Grading B-Schools On Their Diversity Efforts

by John A. Byrne on

nicole-lindsay-team

Nicole Lindsay is founder of DiversityMBAPrep

Late last year, Nicole Lindsay was working as a consultant for an organization that wanted to strengthen its website’s diversity content. To prep for a brainstorm, she surfed through more than 175 websites, including those of 140 U.S.-based graduate business schools.

What Lindsay found surprised her. More than 80 of 140 (nearly 60%) of the business school websites failed to devote a single page devoted to diversity, nothing to encourage interest or applications from under-represented minorities or women.

She recalls that her first thought was ‘These schools don’t want diversity.’ “Maybe they would prefer to have more women and minorities given a choice, but they could exist without it,” says Lindsay, a Darden MBA who had once been in charge of diversity admissions and student affairs for the Yale School of Management. “Setting the quality of such a page aside, I felt that even a poor diversity page would acknowledge, at some level, that the school had a desire to engage women and under-represented minorities as students.”

GRADING THE SCHOOLS ON FOUR CATEGORIES

The result of that experience, following years of work in the diversity space, is a new report card that grades the top 56 U.S. business schools on diversity. Lindsay says she spent about eight weeks compiling the results of her study, called “The MBAdvantage Report,” and another four weeks writing the final report. The benchmarking study compares schools’ efforts, assigns letter grades to the schools, and makes recommendations on how they can improve.

Each school received an overall grade based on separate A to F grades in four key areas: web and social media, activities and outreach, school leadership, and diversity recruitment results. Though the grading was systematic, it also was by its very nature subjective–based on Lindsay’s assessment. She currently runs Stamford, Ct.-based DiversityMBAPrep, an initiative to increase gender and ethnic diversity at top MBA programs.

No doubt, Lindsay’s school report cards are likely to be highly controversial. Harvard Business School receives a grade of C from Lindsay, even though the school’s MBA program is headed by the first woman in its history. In fact, for diversity of school leadership, Harvard is given a lowly grade of D. Rivals Stanford Graduate School of Business and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School fare much better. Both schools earned B+ grades, but also received D grades on school leadership as well.

The only school to earn a grade of A+ in the study was Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management, garnering straight As in all four categories. Lindsay noted that Johnson’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion pages captured a strong sense of community, with “great pictures, content, and resources.” She found “excellent detail on ways for diverse candidates to connect with the school” along with “strong female representation among the Dean’s senior staff. One of the eleven schools with 20% or more women on its Advisory Council.” And when it came to actual results, she said Johnson displayed “excellent transparency with strong diversity recruitment results.”

A DOZEN OF 56 TOP U.S. SCHOOLS GOT A GRADES

All told, a dozen schools were awarded grades of A. They include Babson College, Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School, Chicago Booth, Duke University’s Fuqua School, Emory University’s Goizueta School, and UC-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business (see table for complete list on following page).

The only school to receive two F grades, in web and social media and school leadership was Boston College. Lindsay noted that BC’s Carroll School got the flunking grades largely for not making any diversity activities or outreach apparent on its website and for having a mission statement that failed to incorporate diversity.

Of the top 56 business schools, only half a dozen got either a grade of D or D+ for their overall diversity efforts: Boston College, Georgia Tech, Northeastern, Thunderbird School of Global Management, UC-Irvine’s Merage School, and the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina.

SOME IRONY IN THE D-GRADED RESULTS

In some cases, it’s ironic that some of these schools were singled out by Lindsay. The Moore School, for example, is one of the few business schools in the world endowed by a woman, Darla Moore. Georgia Institute of Technology’s Scheller College of Business is the only prominent business school whose dean, Steve Salbu. is openly gay. The percentage of female students at Wharton (42%), Harvard (40%) and Stanford (35%) exceed those at A+ Cornell (32%). Interestingly, the big three also appear to have a greater representation of minorities than Cornell. Wharton reports its “minority enrollment” at 28%, Harvard at 24% and Stanford at 20% versus a 14% number for “under-represented minorities” at Cornell.

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  • kking

    Poets & Quants should not publish such a crappy study. This is beneath you.

  • Andy

    hahah….silly study. I will be careful to avoid these schools with so-called high diversity rankings — which are nothing more than lowering admission standards to attract underrepresented minorities. Moreover, these schools spend enough time brain washing everyone about how great diversity is and how evil the white man is.

  • Danny

    I honestly don’t think diversity – as defined by “skin” color – adds any value to the MBA experience. There are lots of white folks who grew up poor (like me) and in a single parent home (like me) and were even on welfare and food stamps (like me). But somehow an affluent Latino or Black that went to Princeton or Stanford will enhance diversity, and some white guy that grew up poor will be discriminated against because he’s white. It’s stupid. Diversity should break the shackles of privilege.

    After b-schools accept all those rich and privileged white kids with hedge fund and legacy daddies, and those asian kids who are sons / daughters of doctors and engineers, and some blacks latinos and gays, the b-schools pat themselves on the back and send out the rejection letter to some white or asian kid that went to a state school, who didn’t have the connections but worked 2 jobs to support himself through college. No wonder there is resentment and opposition to affirmative action and legacy admissions.

  • Ben Loman

    Honestly, I prefer less diversity. I don’t want my b-school experience turning into a grand tour of Disney’s epcot center or some safari expedition into the wild.

  • JP

    The comments on this article are out of control and extremely offensive…and despite the writers’ obvious intentions, actually help build the case for a concerted effort to foster diversity. Simply amazing.

  • Phillyrocks402

    I’m 100% with you on this. Well said. I’m sick and tired of political correctness in this country. Let’s stand up and be counted.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=25503923 Bruce Vann

    WHile I agree with the lion’s share of what you said I beg to differ on a part. Racial diversity adds value but people tend to miss it. If for no other reason people cluster based on appearances and what’s familiar. That means each cluster will have a different culture. And these cultures coming together and having a conversation are what transforms MBA’s into well rounded managers. So while some affirmative action benefits rich Blacks and Latinos not all or even most does. I can say that from experience. Also, those who come from wealthy families are more likely to have GMAT’s, GPA’s and work experiences comparable or even better than the class as a whole. Just something to think about.

  • Anwar

    Ms. Nicole Lindsay — instead of wasting time with these types of meaningless rankings, why not address the real issues when it comes to diversity. Why are African Americans and Latinos scoring 40 or 50 points, on average, less that Whites and Asians? Surely, you cannot tell me the GMAT is culturally biased as Chinese students with very basic knowledge of English are able to study hard and do well.

    Why should schools go out of their way to reach out to URM? Let the students apply and let the best students be admitted regardless of race. Why should some special exemptions be made for some students? Diversity is just a moniker that is thrown around to cover-up actual discrimination. Why not end discrimination by ending all types of discrimination including affirmative action.

    Let us all compete on a level playing field.

  • SorryImNotSorry

    As a first-year, minority, b-school student at the above-mentioned Cornell, a lot of these comments strike me as ignorant. Diversity is not defined by skin-color; diversity means having different experiences, thoughts, backgrounds and ideas. In b-school it is important to have people from all walks of life to truly be able to foster a learning environment, especially considering that most of the “learning” in b-school comes from one’s classmates. I have classmates who have served as officers in the military (minority & not), who were professional dancers, fashionistas, a professional poker player, entrepreneurs and business people. As you see in the article, we have just 14% “minorities,” but we rank #1 in diversity because we welcome people from all backgrounds and foster a learning environment that is truly about inclusion of everybody.

    To address Andy, who seems to think that high diversity rankings equates to lowering admissions standards to attract under-represented minorities: My stats (GMAT & Undergrad GPA) are Cornell b-school average. Which, with a class size of 275, means 100-130 of my classmates had lower ‘stats’ than me upon being admitted, the majority of which must not be minorities (since we only have 14%). Now Danny is guessing I’m affluent and went to Princeton, but in reality I’m a first generation college student who started off at a community college before transferring to a state school, all while working and still having to take out loans. Moral of the story is that my fellow minority classmates and I are here because we earned it just as much as every other exceptional Cornell b-school student.

    Sorry, I’m not sorry.

    Great article.

  • hmmmm

    I don’t think you make a case against affirmative action, since you seem to have goten in without much help from it. Surely other minorities can do the same… Ohhh, and talking about offensive. To me and Danny the whole white privilege talk might be offensive, considering how it stereotypes all white males

  • Roger

    Cornell has a b-school? LOL.

    Nowadays everyone has a ranking for everything. The question is – will anyone pick Cornell over Wharton because Cornell has an A+ grade in diversity? I’m sure we know the answer to that question.

    As far as affirmative action goes, I’m sure there are two sides to the story. I’m opposed to both affirmative action and legacy admissions, but I also understand the ground realities and practical implications of both.

  • Roger

    Good on you!

    Your story makes a great case against affirmative action. it seems like you would have been accepted to any top program regardless of your race. Unfortunately many people won’t see it that way because of the presence of affirmative action; in this case it hurts you because your genuine accomplishments are clouded by AA.

    I also see a number of posts on this stream that are quite pessimistic about diversity. This should come as no surprise either because a well intentioned policy has been hijacked by university administrators for social engineering and agenda-driven purposes. It also highlights how average Americans feel about such issues and how out-of-touch university officials are with mainstream America.

  • Roger

    Good point and I agree with you. AA mostly helps poor minorities. But unfortunately it creates the impression in the minds of people like Danny who feel slighted by the system.

    The best solution is to make the MBA (and other undergrad and grad schools) admissions as transparent as possible. Transparency and openness will go a long way towards alleviating some of the concerns with the system. Far too much power is concentrated in the hands of university officials, especially in tax-payer-supported state schools.

  • Roger

    Ha! Epcot center is exactly what some b-schools have turned into. And unlike a top notch theme park, there is little or no assimilation or integration at these schools. The Latinos are in their groups..the African Americans in theirs…the Chinese and Indians in separate groups. The ‘good ole’ boys watching college football and drinking coors reminiscing their frat days from undergrad. The euros are playing soccer with each other. There is no real “international experience” in b-school. It’s a load of baloney. Schools are desperately trying to sell you a $100k experience, so they will load it up with all kinds of bells and whistles. If you want a truly international experience — you’re better off going to the Epcot Center.

    Cheers.

  • Roger

    JP, why do you find it offensive when all people are doing is simply expressing their opinions?

    Do you expect everyone to jump on the diversity bandwagon?

    Isn’t diversity all about “diverse” opinions? Or is diversity only about expressing opinions endorsed by JP? I hope you see the irony in your statement.

  • Roger

    Over simplistic statement. If admissions were purely based on “stats”, then the classes will be filled by Chinese and Indian students. Are you OK with that?

    I’ve met far too many conservatives who are all about “open and fair competition” – until they realize that such a system will dominated by Asians.

  • Barca

    Want real business school diversity? Step outside of the contiguous US and look at top European and Asian schools. Many of their business school classes are more than 90% international…some schools that come to mind: INSEAD, London Business School, IIM, CEIBS, IE, IESE, IMD, HKUST…no US business school even comes close to the diversity these schools bring. And by diversity, I mean primarily international diversity, which to me allows for amazing conversations and discussions inside and outside of class…

    Not going to comment on the racial diversity that people are arguing about…seems like a stupid discussion…no offense.

  • Orange1

    5…4…3…2…1, time for the Duke advocates to talk about how this survey is another indication of how well their school is doing. Seriously though, I think NYU Stern is the only top school that has a dean who is African-American. All the outreach in the world is not worth anything if the top rungs do not contain a diverse group.

  • Tim

    I agree with Danny. Skin color shouldn’t be a criteria.An American should be treated as an American. If you want to increase cultural diversity, increase international students. duh!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=25503923 Bruce Vann

    Sarcasm will never bring people into your view. Are you trying to understand and then be understood or are you just trying to talk at SorryImNotSorry?

  • YellowTalk

    Stern’s African-American dean is now at USC Marshall, actually.

  • NotABelowAvgMinority

    Very confused about why there is an assumption that minorities are only admitted under AA policies and always have lower grades and test scores. I’m a minority and had avg test scores and grades for my incoming class of 700. Even if every single one of my minority classmates had below avg stats (completely unrealistic), the number of non-minority students with below avg stats made up at least 75% of the below avg pool. So is it also called AA when non-minorities with below avg stats are admitted to these schools?

    And as another poster pointed out, if admissions were purely based on grades and test scores MBA classrooms would be filled almost exclusively with Asianengineering students.

    Moral of the story, it’s really arrogant to think that a minority with lower test scores or grades took your spot. There aren’t nearly enough minority students in these schools to justify that argument and that’s even if you assume that they all had below avg grades and test scores, which by the way, they don’t.

  • Lauren

    There are two main reasons why U.S. schools won’t ever match the rates of international diversity of the schools listed- 1) it’s harder for intl students to get student loans in the U.S. and 2) many require hb1 visas which the vast majority of U.S. employers are not willing to fund and bschools are loathe to admit “unemployable” students.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=25503923 Bruce Vann
  • Garth

    I completely disagree. How many truly “poor” minorities do you see at Ivy league schools? I would argue that AA “mostly” helps middle class minorities get into schools where they don’t necessarily belong. If a school can choose between a middle/upper class minority with a 650 on the GMAT / 3.6 GPA and a truly poor minority with a 550 GMAT / 2.9 GPA, the choice is probably simple. However, how well is even the minority with the 650 GMAT / 3.6 GPA going to fare when placed in a classroom with a bunch of rich kids with 750 GMAT / 4.0 GPA? While the minority may very well be smarter and more capable, she is simply not as well prepared for the task at hand. In a way the beneficiaries of AA are being set up for failure…

  • Chandler

    I don’t think any non-URM who was accepted to a top-tier school would feel slighted having answered an AA question on an application form. And, I don’t think any non-URM at a top-tier program would say that their URM peers didn’t deserve to be there.
    I think the general anti-AA sentiment comes from those who feel inadequate to the school they really want. They wish they could check that box because, they believe falsely, that that single identifier may push them into the accepted category.
    But, rather than improve the manageable qualities of their person, and their application, they complain about why they didn’t get in or what they think might get them in.
    Stop complaining. Improve the aspects you can – perhaps starting with your time management.

    -white male, avg tester, Johnson ’15 and proud to be joining a program that puts an emphasis on diversity and inclusion

  • Roger

    If what you are saying is true — then why does AA even exist? What’s the purpose of AA?

  • Roger

    Fair enough…but then why do we need AA? If you tell me everyone is equally qualified and capable – then why don’t you support a race blind admission process?
    What does AA accomplish? Surely, with other things being somewhat equal, race plays a role in the process. Why aren’t well accomplished minorities such as yourself in favor of a policy that makes race irrelevant.

  • MBARoadWarrior

    What does Gender accomplish? What about culture? From my experience top schools don’t just look for AA, but rather a diversity of experiences and culture. Some experiences are uniquely race based. Some are uniquely culture or gender based. Some are a blend. Those are important in adding to the breadth and depth of class room discussions and interactions. If you argue against one, then why not all?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=25503923 Bruce Vann

    She’ll be fine with a 650 and a 3.6. I know very few people with 750′s and 4.0′s anyway. To get through an MBA curriculum you only need a certain level of raw intellectual talent. The same is true to be a manager. After that level there is not much difference in the outcomes of people’s grades or careers. My guess is that level for the GMAT is the mid 600′s.

  • cheetarah1980

    Across the board business schools do not look for one standard to call someone qualified. There are some people who have exceptional academics, others who have amazing leadership experience, and a few who have just done some really interesting things. Affirmative Action is not a system that gives a pass to under qualified or less qualified minorities just to get some melanin in the classroom. The purpose is to adjust for inherent biases that often impact opportunities that minorities and women face. Many of these aren’t overt biases (i.e. active racism) but hidden ones that we often aren’t aware of (and everyone has them so it’s not an accusation).

    As NotABelowAvgMinority has said, this idea that Blacks and Latinos and women are coming to top MBA programs in droves and driving out their more qualified White male peers is a myth. There really aren’t that many in any top business school for that to be the case.

    And I have an example of how racial diversity does add to the class. One of the companies in Booth’s New Venture Challenge is launching a hair care line for natural African American hair types. This market is way underserved, growing, and willing to pay a premium for products. The business was conceived by several African American students. Whenever they pitch they are opening classmates’, professors’, and investors’ eyes to a large market that they wouldn’t even have known existed. Why would they? They don’t have naturally curly, kinky, afro hair. It’s racial diversity in the student body that’s exposing people to new businesses, products, and consumers and isn’t that what we’re all at school to gain in some respect? So when you ask what benefit does AA bring to top schools and why does diversity even matter, I’d point to these students and say, “That’s why.”

  • http://www.mbaover30.com/ MBA Over 30

    Another pink elephant with the issue is this farce of an idea that raw stats and certain experiences (e.g. working for Goldman in Shanghai) necessarily make someone a “smarter” or “better” candidate. At the highest levels of competition for top b-school admission, there are hordes of privileged applicants who either have juiced GMATs from spending thousands of dollars on exam prep or have been given access to certain employment opportunities based on privilege and network, not necessary more intelligence or ability. There are “URM” candidates who’ve had some of these trappings as well, but then their stats and resume are juiced as well and they could have gotten accepted anyway. Diversity measures allow schools to admit and matriculate applicants who are out of the loop on all of the above, but are just as smart and capable. When people scream “merit”, that they are really advocating is to continue the status quo of the advantages that privilege provides…which compounds throughout life, starting with well to do parents, the best of schools, global exposure, et al and somehow is called “merit” at adulthood as if it all “earned”; not so. Do all students from “over represented groups” fit into this scenario? Of course not. I have a white classmate at Wharton whose story is just as challenging as anyone I’ve every known and he is headed to Wharton Business School and HKS; but there are a hundreds of applicants who DO fit into this group each year–likely far more than all of the “URMs” combined (because this is their “world”)…and any conversation about “merit” and “fairness” that does not put at least as much scrutiny on their situation as that of a supposedly “under-qualified” URM is hypocritical lacks all credibility.

  • SternPride

    You’re talking about the dean “of student body” who went to USC. Dean Peter Henry is still the beloved dean of the Stern School of Business. Yeah, I know, they figured two African Americans running the school at the same time wasn’t too “diverse” either. Seriously, this ranking is flawed if it doesn’t include NYU, we have one of the highest percentages of URMs and LGBT. #justsayin

  • C

    Have any White or Asian male classmate who was a sales rep for a CPG?

  • http://twitter.com/mylesjrobinson Myles J. Robinson

    Really enjoyed reading this article, John. I wrote about this topic on my blog, “Mylestones” a couple months ago. As a rising junior at UNC and a pre-admitted student to the Kenan-Flagler Business School, I’m very dissatisfied with Business Schools saying they’re “committed” to diversity when many of them aren’t.

    Here’s the link to my post for those interested:

    https://mylesjrobinson.wordpress.com/2013/03/02/business-diversity-why-minorities-arent-rising-in-corporate-america/

  • cheetarah 1980

    I’m the only one I know of in my class. But every year my former company’s sales division sends people to top schools (Kellogg, HBS, Wharton, etc.). White, Asian, Black, male, female people are getting into the best schools. And I worked in the sales division but was far above a rep. That’s why the white and Asian males in my class who want to work in CPG brand management come to me for advice and networking.

  • Chris

    If you are the same person from gmat club, then I recall you got admits to a number of top schools. I also know you have posted quite a lot of useful stuff and have helped many students along the way.

    I agree that there are subtle types of discrimination that often negatively impact URMs. But do you honestly think that it’s not a huge advantage to be a black lgbt female (or male like MBAover30) over some boring vanilla white guy when it comes to admissions and scholarship?

    I’m happy for you and of course you more than deserve the success that has come your way as evidenced by the quality of your posts on gmat club and other websites. But I would hope that you would at least acknowledge that when it comes to MBA admissions it’s a huge advantage to be a black /lgbt / female and it’s in your best interest to support that policy – affirmative action (AA). As a white male, it’s not in my best interest to support AA, especially when I don’t have the privilege or the connections you and MBAover30 refer to. I’m not some rich liberal like Ted Keneddy’s grandson; I’m just an average guy looking to make something of myself in this world. And if you want to know how AA really works, let me explain. My uncle was a deputy chief in the fire department of a major US city (top 20). When it came time to pick the chief, he not only had the qualification and the experience, but also the highest test scores etc. He was passed over for an African American gentleman with significantly less experience and qualifications. The hire was purely based on affirmative action. As a result, the best man did NOT get the job. This is how affirmative action works in the real world and this is how it impacts middle class families.

  • cheetarah1980

    Chris, yes I am the same person from GMAT Club. I’m glad you’ve found my posts helpful. I know how stressful the admissions process is and I honestly do want to see people succeed. There is no one happier than me to hear about anyone’s admit.
    I want to clarify that I am not lgbt. I couldn’t quite tell if you’d gotten my profile mixed up or were just adding that in a diversity group in general. As you already acknowledged I earned the success that has come my way because of what I have done, not because of some ovaries and melanin. I didn’t just send in a blank application with a picture of myself and schools just opened up the doors to me. I am not saying that you’re suggesting that, but many of these posts are along those lines (in regard to URMs in general). I will readily acknowledge that being a black female helped me stand out in the applicant pool. I will never deny that. However, if being a black female is all it took then I would have gotten into Stanford too (or at least invited to interview). The merit I brought to the table wasn’t the merit they were looking for, so be it. You don’t see me coming on here accusing a rich white guy whose father simply made a call for him of taking my rightful spot. I didn’t have a rightful spot anywhere because none of us are entitled to be admitted to any of these schools. I got into the schools I did because I put together great applications that told a cohesive story, had excellent work experience that admissions committees knew would add to the class (and it has since many of my classmates come to me for my industry expertise), and offered up a unique but realistic career goal. My value to the class would be the same if I was 20 shades paler and had a Y chromosome. It just so happens the school gets an added diversity bonus from me because I’m black and female (which in and of itself DOES offer a different perspective…and not of the ghetto story variety).

    Privilege goes so far beyond having money and most of it is unearned and unnoticed so that you would not call it as such. AA is meant to correct for that. Just as easily as you can cite your uncle, I can cite my father who works as a government scientist. He has always been a top civil service exam scorer and has more degrees than his peers. Yet he has been passed over for promotion in favor of younger, white coworkers time and time again. Yet when that white guy gets a job over my father no one questions his qualifications in comparison to my dad’s. If you look at senior management in the US across any sector you couldn’t possibly with a straight face claim that scores of URMs and women are moving ahead at the expense of their white male counterparts. Even with AA, it’s still mostly business as usual.

  • http://www.mbaover30.com/ MBA Over 30

    It works both ways. My mother turned around an F school in the worst neighborhood in our city (that had the least engaged parents) to a B as graded by the state of Florida by revitalizing the curriculum and holding Saturday math and writing workshops for the bottom 20% of students in just 2 years; then she opened a new school with a grade of an “A” and it remained an A….until she left and hasn’t been since. Meanwhile, two whites with less education (she has 2 masters degrees and is 3/4 done with a doctorate) and not nearly as stellar of a record of performance were promoted to area superintendents before she was due to the gold ole’ boy’s network. Not to mention that white women are the primary benefactors of affirmative action. That’s how “my” middle class family was affected. It is what it is. What I do know, however, is that talented people who consistent display extraordinary performances ultimately prevail, regardless of what advantages they have or don’t have. I’ll assume that you fit into that; and if so, I’m sure you’ll be extraordinarily successful regardless of what minor setbacks you have along the way, just like I’ll be more than fine at Wharton regardless of getting dinged by Stanford. Ultimately, excellence wins out in the end; and those who commit to it won’t be held back from success, even though they may not being successful at winning every battle along the way. URMs catch the brunt of the backlash on this because we are the easiest and most visible targets; I assure you, however, that we aren’t even a near plurality (let alone the majority) of people who get an extra bump in admissions. Ivy League grads get an extra bump, even though they don’t have to submit proof that they’re actually smarter than the poor white (or black, or asian or otherwise) applicant who went to Third Rate State U. MBB/Bulge Bracket alums get an extra bump, even though most of the people who are intelligent enough to have been their competition for those jobs didn’t even know they existed or where/how to apply. Internationals get a bump by right of the geography where they were born. Here’s the thing, I get your point on this, but if you aren’t just as outraged as the kid of the rich alumnus, the person who could afford to drop $10k on GMAT and admissions consultant help, the child of the head of XYZ ministry from country Q, the person from the small rural town in Montana (where virtually no URMs even live) and everyone else who gets a “leg up” in this process, then it is intellectually dishonest to single out one group of people get such a break. All of these schools are full of people who got extra points during the admissions process for one reason or another that had nothing to do with them being proven to be better or smarter than the next applicant; its how the world works…which is also why so many people compete for spots at a small hand full of selective schools…it will give them a “bump” elsewhere in life (Sheryl Sandberg, anyone?–who I love to death BTW)–and I haven’t seen any of them apologize for the automatic leg (or legs) up that they have been granted by sheer virtue of membership; so don’t expect us to.

  • http://www.mbaover30.com/ MBA Over 30

    Isn’t it hilarious how people scream against the notion of “unfair advantage” and cry for “absolute merit” when most of the reason they are even applying to HSWMBK, etc is to get such an unfair advantage??? Totally dishonest.

  • http://twitter.com/MBAminority Nicole Lindsay

    Hi Anwar – thanks for your comment. I am the author of the MBAdvantage Report. My report at its core is about recruiting. I wanted to develop a more systematic way for business schools to approach their efforts to recruit and retain candidates. Women and particularly minorities are grossly under-represented in MBA programs, and this is my area of expertise, so this is where I focused. But the underlying analysis would be the same for any group – for example if a school wanted to recruit more candidates from a certain professional such as education or the military.

    I disagree with you – diversity is not discrimination. I actually think it’s the opposite. Diversity efforts are designed to bring the best of the best to the table to compete. For example, women have made up more than 50% of college graduates for the last 20 years and still today make up less than 32% of MBA students. In working with young professionals and MBA candidates over the last ten years, it’s clear to me that business schools are missing out on tremendous talent by not being proactive enough in their outreach. I expect that you, like me when I was an MBA student, want to be in class with the most talented and capable peers who are going to incredibly successful. I’m suggesting that currently business schools aren’t capturing that all of that talent and all students are missing out because it. Getting the best of the best will result in more women in MBA programs and frankly increase the competition and the quality of the candidate pool.

    Thanks.

    Nicole Lindsay
    @mbaminority

  • http://twitter.com/MBAminority Nicole Lindsay

    Great response, cheetarah1980.

    While the data is not completely clear (and in my report I ask schools to be more transparent), in my estimation there are less than 700 Black, Hispanic and Native American students out of the more than 12,500 MBA students at the 56 top business schools I assessed.

    Nicole Lindsay
    @mbaminority

  • JP

    Roger, to use the defense that someone’s opinion should not be offensive is nonsensical. Do you think referring to a b-school with a diverse population as “Epcot centre” or a “safari” as a compliment?

    And at no point did I jump on the diversity bandwagon either. I have my own views about it that I did not share.

    Racism is not a “diverse opnion”; offensive, ignorant, destructive, superior, negative, sure…but not “diverse”.

    And as I said before, those kinds of comments are actually the reason why schools have to make concerted efforts to facilitate diversity.

  • JP

    Well I think cheetarah1980 and MBAOver30 have said all that need be said on the topic. Extremely well articulated points with valid examples.
    I think the main problem seems to be people’s belief that AA is somehow a hinderance to those not covered by it (white males). That has to be impossible because the URM stats for the schools would be much higher.
    And to believe that a URM with lower application stats (GMAT/GPA) got in over a white male with higher application stats simply because they were of a certain race, implies that you don’t really know how these schools operate. As cheetarah and MBAOver30 pointed out previously, its a combination of application stats AND experience. The package needs to compliment what the school is looking for.

  • JP

    Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University is in the top 15 of every major ranking.

    So yeah…it has a b-school.

  • OutInTheWorld

    Here is the reality of AA. It is an insidious program that places minorities in schools in which they are under-qualified, even if only slightly. Well, if flunking out of Harvard meant more than graduating from Ohio State, that would be fine. But it’s not and so we have not increased the percentage of minority graduates with AA.

    And when you get hired, you will be assumed to be less competent (i.e, you made it through AA) until you prove otherwise. You’ll have to work harder early in your career, due to AA.

  • UrNotSorryIfSystemIsntAgainstU

    I go to Johnson and the topic of diversity is extremely polarizing, but people afraid to speak out strongly. I am a minority too, but Asian, and it is obvious that “average” numbers were not enough to get people like me in. My classmate brought up the different backgrounds of some people in are class, the reality is that most people, minority or not, come from a traditional finance and business-type background. Our admissions committee is not diverse as well, and it shows in our student body. I will be very careful how I phrase this: there seems to be an overemphasis on women and URMs in terms of outreach and opportunities at Johnson. Almost everything from scholarships, leadership programs, and other extracurricular opportunities smells of quota-ing.

    Don’t get me wrong, everyone is still friends with each other because we’re a smaller school. It does not befit a school like Johnson to play favorites when you have other groups, who are still legitimately minorities, held to seemingly different standards.

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