GMAC Paints Vivid Picture Of The Changing Face Of Biz Ed


U.S. Race/Ethnicity

The U.S. population is changing rapidly — in short, it’s getting more racially diverse. The U.S. millennial generation — those between 21 and 37 years old — is now 44% non-white, compared with just 32% of all those older than millennials. It should come as no surprise, then, that higher-education attainment is on the rise for both black and Hispanic people, with black bachelor’s attainment increasing 29% in the last decade and Hispanic bachelor’s attainment more than doubling in the same period.

Ten years ago, black U.S. citizens comprised 8.5% of GMAT test takers, while Hispanic students were only 5.9%. Since then, the share of black GMAT examinees has actually shrunk, to 8.3% of the total in the U.S. — while the proportion of Hispanic test takers has surged to 9.2%, an increase of 56%. Meanwhile the post-graduation numbers continue to lag for both groups, with black and Hispanic professionals continuing to be underrepresented populations (URPs) in managerial and executive-level positions: Black professionals account for 4.1% of chief executives in the U.S., and Hispanics account for 6.2%.

“In the context of an overall U.S. candidate pipeline that’s been flat to down for a number of years, these deficits in representation of non-white candidates are particularly troubling because enrollment projections suggest these populations are where future domestic business school recruitment opportunities will be most abundant,” GMAC reports.

According to GMAC, “black and Hispanic candidates predominantly send their GMAT score reports to MBA programs. The top three largest states for black GMAT exams taken are New York, Texas, and Georgia, and the three largest states for Hispanic GMAT exams taken are Texas, California, and Florida. URP candidates tend to consider GME later in their educational and career journeys and are more cost sensitive compared with non-URP candidates, as cost of the program is the most often cited potential barrier to the pursuit of GME among black (60%) and Hispanic (66%) candidates. URP candidates tend to rely more on grants, fellowships, scholarships, and support from parents to finance their degree than U.S. non-URP candidates, and URP candidates are more likely than U.S. non-URP candidates to consider less expensive alternatives to GME, including professional certifications (37%) and/or graduate certificate programs through a university (24%).”

What kind of school culture are URP candidates seeking? One that is collaborative with a team emphasis in a small, close-knit classroom setting. (See table below.) They also want “a rigorous, academically focused, interdisciplinary education centered around case studies, with flexible curricular options.”

URP candidates go to business school because they are primarily planning careers in consulting, technology, and financial services, GMAC reports, and are more interested than non-URP candidates in working in government, media/entertainment, and professional services; they also are interested in marketing/advertising/brand management, human resources, and information technology/data science roles. “In choosing a job,” Hazenbush and Schoenfeld write, “URP candidates are more likely than non-URP candidates to say it’s important that it be high-paying, provide job security, offer the ability to take off time for family or childcare needs, and help society.”

See Poets&Quants’ Coverage of Minorities at the Top 25 U.S. MBA Programs

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