true ability to the same degree as for Asian, whites, or Jewish Americans.

    The reason is called “Stereotype Threat,” a phenomenon discovered by Claude Steele who is dean at Stanford’s school of education. Stereotype Threat turns negative racist stereotypes into self-fulfilling prophecies by exposing students of negatively stereotyped minority groups to additional stress and diversion from the test situation. Psychologically, the negatively stereotyped student is aware of the negative stereotype and needs to disprove it in every test situation, which distracts from the competitive task itself and causes automatic underperformance.

    In other words: GMAT is NOT a fair measurement, but a systematic advantage for whites, Asians, Jews etc. who do not have to simultaneously fight against negative stereotypes about their intelligence while taking a test throughout their life!

    Schools who primarily rely on the GMAT do NOT get the best qualified students. They only get the best qualified among whites, Asians and Jews.

    Add the reality of high levels of racial segregation and underfunding of these de facto segregated black/Latino schools, which causes enormous differences in preparedness (not inert ability!!!!), and you have an educational system that systematically privileges whites, Asians and Jews, and systematically discriminates against blacks, Latinos/as and American Indians.

    Rankings need to take this into account and make racial/ethnic diversity a criterium of high ranking scores. That would make a real difference and positive change in this country!

  • Merchant of Truth

    What nonsense. The GMAT is taken by people in their 20s and up. If an adult cannot handle the “additional stress and diversion” of the GMAT (as you say), then perhaps he or she doesn’t have the leadership qualities needed for admission to a top B-School. You may have a case when you talk about teenagers taking the SAT, but not here.

  • Pinto

    What silliness. The truth is these types of posts actually hurt the very students you think have been dealt a rough hand by the test. I know of kids in China, India, S.Korea, Singapore, etc who spend 1.5 years studying for the GMAT, and then crush the exam. Many of those kids have never take a standardized test such as SATs etc prior to the GMAT. Moreover, english is a second language for several of them as well.

    Why can’t you just admit the basic truth — the harder you work the better you do. Why all this song and dance about racial bias, etc? Why? You are hurting those kids by posting these types of messages. The GMAT is the same exam for everyone. It’s taken by young professionals. When Latin Americans, Indians and Chinese students can crack the exam by studying and working hard, what’s the excuse?

    Of course the GMAT is not perfect and it does not claim as much. But what do you consider “true talent”? Will you decide who has true talent? Why do you, in an indirect way, demonize and marginalize Jews, Asians and others who work hard and do well in these exams. On what basis do you claim that they are not the best qualified? Does someone’s race alone make them more qualified?

    The future of education is unfortunately in the hands of people like you. You and your social agenda will wreak havoc on society and your social engineering gimmicks will have a negative impact in the long-run.

  • http://www.rishona.net/blog/ Shona

    Wow, I’m surprised by those averages (I’m an African-American & took the GMAT. Beat that average by more than 100 points…). However I wonder if it is a cost issue. For one, the GMAT was $250 when I took it. At that cost, I knew that I would only be taking it once, no matter what my score (fortunately for me, my score was enough to gain me admission into my desired program). And secondly, GMAT test preparation materials and courses can be pricey as well. Since average household income of African-Americans is much lower than average, it should come as no surprise if many African-American test takers opt to not utilize these resources in an effort to maximize their scores.

  • user

    John, any insights on how adcoms really orient themselves to applicants through this consortium? Scholarship and application $ aside, are there any benefits or negatives to applying this way? For example, do schools go through all the other applications first, then look at the consortium pile and pick a few to say the did, or are they looked at along with everyone else?

  • JohnAByrne

    Those are really great questions. I will put them to a bunch of adcoms and write a story on that.

  • user

    I’d really appreciate that.
    Thanks!

  • 02MBA

    The more important question here is whether achieving a high score on the GMAT after studying for 1.5 years makes you a more successful leader and business person. If a business school is supposed to be developing leaders, shouldn’t the market ask whether the GMAT is a true indicator of future ability and if not, why make it such a major factor in acceptance? I completed my MBA 11 years ago and I can say from experience that a high GMAT score doesn’t necessarily make you a better overall MBA student. In fact, if the GMAT were the only factor considered most American B-Schools would be filled with 100% Asians or Indians who score in the high 700s in many cases. If “acceptable” scores were set at a level where white Americans were being filtered out in large numbers, I highly doubt the concept would be as readily embraced and I suspect the importance of GMAT scores would be reduced considerably.

  • Think3x

    Your correct about tackling the problem at the source, but as the article states it has to do with “institutional wrongs.” Becoming a teacher is already an option for any BA recipient through programs like Teach for America; however, the “institutional wrong” is the defunding of education in predominately Black and Latino communities. In my experience, it is always useful to see how money impacts any situation. The data is available on any state’s website.

    Poverty, as well as the institutional and social structures in place that perpetuate the cycle of it, seems to be the main issue. Biased admission standards based upon a standardized test owned and administered by a private business is another layer of this structure.

    It would truly benefit society as a whole if each and every child was given a good education, so that we would truly be able to harness our best minds to further our society and be competitive on a global scale. It is baffling that there is not more diversity in top tier schools when the data shows we need diverse leadership to solve the problems of today’s marketplace. Business caters to all types of people and in order to cater to them you need leadership representing that.

  • Lady Los Angeles

    I agree 1000% with Peter Aranda in this Article! Is all true!! I am an African American and my family does not understand why an MBA? Waste of money, I am selfish, etc. While other races spent time fitting in growing up and using their brain to explore, read, have general exposure to greater things and learn from educated parents, I was stressed about financially making it to the next day, finding shelter, being teased and physically beaten at my high school because of being black while watching my mother stressed about gangs and my brother making it safely home as they kept trying to recruit him. You will NEVER KNOW unless you’ve been there or at least walked in my shoes. How I want more for myself but find the language on the GMAT is different from the verbiage I am familiar with growing up so I am scoring so poor yet I graduated Magna Cum Laude from a top university. How after college I knew no one in careers who could get me in because everyone I know is from my community so my work experience is sub par to white and Asian Americans. There are more factors against me than for me. He is right. It is hard and discouraging and finally someone is telling the TRUTH.

  • Albert Ellis

    Asian Americans are majorities at these schools and within industries. Certainly not underrepresented by any means anywhere

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