Making The Most Of Business School

How To Convey Diversity Effectively In An MBA Application

Modern b-schools strive to be inclusive and accepting institutions. Today, admissions officers seek more than just high GPAs and test scores. They seek diversity.

Ilana Kowarski, a reporter at US News, recently wrote about how MBA applicants can highlight diversity in their applications.

The Value of Diversity

A number of admissions officers cite diversity as the main proponent behind providing a well-rounded learning environment.

“At business schools, we know that diversity is extremely important in the classroom to provide a real-world experience,” Jay Bryant, director of graduate recruitment and admissions with the Rady School of Management at the University of California—San Diego, tells US News.

Whitney Kestner, director of admissions with the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, says teaching techniques, like the case study, are most effective when they can draw from a diverse student body.

“When these people come together and discuss these cases, just incredible learning opportunities abound,” Kestner tells US News.

In addition to lively class discussions, diversity has become a reality in the global world, according to Accepted – an admissions blog.

“The more diverse perspectives found in the classroom, throughout the dorms, in the dining halls, and mixed into study groups, the richer the discussions will be and the more creative the teams will become. Plus, learning and growing in this multicultural environment will prepare students for working in our increasingly multicultural and global world.”

Showing Diversity In Your Application

Highlighting your diverse background is crucial in an MBA application, but experts say there are right ways to do it and wrong ways.

Rather than simply stating your background as a minority, experts say applicants should put their background into the context of how they overcame adversity.

“It’s important to put their diversity in context of what makes them unique and makes them a better candidate and not just mention it as… checking a box,” Shaun Carver, assistant dean of graduate programs with the Rady School of Management at UCSD, tells US News.

Generally, the admissions essay, short-answer question response, or the optional essay are key areas to mention your diverse background. Framing your story around a couple of these key questions, according to Accepted, will be beneficial in conveying a strong story.

“Your answer for the diversity question should focus on how your experiences have built your empathy for others, your resilience, your character, and your ideas. WHO are you? WHAT have you done? HOW do you think? These elements will serve as the framework for your essay.”

Lyneir Richardson, executive director of the Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development at Rutgers Business School in New Jersey, says another area to mention diversity issues is in the admissions interview.

“Therefore, you should express that you have a viewpoint and perspective that – if admitted – you will share with your classmates (and that you’re open to learning from others),” Richardson tells US News. “Make it clear, because of some element of your background, that you are confident and will be able to understand, survive and adjust to the environment and pace of the school.”

Sources: US News, Accepted



Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.