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.”

 

  • Arthur Dullsworthy

    Don’t tempt me.

  • Bruce Vann

    “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.”

    This has gotta exclude asians from “minorities” in order to be that low. At least that’s my guess.

    This is an interesting subject partially because it’s so contraversial. Look. Arthur’s already tempted.

  • John

    Lol @ Authur! The GMAT and GPA are indicators for success at schools such as Columbia. Havard and Standford attract naturally smart people and leaders. I think the difference is that Havard and Standford pick PEOPLE…which is why they they produce great leaders.
    That said, b schools in general need to emphasize non numerical attributes for minorities to gain entry…needless to say, minorities have to prove that they can do well in school, and the GMAT is the unfortunately, the sift!

  • Fellow

    The quote that stands out out for me is “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.”

    Very well said!

  • Alex

    Aranda says he’s not arguing for quotas but he wants schools to discount the only true objective measures on the MBA application? That makes no sense. Absolutely we should work to help underrepresented minorities place higher emphasis on education and be more successful academically but I don’t think the schools should lower their standards for the sake of diversity. It also strikes me as strange that this article uses the term minority exclusive of asians. I’m pretty sure that asians feel the social stigmas of being a minority but since they are overrepresented in academia their ethnicity actually hurts their chances of gaining admissions as well which also doesn’t strike me as equitable.

  • Fellow

    Sigh. I have to disagree with you Alex.

    “Absolutely we should work to help underrepresented minorities place higher emphasis on education and be more successful academically”

    – Work to help the poor minorities place a higher emphasis on education? Really? Education vs. the ability to test well are two separate factors. I believe the GMAT would say they are not parallel. Many minorities are successful academically, but fail to test well. Should they be penalized, no. In fact – Caucasians and Asians who don’t test well should not be penalized.

  • gr8

    The funny thing is that some of the schools that support the Consortium are doing exactly what the Consortium leader says is wrong about the system. Quite a few schools in the Consortium are GMAT and GPA whores.

  • NCM

    As someone who has been waitlisted and dinged because of the GMAT, i agree with the article. I am an African American woman and the GMAT has been my struggle. I have accomplished so much professionally and academically however the GMAT has been a roadblock for me to pursue an MBA. I would also urge Aranda to address this same issue with the consortium schools as i have been waitlisted for having a 570 on the GMAT. A school like Tuck has waitlisted me and have stated because of this. I would have hoped Tuck being a consortium school would have given me a chance since i have the quantitative abilities but the verbal portion has been Achilles.

  • Bruce

    Alex, while I recognize your point about the exclusion of asians from being deemed “minorities” but I disagree about not discounting the GMAT. The way that the percentiles for this test have changed in the past 16 or so years mean that just about all of those who apply to these schools can master the material. It’s not rocket science though it’s not a cake walk either.

    Also, I don’t believe that standardized tests are so predictive for some peoples. For instance, I got an average SAT score in high school because I didn’t know what all of the fuss was about the test and took I it with no preparation and poor advice. The test predicted that I would only perform near the middle but I kicked butt and graduated with honors and now I’m about to go to a top business school through the Consortium Fellowship mentioned in this article.

    The thing about being one of the URM’s is that we’re often times not around those who try to excel. I can’t tell you how many smart black kids are bored to death in elementary school and slack the rest of the way. The half way smart ones seem like over achievers among their circles but to others they might seem like a slacker. It’s not really that they’re a slacker it’s that they’re often times green to playing the game on that level. So that’s worth considering in addition to the raw numbers. And I would argue that if we were to have the same bar for this standardized test at the grad school juncture then we would have to raise the bar of expectation at every juncture up to that point. Unfortunately, that’s not happening so if a kid is lucky enough to grow up in a two parent household that demands good performance from the child then he’s likely to outperform the one who didn’t have those luxuries even as an adult.

    I said all that to say this. We’ve gotta consider more than test scores and GPA’s.

  • Frustrated

    I wholeheartedly agree with this article. I am a Hispanic (Mexican) woman who is deemed “B-school” material by all the MBAs I’ve ever worked with and networked with. Yet, my GMAT score is well below average and as it stands not a single top business school would accept me.

  • Alex

    Hi Fellow,

    My comment about helping minorities place higher-emphasis on education was in response to the comment about these under represented minorities having low GPAs. GPAs are the result of 4 years worth of undergrad and reflect how consistently you have been able to succeed in an academic environment. If the article was criticizing merely a standardized test, I would not have as much of a problem with it.

  • Alex

    Bruce, thanks for sharing your perspective. However, is it the responsibility of elite institutions of learning to shoulder the societal burden of a culture that encourages smart black kids to slack off and not reach as high as they otherwise might? While it is an extremely important issue that needs to be addressed, are those kids more worthy to be admitted to a certain school based on this theoretical cultural upbringing? I’ve known black kids who have grown up in extreme comfort. Should schools assume they have lived a challenging life because of their ethnicity and deserve a pass? What about the Asian/European/(insert any ethnicity) child who has lived a hard life yet was able to succeed academically despite it yet comes from an overrepresented demographic?

    Standardize tests exist because there is a stronger correlation with academic success tied to those results than most other indicators yet I completely agree that they do not even closely reveal the true potential of an individual. I performed well on my SAT’s, did well in undergrad, performed well on my GMAT, and expect to do well when I enter business school later this fall. The tests were predictive for me but I understand that this is correlation not causality.

    I guess I am troubled when I read these things because as an Asian-American who grew up in a struggling blue collar family, I like to believe that I can own my accomplishments. I think that my black/hispanic/native american classmates are there because they are exceptional individuals (personally, academically, and on tests) who deserve to be there and their accomplishments should not be lessened by the suspicion of affirmative action.

  • Fellow

    Thanks for the clarification. However, I think we are really focusing on the GMAT. Most of the minorites I know who applied to business school this year have over 3.3 GPAs, but lower GMAT scores.

  • Random

    I cringe every time I see an article discussing this topic. Not because of the content, but mostly because of the comments that are sure to follow at the end of the article.

    As a minority applicant who has just completed the MBA application process, I think that looking at avg. GMAT schools for each Race is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many other factors beyond Race that contribute to lower avg. GMAT scores and I believe that is the point Aranda is trying to make.

    ““It doesn’t mean we have addressed all of the past wrongs that our society imposed on these groups of Americans.”

    However, in my opinion, the Harvard’s, Stanford’s & Wharton’s of the world will never have to look beyond those GMAT scores because they get the top 5% of GMAT test takers in each Racial category anyway. This is a trend that will continue and will remain unchanged until there is a shift in attitude towards “educational metrics” such as the GMAT at the top schools.

    I was successfully able to get into 5 top 25 B-Schools (including 2 top ten schools) and here is my advice on the GMAT for future Minority applicants…….Focus on getting the highest score possible…….Nothing else matters.

    Most people don’t care about the social and educational obstacles that minority applicants face in the journey to business school. You will have to get over it, and get a high GMAT score to compete anyway. Its not fair, but like most things for us as minorities, “It’s life.” It’s a sad truth…

  • 1st Year

    This is a ridiculous article. I’m a 1st year MBA student at a top 5 business school with average GMAT in the 700s. I’m happy to have such intelligent students as my classmates and future network. Can a person with a 570 be intelligent? Yes. But a person with a mid 700s GMAT score is almost certainly intelligent. All of the students I’ve met with 750+ are extremely bright – with no exception.

    I disagree with the ‘social’ mission of business schools. Business schools are setup to train future business leaders in all sectors of society. These students will address the most difficult challenges of the next 50 years. Therefore, we need the most capable people taking on these challenges. If my school routinely started admitting people with 570s – I simply wouldn’t go here. I want to be surrounded by the best and highest potential classmates. And yes, GMAT and GPA are somewhat indicative of that.

    I hope that the average GMAT / GPA of business schools continues to rise as business schools produce more high quality applicants in the years to come so that they can address the world’s most difficult business problems.

  • MBA2013

    To 1st year,
    And to actually think you are supposed to be the next leader of society, your thoughts are amazing. I disagree about GMAT being an indictive of how intelligent one is. Your comments come of somewhat arrogant, I’m sorry but business schools also look at other factors. That is why some students get rejected with 700 + scores or perfect GPA ,s. I know of 2 students who did well on the gmat and are now having a hard time coping at booth, esp with stats and accounting classes. To the point the prof suggested to the student to drop the class and retake the next quarter. Since this students are supposed to be intelligent, and actually got 700 plus on the gmat, why are they having such a hard time?
    Please understand the reasons why this article was written. Until society corrects the wrongdoings from the past, this will always be a contreversial point.

  • Jennifer

    The GMAT whoring is absolutely true. B-Schools nowadays will let in a person who has a 740 with average essays and recommendations, instead of a person with a 650 with outstanding essays and recommendations. Why? Because essays and recommendations don’t factor into rankings, but GMAT scores do! And that’s the key, because I think Aranda was even being generous with the 570. These types of things are happening with minorities scoring in the 600s. It’s ridiculous and sad.

    It’s highly likely that I will end up either not getting into b-school this year, or not getting any financial help to attend because of this. Yet I am well above average in my GMAT score, just not the near perfect 700+.

  • Bruce

    1st Year, you didn’t explicitly say what you found to be ridiculous about the article. I actually think that the article is pretty reasonable. It doesn’t take a position for or against the issue. It just states the facts and quotes. I think it would be ridiculous for it to convey opinion as fact but it doesn’t do that.

    And Alex, thanks for stating position in a civil way. I sincerely appreciate it because this is one of those wedge topics that people generally feel very strongly about. You asked me 3 or 4 questions. I’ll try to answer them.

    “However, is it the responsibility of elite institutions of learning to shoulder the societal burden of a culture that encourages smart black kids to slack off and not reach as high as they otherwise might?” I’d say yes. Obviously, conventional methods haven’t worked out so well and all business schools want to develop leaders for society. That sounds like it’s reasonable for the schools then to shoulder a societal burden when educating these leaders. In fact, many blame the Great Recession on business schools not training leaders to consider and share the burdens of society.

    “While it is an extremely important issue that needs to be addressed, are those kids more worthy to be admitted to a certain school based on this theoretical cultural upbringing?” In some cases, yes. You need all sorts of experiences to get the most out of classroom discussion and the childhood upbringing of the kid from Holly Grove is just as important as the one who vacationed in Martha’s Vineyard every summer. We solve problems by learning from one another.

    “I’ve known black kids who have grown up in extreme comfort. Should schools assume they have lived a challenging life because of their ethnicity and deserve a pass? What about the Asian/European/(insert any ethnicity) child who has lived a hard life yet was able to succeed academically despite it yet comes from an overrepresented demographic?” This is where you and I will most likely agree. I’ve heard it said that affirmative action more often than intended ends up helping the offspring of minorities that have already made it into the upper middle class. And there is absolutely no doubt that people of different colors often times have similar struggles. I think that the total person should be considered so those experiences can build valuable character in anyone black, white, japanese, or pakistani. However, a disproportionate percentage of black children are born into economically disadvantageous situations. I’m not making this up. In America 35.4% of black kids are raised in households below the poverty line. Do you know how low the poverty line is? It’s low. For Hispanics it’s 33.1%. Guess what it is for asians? 13.1%. And for whites? 11.9%. Here’s my source so that you don’t think I’m pulling this out of my butt.

    http://www.npc.umich.edu/poverty/

    Which MBA’s will be better prepared to use business to solve society’s problems- the ones who learned about problems experienced and explained by their classmates or the ones who never had their paradigms challenged by their classmates? Obviously, I think that diversity is one of the most important elements in any education… not just racial but all sorts for diversity.

  • dragoon

    This thread is slipping from a discussion on the cost of diversity to bitter GMAT bashing. Harvard gets over 9,000 applications a year for less than 1,000 spots. They can’t let in everyone with great recommendations and great academic and work records–they don’t have the space. The GMAT is a necessary to way to limit that pool, and it’s not something that can be trumped up by the applicant like creative resume construction and generous recommendations can.

    No doubt folks with 650s can do fine. I don’t think anyone can argue against that effectively. The interview with the head of Stanford Admissions on this site even quotes him as saying that if Stanford really wanted to raise its GMAT ranking, it could. No doubt. Harvard and Stanford could probably both pump on up to an average of 750… I’m sure they have a wide enough applicant pool to do that.

    But they don’t. Go on beatthegmat.com. It’s full of “I got a 760 and was turned away from all the top five schools” stories. I get it, it’s rough having a low score and getting turned away from bschool for it, but it’s an effect that’s even more pronounced among law and medical schools which care less, if at all, about your work experience.

  • Alex

    Thanks Bruce for your thoughts. I don’t dispute your numbers at all and I do agree that affirmative action probably disproportionately helps those under represented minorities who come from more affluent backgrounds. This is an extremely important topic and I’m glad we can have a good dialog about it.

    The challenge is that for the adcoms of the various b-schools, they only have limited amount of information from which to determine the merit of a particular individual? The evaluation is genuinely supposed to be holistic but at the end of the day, since the process is need-blind, how can the schools genuinely know for sure how a person was raised? While essays and interviews can help convey some of the background information of an applicant, the adcoms also are responsible to ensure that the students they admit can be successful in an extremely rigorous academic environment. To that effect, for right or wrong, the GPA and GMAT are their only tools they have to determine learning capacity. Do you have any suggestions on a better way to understand this learning potential by individuals in an equitable manner?

    Oh and on this very topic, I just watched “Waiting for Superman” the other day with my wife and we were really angered to see how broken our educational system is. However, starting from the top (elite business schools) is sort of hoping for some trickle down effect rather than dealing with the root cause of the issues. The irony of this is that if you look at corporate america, there are a disproportionate number of african american executives compared to the number of asian american executives because of diversity initiatives that largely discount asians as minorities that need support. The asian american community is both helped and hampered by the myth of the “model minority” and I’d argue that the corporate ceiling that they need to break through is more challenging than for an underrepresented minority. Asians are stereotyped as passive, analytical, respectful, etc. but those qualities carry the undertones that lead to the assumption that they do not have the capacity to be great strategic leaders that can inspire others. It’s a double edged sword that unfortunately I do not have an answer for.

    I do value diversity and it is one of the large reasons that I am going back to school. I look forward to learning from classmates who have diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, experiences, etc. They will make my experience all the richer. While 1st year probably did not say it in the most delicate manner, I do know that for the school I will be attending (HBS), the diversity is not at the expense of the quality of the classroom and my experience will be all the richer for it. It’s a tough balance and while I’m supportive of the Consortium and think their work is needed, I also feel that a minority candidate with low GPA/GMAT would have stronger odds of not being able to succeed academically than one with high GPA/GMAT scores. I know this article is referencing the broader MBA landscape (beyond the top schools), but I would be curious to see what the minority enrollment numbers are at these top schools relative to both the US population and the global population. Also interesting would be to understand the percentage of applicants from various ethnic groups that are admitted from those who apply to business school. Is it really a bias owned by the schools or is it selection bias based on which demographics tend to want to attend graduate schools?

  • Rebecca

    “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.”

    A bit of a flaw here: that 28% is the minority percentage in the US, and I’m assuming that is only of US citizens. Since 100% of US citizens are US citizens and only about 60-70% of MBA candidates in top-tier US schools are US citizens, you’d want to compare the % of US minorities as a percentage of US students to see a similar distribution at b-schools.

    So if you take the 28% expected times the average US % at b-schools you get a number closer to 17-20% expected minority breakdown. Obviously we still have work to do considering the attendee rate of 6% is a third of that which we would expect given a random sampling of demographics.

  • 1st Year

    I understand why the article was written but keep in mind that many feel the same as me – we want to work and study with the highest caliber students. My views may come across as arrogant but I am simply saying that from personal experience, the students I’ve met with high GMATs and GPAs are highly capable individuals while the ones with low GMATs and GPAs are variable in quality. Some are solid, some aren’t. These days, it’s in fashion to discredit the GMAT and to a lesser extent GPA but I feel that they are 2 important metrics that need due consideration. Obviously, other criteria are highly important, but GMAT and GPA matter. Many firms will ask about these metrics in the interview process, and some will find out through other means.

    What do I find ‘ridiculous’ about the article? Firstly, ridiculous may have been too strong of a word, a better word may have been contraversial. In any case, it would be this statement:

    “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.”

    I believe the competitive forces are more important than the social responsibility forces. Secondly, I disagree that schools don’t do much outreach with younger people. Mine does to a large extent. Thirdly, I am happy that schools are setup and run as for-profits. I worked in non-profit before business school and I believe that non-profits should be run like for-profits to be more effective.

    Instead of lowering the bar and accepting people with 570s on their GMATs (these students, by the way, will not find it easy to integrate into the school and make teams if they are significantly below other students – again speaking from my observations), the key is to somehow raise the average GMAT scores and GPA of the minorities in question so they come in on equal footing with the rest of the students. Otherwise, they will be (and unfortunately are) viewed differently even though they are in the same school.

  • 1st Year

    Random, while we’re on the subject of ‘fairness’, tell me how ‘fair’ it is that non-minorities need to be on the high end of the GMAT range 720+ in order to be considered competitive for admission? You state that:

    “here is my advice on the GMAT for future Minority applicants…….Focus on getting the highest score possible…….Nothing else matters.

    Most people don’t care about the social and educational obstacles that minority applicants face in the journey to business school. You will have to get over it, and get a high GMAT score to compete anyway. Its not fair, but like most things for us as minorities, “It’s life.” It’s a sad truth…”

    Well, all applicants need to ‘focus on getting the highest score possible’, not just minorities. Secondly, just because someone is not a ‘minority’, it does not mean that they haven’t had their own difficult journey to get to business school.

  • Spearhead

    Strongly disagree with this quote

    “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.”

    As a hispanic-American, I’ll tell you what I see as extremely racist: Truly believing that the African American and Hispanic population are doomed to always score lower on standardized tests. As if their IQ and intelligence/capacity to learn is lower. I don’t care what race you are, if you want to be a leader, then learn to act like one!
    I have little sympathy for the individuals whose applications were great, but they were waitlisted or dinged because of a low GMAT. The first time I took the GMAT I scored a 510, but I studied, re-took it, studied some more, retook it…finally after months of hard studying I scored a 700 and I was admitted to several top tier schools.
    Leaders find a way to make it happen. No matter what color their skin.

  • http://poetsandquants.com/members/msshona/ Rishona Campbell

    @Bruce, your comments are great! I’m right with you.

    In regards to the GMAT and admissions tricks…well I do not have so much to say regarding that. I am not privy to the ins and outs of the Top-Tier MBA programs because I myself am not in such a program. I also was not interested in such programs (for me…they are just way too expensive). However I do have some thoughts regarding standardized tests and academic achievement among minorities in general.

    I would consider myself to be a smart person. My IQ test scores between 127-132 when I take it…so I am not a genius. I did very well in primary and secondary school; and was classified as “gifted” ever since the second grade. However I did not get the best grades in college. Why? Because I went from living at home…having my family support me…to being in college where I went to school full-time, had a work study job AND worked at the a 24-hr K-Mart until 2am. Why my peers were going on Spring Break I was working away trying to get enough money to pay off my tuition bill and get my books. The stress and pressure were constant. Also 4+ years of undergraduate work is a long time. You get discouraged with the expense AND you get very little encouragement from your family…who never went to college and just don’t “get it”.

    So many tools and resources such as AP classes, SAT/GMAT prep, etc were not available to me due to money. Basically if it was not free or less than $50, it was off limits. My entire post-secondary career, I have always worked in addition to my studies. Even now, I would full-time, commute 2-hours for work, and take 6 graduate credits year round. More than once I have fallen asleep with my laptop on my lap…struggling to get those last few lines out for my paper.

    Do I think we need to make excuses for people? No of course not. However when discussing minorities and academics, we are not comparing apples to apples here….it’s more like apples to tomatoes. We are in two different classes. What I am curious of (although it’s pure theory) that if the most intelligent studious HBS student was raised and lived my life and in my low-income family, I wonder just how they would have done?

  • John Welker

    Where to start?

    I am African American.

    I don’t think that people like Aranda are making a service to URMs. Now, I got admitted into a top 10 business school. I have only 2 yrs work of experience. Everyone I meet thinks I got there because, sigh, I am black.

    The funny thing is my GMAT is 750+, my GPA was 3.5 while I was working at school. And I went to a top 10 (per business week) Business School undergraduate. Most importantly, I started a foundation while in College that is still active now, whom many board members are college professors- white.

    So, here it is, everyone from other students, to probable employers, must be saying that I will attend school because I am black. GMAT is just an indicator at B-school, but if a group is admitted with let say 80 pts below average, it will show; and that will be a great disservice.

    My 2 cents.

  • Rebecca Black

    @Rishona Campbell: Sounds like you’re describing a problem with socio-economic status, not minority status. I realize they’re related, but if we’re going to find a solution, perhaps we should focus on the problem. Does a minority applicant from an upper-middle class background deserve the same “look pass” on poor grades/GMAT as someone from a poor background? Doesn’t a non-minority from a poor background deserve some help too?

    Or is the problem that collegiate institutions and the GMAT are systematically bias against minorities? I’m curious as to what your thoughts are.

  • Food for thought

    I tend to disagree with the premise of this article. When assembling a class, the admissions officers have 2 goals: to find the most qualified applicants in the pool and to shape a diverse, well-rounded student body. In doing so, the applicants grouped into majorities (whether it by work experience, race, or gender) are at a disadvantage when it comes to GMAT scores and GPAs. For example, a white male investment banker will likely need to have a 740+ and a 3.5+ from a top university to be competitive at a top school. On the other hand, a Latin-American female with non-profit experience may be competitive with a a 650 and a 3.0. Both of these applicants are likely to bring different perspectives to the classroom and have the potential to be valuable in furthering the development of their peers.

    I believe that the true issue is supply and demand, not a GMAT bias. For example, not as many females apply as males and not as many Latin-Americans and African-Americans apply as white, Indian, or Asian.

    I would be interested to see three data points that would go a long way in clearing up the issue at hand:

    1) GMAT scores of accepted applicants by majority and minority groups (including majorities by work experience and gender, not just race)
    2) % of minority applicants compared to the overall applicant pool
    3) acceptance rate of minority applicants as compared to the average acceptance rate

    It’s my hypothesis that if a study could be conducted based on the stats above, you would find that business schools ARE making an effort to attract and admit minority applicants.

  • Argento

    First I want to say that I’m Latin American, I studied engineering a college that’s academically better than any US one, scored a 700+ and have accomplished many things, including extra-curricular ones. So I’m well above average, and very fortunate too I must say, but I still lived the mentioned struggle. So I’ll give you my opinion.
    I don’t think it’s a racism issue (I’m not saying that racism does not exist in the mentioned schools either) I think it is believing objectivity exists in education. Some may think the result of a standardized test shows clear results on how apt someone may be, because they are objective, everyone gets “the same” test and is tested on the same concepts, etc. But is the way the test is made objective, are the level of the questions, the concepts to be tested too? I don’t think so. I’ve seen very successful people get excellent grades in college and no so impressive ones be it too, or even more. I agree that tests are good at some point but I think the famous holistic approach every BS praised they use should be really used. Because a person is more that just a number. A lot of emphasise is put in success, what is success? Do we really know? Is there an objective measure of success? Is Carlos Slim more successful than Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, George Soros, Mahatma Gandhi or Mother Theresa? If the final results we desire to obtain aren’t really objective, then why are objective measures so important?
    Many people, various from these schools, are saying a countries success shouldn’t be measured by GDP because it has been shown that it is not really a good representative of it. An index of happiness they suggest, can anyone define happiness in 5 secs? I don’t think so, but we all know what it is, and we all know what success is. The GMAT is the BS’s GDP, it shows results, not potential, not effort, not capability…
    Deans should keep this in mind if they really want to make a lasting change in how they educate future businessmen, starting at the selection process.
    I don’t think quotas or anything like that are the solution, though the could help, a lot. The solution is making education something that the everyone can get if they show the potential and the will to turn it into a success story, into giving their best. If they do this, by changing some paradigms, then things will straighten themselves. But If they don’t, well the negative opinion some people have about BS will be at least justified. I don’t think it has never been so easy, at any time in history, to change the way things are, to change the world for the best… the opportunity is there, let’s hope they and we all take it.

  • mba2013

    Spearhead,

    As someone who was waitlisted and even rejected from my schools because of my GMAT score, i find your remarks very arrogant. Good job you were able to pull up your score. Excellent! While remember that studies and data show that minorities are on the lower end when it comes to standardized testing. It’s a fact, look at the numbers. The best thing to do is to try and find out the reasons behind the low test scores.

    While my undergraduate life was like Rishona Campbell, I worked full time to pay for my undergraduate school. I attended school full time and worked full time. I came from an extremely poor background. To add injury i was not able to qualify for student loans. I slept on the floor of a 400 square feet studio while attending college. I survived on bread and soup and some days i had a glass of milk. I was one step away from living on the streets and eating from the garbage bin. That is how thick things were. But i persevered and i came out a stronger person. I graduated with a high GPA a double major in finance and math from a high ranked school here in the US. Through this experience, i was able to give back to the community with a couple of friends to start a scholarship fund for struggling students.

    I volunteer at this after school program for high school students. These students are really dedicated. They come with the aim to learn and get assistance for their assignments. The school system is terrible. I mean the students can’t add without a calculator. They get promoted to the next grade even after producing mediocre work. Obviously the students are eager to learn, but what’s wrong with the picture if there are so behind? Do the teachers focus so much on teaching how to pass standardized tests?( because we all know, that is how their work is graded) Now if a child cannot afford a better education but is eager to learn, should they be penalized in the long run? It’s a tough question to answer.

    Like random said, i also do cringe every time i see this discussion, because i know the comments coming after are just ugly.

    Let’s remember everyone has a different background and upbringing, like R Campbell asked, i am also curious of (although it’s pure theory) that if the most intelligent studious HBS student were raised and lived my life and in my low-income family, I wonder just how they would have done?

    While i didn’t grow up taking standardized tests and the English that i learnt growing up is different from the US English, i would like to think if i had the opportunity to have a better grade and high school education i would be at a better place and with excellent standardized. Scores. I have the drive to do well. Speaking of leadership spearhead, i was nominated to attend various leadership programs for the company i worked for while i attended school. Yes, so people can have great leadership skills, but may not test well in standardize testing.

    We can say the same thing for Wall Street folks right now. I mean they are partially responsible for the economy right now as it stands. We all know that Wall Street hires the best from the best, usually elite individuals from top tier schools. Is it accurate to say that this folks have no leadership skills because of what has happened? If that’s the case how does the GMAT then correlate to leadership potential?

    I think that before anyone points fingers around; ask yourself if i had a different upbringing would i be at a different place today?
    I think one of the greatest assets great leaders have is self- awareness.

    I have little sympathy for the individuals whose applications were great, but they were waitlisted or dinged because of a low GMAT. The first time I took the GMAT I scored a 510, but I studied, re-took it,

    We all know that after studying and taking the test again, you may or not be able to improve. While i took a Manhattan GMAT class and a private tutor, i have not been able to pull up my score. The verbal part of the test carries a huge weight on one’s overall score and thus after a couple of attempts, i have decided to move on from the test.

  • With Spearhead

    mba2013,

    Spearhead is not being arrogant. He is simply conveying the message candidly.

    The reality is that the marketplace rewards prestige brand MBAs disproportionately when compared to their competition. Thus, get an MBA from one of those schools. The logic is simple, indifferent, and brutal.

    As a fellow minority coming from very humble beginnings, I appreciate the details of your journey. But, in the classroom and competing against your peers at these schools, a person’s trials and tribulations only add value to the extent that you can clearly demonstrate you have the interpersonal AND technical skills to do the job as well as the dominant culture.

    More often than not, people do care about where you come from and how they can help. But, when you are vying for great positions at great companies, there still needs to be a standard. The marketplaces does what it does: rewards the best and the brightest. So, be one of the people in that category.

  • mba2013

    by the way – With Spearhead i work for a very highly regarded company , General electric, i have been with them for a long time, including promotions and leadership opportunities. So Yes i am intelligent,I graduated with honors and i know i am. I am MORE than the standardized test. Whereas i have had a unique journey, i hate it when people point fingers without really getting to know the background of an individual. Everyone has their own unique journey, and that is fine with the business schools, BTW some great schools have admitted me, based on what i have accomplished. So yes i am in the brightest of the bunch, otherwise i would not even have completed my college and furthermore, i have received numerous awards for doing a great job.

  • http://poetsandquants.com/members/dc3828102/ Xilcilus

    Rather than complain about the unfairness of the current situation, why not attend business schools that cater to the people who do not perform well in exams?

    Or you can attain success as a C-level executive without an MBA and apply to business schools. Even with 570, I think you will be considered an enticing enough applicant to secure a spot at most top schools.

    MBA is a way to accomplish your goal. Not the only way.

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

    The idea that a 730 GMAT makes you smart as opposed to a well-trained test taker is amusing. If anyone can walk into a test center and pound out a 730 without test prep, okay, you are brilliant. Otherwise … you are a well-trained test taker.

    What a great test score might make you is arrogant, though — and unable to realize how socially unaware you are, by assigning a deeper importance to your test score than is warranted. It might also blind you to the fact that people who don’t have access to the resources that you do, or have not been exposed to those resources as you have been, are no less intelligent than you are — though the test score that you might lord over them might make you feel that way. Truth is, many ignorant people in this world have high test scores and prestigious degrees.

    Who is more brilliant: The person who was able to afford the resources, and had access to the resources, to achieve a high test score, or someone who manage to thrive in life despite many obstacles that would have (and do) claim lesser people? Unfortunately, US News doesn’t account for that very real form of intelligence because it would turn off their core audience — which is largely MBA applicants who see their self-worth reflected in the name on their degree (and the job that they think will result from that degree), and the schools that are very happy to charge them exhorbitant fees for that “privilege” (meant figuratively and literally).

    Also: An MBA may not be the only way to accomplish a goal, but if your goal is to work for a bulge bracket, and bulge brackets only hire from certain schools … and please don’t tell me that you’re not smart enough to work for a top Wall Street firm if you can’t break a 700. A lot of genuises up there have been hard at work collapsing our economy these past few years, so please.

  • http://poetsandquants.com/members/rockzom/ Patrick

    Ever considered that one reason some people score lower than average on certain tests is they evaluate their abilities unrealistically and don’t prepare sufficiently?

    For instance, if I took the MCAT, I would score well below average. I have a very limited science background. My decision? Don’t take the MCAT. If I really want to be a doctor, too bad – that’s the breaks.

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

    Another reason why a person might score lower than average could be that a person grew up in an environment where they never experienced the support structures that others may have received over the course of decades. Usually that idea is scoffed at by people who benefit the most from the status quo, but it is a reality.

    I finished in the top 10 percent of my high school class, but while my peers were pushed to apply to Yale and Harvard, not a single counselor or teacher or administrator in my school explained to me my options, or showed me how to apply for financial aid, or how to prepare for the SAT; nor did my parents. So if I was “unprepared” for certain things in my educational career, it surely wasn’t because I wasn’t intellectually able to handle them (in fact, I earned enough AP credits to enter college as a sophomore).

    This experience, at least in the black community, is not an exception — it is the NORM. This is why I have little patience for people being told that they’re not good enough to succeed in certain schools because they didn’t hit a target that’s a superficial construct of success to begin with. How did successful doctors and lawyers and businessmen ever exist in this country in the days before the MCAT, the LSAT, and the GMAT?

    If we were being honest, we would just explain to certain populations that we have no real interest in them becoming successful in certain professions — or, at the very least, that we don’t prioritize their success in those professions. Many in our society are conditioned to believe that if a person jumps over the bar that’s been set with these tests, only then are they worthy of access to top professional schools. If not, they should just go away and dig ditches or something while we enjoy the benefits of the professions that we “deserve” and have “earned”. To drive the point home, we are okay with the top schools charging $200,000 for access, just in case the message wasn’t received about who “belongs” and who doesn’t. And if a person doesn’t like this, they can go to a school that “better suits them,” so to speak, as someone suggested.

    Interesting.

  • Highsmith

    Um, GPAs and GMATs are not affected by race. If you can’t cut numbers competitive enough for the top schools, then you have no one but yourself to blame. Even as an URM myself, I do not want any artificial bump due to my ethnicity. Shame on you to those who can’t break the 600 mark and still think there is something wrong with the system.

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

    Shame on you for missing the point, but keep patting yourself on the back.

  • John Welker

    @Redpoet

    So if I am following your logic, minorities in college should have their GPA bumped by let say 0.25? I mean you really want to reflect their struggle in their GPA.
    Also, minorities in Highschool need to bypass some requirements such as maths or college level calculus, AP classes are not for minorities?

    Look, it is very true that minorities- me included- have suffered more during our upbringing. I had to work full-time at WalMart while going to College. I thank god everyday that no teacher I had in College was kind to me because I had to work 40+ hours a week and study while the other kids had the entire time to study. These struggles make us stronger, we don’t want free-passes.

    All that you explained for the GMAT could be applied to anyone. It is a question of applying what you learned. If you can apply it, you will do well in the GMAT, if you can’t you won’t do well.

  • Random

    I knew that the comments to follow would make me cringe…

    Based on my experiences, the divide on this topic will always exist due to “Exposure.” You only know what you are exposed to.

    Those who grew up with the necessary resources to perform well in school and on standardized tests will never be able to understand why H/S/W should ever “lower their standards.”

    The same goes for students who grew up without a strong support system. They will say that the schools place too much of an emphasis on standardized tests scores.

    The truth lies somewhere in the middle.

    As a student who overcame many social and educational obstacles in order to gain admission into a Top-10 B-School, I feel that I am qualified to speak on this subject than most. I’ve seen both sides. My high school sent 10% of its graduating class to college (Class of 250 students). Only roughly half of those college bound students went to a four-year institution. My standardized tests score, while they were the highest in the school, only put me in the 50 percentiles. I wasn’t in an environment that prepared me to compete with the rest of the nation.

    Why do I bring up this experience? Because while studying for the GMAT in Barnes and Noble for nearly 8 months, I was surrounded by parents who brought their kids in every day to study for the SAT. It was at these moments where I truly noticed the divide in how others were raised. Up until that point, I never knew how much of a dis-advantage I was up against.

    Like it or not the GMAT is a speed test that tests you on the basics and fundamentals of math and verbal. Simply “studying harder” is not a solution for you if did not receive

    This topic will always bring out the worst in people, not because of racism or arrogance, but because most don’t have both sides of the story.

    “History is always written by the winners.”

    At the end of the day, the question that Aranda poses is not should B-Schools accept lower quality students…That is not his argument…His argument is should B-Schools place too much of an emphasis on standardized test scores, given that it is known that the playing field is not level?

    Take a look at this report posted by GMAC. Test scores by race, gender, major, etc.

    Going strictly by the statistics, B-Schools will have to accept students with lower GMAT scores if they seek diversity. But at what cost to their US News/BW/FT/Econ. rankings? That is Aranda’s argument.

    http://www.gmac.com/NR/rdonlyres/68C9D07F-14A9-4113-8E41-081D9E422702/0/GMAT2010PrintedProfile_online.pdf

    Until a student from the southside of Chicago can receive the same type of education from his/her public school that another student from rural NJ receives from his/her public school, the B-Schools will have to dig deeper than just GMAT scores if they wish to promote the idea of “Diversity” that they seek.

  • Alex

    “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.”

    So how is the Consortinum determining who to give out scholarships to and is their process any different than what MBA programs use? They look at GPA, GMAT, and an essay. They are using the same flawed methodology to provide funding to underrepresented minorities that they are criticizing the MBA programs of using to determine admits.

    My problem with all of this is that no one is proposing any answers. Okay, the GMAT sucks and society hasn’t properly educated some segments of our minority students. What should these business schools be doing to address this? Does simply letting minorities in with lower GMATs/GPAs fix this issue? They’re currently letting in minorities with high GMATs/GPAs. Should they not be doing this?

  • Bruce Vann

    @Johnny Welker,please show me where Red Poet claimed a .25 bump to GPA. I don’t see it.
    @Rishona, thanks. I’m glad that we see eye to eye.
    @1st Year, you said
    “I understand why the article was written but keep in mind that many feel the same as me – we want to work and study with the highest caliber students. My views may come across as arrogant but I am simply saying that from personal experience, the students I’ve met with high GMATs and GPAs are highly capable individuals while the ones with low GMATs and GPAs are variable in quality. Some are solid, some aren’t. These days, it’s in fashion to discredit the GMAT and to a lesser extent GPA but I feel that they are 2 important metrics that need due consideration. Obviously, other criteria are highly important, but GMAT and GPA matter. Many firms will ask about these metrics in the interview process, and some will find out through other means.”
    Your views don’t come across as arrogant in the sense of an offensive attitude of superiority. But they do come across as arrogant according to its other meaning- attributing exaggerated worth. I’m not saying that the GMAT doesn’t matter or that we should ignore it because of “the struggle.” I’m saying that you attribute way too much worth to it. HBS didn’t even consider the test for a long time and the average GMAT for Tuck in the 1980’s was like a 650 or so. It’s just a test and the way that you talk about it, it matters more than your actual grades in school which measure whether or not the student learned anything useful to the employer. I have no qualms with using GPA to compare applicants and prospective students but not the GMAT so much. Beyond a certain point it just doesn’t matter that you’re 20 points higher than the next guy. What matters is that you can manage and lead people to a certain desired result.
    You say that you and other students want to work and study with the highest caliber students. That’s great. But I have two issues with it. 1) You said yourself that some students with lower GPA’s and GMAT’s are “solid.” I think that this article is arguing that schools should give these students a chance. Are you arguing that the schools get rid of the solid as well as the not so solid for the even more solid (where the solidity of the student is quantifiably measured in GMAT and GPA figures)? I’d disagree. People aren’t numbers and statistics. They’re people. 2) You want to work with the highest caliber students… I want Bria Myles… and people in hell want ice water. Life is full of disappointments. 
    “I believe the competitive forces are more important than the social responsibility forces.” I wouldn’t make an overly generalized statement like that. In my head this reads “I believe that the forces are more important than the people.” That’s precisely the attitude that caused the oil spill. And wherever you work you wouldn’t tell your customers, “We value the market forces more than we value you but you should still trust us. ”
    My point is that I certainly believe that we all (b-schools included) have a level of social responsibility (and not just when people are looking but more importantly when no one notices). Persons who weigh all stakeholders in their decisions or at least appear to do so are more trusted as leaders in society. The actual level of social responsibility is debatable but it’s still needed in every part of society- especially those parts that are supposed to produce leaders.
    @Alex
    I agree with a decent amount of what you said. However, I don’t know about this statement.
    “The irony of this is that if you look at corporate america, there are a disproportionate number of african american executives compared to the number of asian american executives because of diversity initiatives that largely discount asians as minorities that need support.” I’ve searched the internet for figures but found it hard to find anything useful to prove or disprove this statement. It doesn’t pass my sniff test though and I’ll respectfully tell you why. I don’t doubt that you don’t see as many Asians in the boardroom as blacks but I don’t think it’s because of these diversity initiatives. I think it’s for a couple of reasons. 1) Asians are much much much more likely to become entrepreneurs than black people- probably even more so than any people. I’ve lived in 3 places in where blacks out numbered Asians significantly but asian-owned businesses outnumbered black-owned ones significantly. If a person runs their own business then why should they be in someone else’s boardroom? 2) I think that Asians tend to skew to medical school and other scientific degree programs than other races. I know that a few years ago 20% of all med students were asian in this country and Asians don’t make up anywhere close to that in the general population. If I find the numbers to prove my hunch then I’ll share them but that’s just my hunch.
    You also said “The asian american community is both helped and hampered by the myth of the “model minority” and I’d argue that the corporate ceiling that they need to break through is more challenging than for an underrepresented minority. Asians are stereotyped as passive, analytical, respectful, etc. but those qualities carry the undertones that lead to the assumption that they do not have the capacity to be great strategic leaders that can inspire others. It’s a double edged sword that unfortunately I do not have an answer for.” I actually agree with you here. I think that the stereotypes do harm Asians. I don’t know if it’s harder for them than for URM’s but I can definitely see that as being a real barrier.
    @ Rebecca, thanks for making that point about Aranda’s argument. You asked Rishonna some questions. I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t butt in on such an interesting topic.
    “Does a minority applicant from an upper-middle class background deserve the same “look pass” on poor grades/GMAT as someone from a poor background?” Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t think it’s what a person deserves that’s the question. I think it’s more along the lines of “what does society deserve?” and sometimes I think it deserves a “look pass” as you put it.
    “Doesn’t a non-minority from a poor background deserve some help too?” Same point as above. Technically, yes. But life isn’t really a meritocracy.
    “Or is the problem that collegiate institutions and the GMAT are systematically bias against minorities?” This is a good one. I either one is systematically bias against minorities. However, I would say that for a long time “the system” has been systematically against minorities in aggregate terms. The GMAT is 100% color blind.

  • Bruce Vann

    @Alex, what do you propose? It’s easy to point to problems and ask questions which I think is why all of us have been doing so. The truth is that this problem is far too large and complex with too many factors to propose one solution.

    Sidenote: You make a great point about the Consortium using those metrics to provide scholarships. :) I laughed when I read it because what can anyone say? “Don’t weigh the test scores to heavily when handing out scholarships!!” lol

  • Alex

    Thanks Bruce once again for your thoughtful responses. As far as African American executives vs. Asian American executives, that is something I’ve observed working in several fortune 500 CPG companies and it’s an often discussed topic within our various diversity networks. Perhaps it is due to Asians’ interests in technical fields and entrepreneurship but its hard to say.

    As for what I propose? I don’t really have an answer for this. I look at the school I’m attending and our class is 22% US ethnic minorities and 36% international students. I would argue that having over 50 percent of your class made up of minorities and international students is pretty darn diverse. Granted we are talking about one of the top schools so they do have their pick of the high achieving minorities in any demographic.

    I’m always okay with discounting standardized testing in the weighing of an application but then is the GPA and/or undergrad institution the objective tie breaker for two equally qualified minority candidates?

    I guess I don’t really grasp the problem. Are MBAs not accepting enough minorities across the board? The top school I mentioned seems to be taking a lot of us. Are not enough underrepresented minorities applying and are they being rejected at a higher rate than other ethnic groups? Since the article doesn’t provide the specific details on what the perceived problem is, it just comes across as race baiting to a certain extent by inferring some sort of institutional bias that may or may not exist.

  • Random

    Just to clear something up…The B-Schools hand out the Consortium scholarships. If you get a Consortium fellowship from Tuck (or any other Consortium) its because they decided to give you $$$ from their scholarship funds.

    The Consortium is just a vehicle to apply to the member schools and become eligible for a fellowship from a member school provided they get accepted and the member school wishes to award a fellowship.

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

    @JohnnyWelker: I refer you to @BruceVann’s comment.

    To all, a general thought: If you don’t have a 4.2 GPA, or a GMAT in the range of 750-800, do you really deserve to go to Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, Chicago, Berkeley, etc over someone else who fits these criteria?

    If your answer is yes, how do you conclude that, if scores matter?

    If your answer is no, are you still applying to one of these schools anyway? Why?

    Couldn’t schools like Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, etc just fill up their classes each and every year with bulge bracket and Google alum sporting 3.8’s and 4.0’s and racking up 750s and higher? Why don’t they?

    I’m willing to bet that there are people in this discussion, and who may be reading this, who don’t have 3.8s and 750s, but are applying to Harvard or Stanford or other top-10 b-schools, because they believe that they DO belong there, despite having lesser scores and not as prestigious a professional background. They believe that there is something else in their makeup that qualifies them.

    Are these people wrong?

    If you said yes, and you happen to be one of these “wrong people,” how do you justify this apparent contradiction?

    I think that there is a reasonable answer to this question. As far as providing a solution for building more inclusive b-school classes, I think it would be worthwhile for schools to pursue and put more weight on that reasonable explanation, than on someone’s ability to solve a fraction 30 seconds faster on average than someone else can.

    But what makes me mad is when someone who knows they probably don’t have the highest numbers in an application class makes such a fiercesome case for why numbers matter so much. If you have a 690 or a 700, and you’re going up against people with 730s and 750s, and you’re making the case that numbers deserve such attention in the application process, you are stuffed full of it.

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

    Perhaps “solve a fraction” wasn’t the best example of a math problem, but you get the gist of what I mean, no? :)

  • John Welker

    @ Bruce Vann

    I think you saw I was making an analogy. He never said it.

    Anyway here are my issues:
    1- If we as minorities understand that we are doing worse off than the majority in these standardized tests, don’t you guys think we should find a way to prepare better? Free GMAT course for example.

    2- MBA classes are more diverse than the *real world. 40% are international, 15% are hispanic/blacks, 20% are indian/SE asians, and 25% are whites. It doesn’t look like we are talking about the ol’boys club anymore

    3- I agree that the upbringing of URM makes it more difficult to get a spot in these school. If 20 years ago 650 GMAT was good enough, and now you need 720, well, this is the new world, thing has changed; wherein my first point, URM need more GMAT free classes.

    4- Finally, you don’t need a top MBA to succeed. There aplenty of them, and I am sure all their students did just fine. Begging is not what’s important, it is what you do with what you have.

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

    Real quick, here is an idea that proposes a happy medium. What do you think?

    a) Top school X comes out and lets it be known that from now on, 650 (let’s say) is our cutoff. If you do not have a 650, you will not go here — doesn’t matter if you’re a legacy’s daughter or a donor’s son. 650 is a firm cutoff.

    b) Once you hit or surpass 650, the GMAT stops being a factor in your admission. Now other factors are examined. Classwork, leadership potential through athletics or community service, military service, and professional experience are considered.

    c) Fellowships are awarded using the GMAT score as an important percentage of the total metric. So while someone with a 650 got in, as did you with a 730, you with the 730 get a big fellowship, while the 650 is taking out loans, and receives a smaller award, if any.

    And the award of any fellowship or scholarship money is means-tested. If your family makes $1 million a year, and you have a 730, you are paying for Top School X. If your family makes $70,000 or less a year (we can argue the cutoff), and you have a 730, you’re probably getting it all paid for.

    You give people a shot to get in who have lower test scores, but other significant things to offer. You incentivize and reward higher test scores by offering fellowships. It’s not a perfect system, but I think it’s better than what we have now.

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

    Also @JohnnyWalker: Begging? Who’s begging?

    Is a legacy admit with lower test scores a beggar?

  • 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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