A NEW EMPHASIS ON STUDENT DIVERSITY AT STANFORD GSB
Moss says she has focused on increasing the diversity of Stanford’s MBA population on multiple dimensions (see chart on following page). U.S. students of color comprise 37% of the total class or 47% of U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Among the U.S. citizens and permanent residents in the Class of 2022, 212 identify as White; 92, Asian American; 39, Hispanic or Latino; 31, Black or African American; and 6, Native American or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander.
Stanford produced a new graphic to portray the diversity of its class. The graphic (see above) gets beyond the more narrow definition of ethnic origin to show how many students have multiple identities. Under Federal guideline reporting, for example, the percentage of Asian Americans in the class is 23%, but the multi-identity number is four percentage points higher at 27%. “Federal guidelines mask the true richness of the student body,” explains Moss. “We were determined to be more transparent and break it down for the MBA program. Underrepresented minorities have multiple identities, and this multi-race bucket is rather large.”
Moss says the school’s ultimate goal is to enroll a class that is more reflective of the diversity of society. “I’ve heard our dean say that we hope that in the future the company founders, the investors, the c-level executives will really mirror the communities that we are all a part of. What I am trying to do is find individuals who have shown extraordinary leadership potential and bring them into the class. There is no timeline on that. Let’s go out and reach people who may not have thought about us.”
GSB HAS DOUBLED ATTENDANCE TO ITS DIVERSITY DAYS
Wil Torres, assistant director of outreach for diversity at the GSB, says the school has significantly leverage students and identity clubs to reach a broader and more diverse pool of applicants. “A lot of the initiatives and efforts are chats and info sessions by our veterans, our Black Student Association or our Hispanic Business Student Association,” he says. “It really has been a community-level effort to support students on campus and how they can help create the community they want.”
Torres says the school has doubled its attendance for Diversity Days and built an email list of 35,000 individuals who now subscribe to the GSB’s diversity blog. “For us, it’s all about how to increase the top of the funnel,” says Moss. “This is driving huge eyeballs to our site and it translates into applications.” A recent admissions fireside chat, she notes, attracted more than 1,000 registered users.
The school prevented the loss of many admits outside the U.S. by keeping close tabs on them through the summer months. With a generous deferral policy in place for international candidates, Stanford made class size more difficult to manage. “This was the riskiest number to land for the class,” acknowledges Moss. “Not one student who needed a visa had one by the end of July. By mid-July, most of them had to give up their leases and quit their jobs and even though we believed the embassies would begin to open up it just didn’t seem fair not to give them multiple choices. It is very risky to the class when you have an open deferral policy. Our international students gave us data on what they would like to do. All of the international students surveyed themselves in a richer way, and we worked together to find out what would serve them best.”
‘HUNDREDS OF COFFEE CHATS TURN INTO THOUSANDS OF TOUCHPOINTS’
Those outreach efforts allowed Moss and her admissions team to accurately assess who would ultimately defer and who would come. “We could predict it. We did a small survey but the students had many more sessions with admits. We had an incredibly clear picture of what would happen. At this point, we only have a handful of students who are Zooming in and who will join us in the winter. ”
She attributed the school’s ability to retain its high percentage of women in the class to years of effort. “Way back 20 years ago, driving women’s numbers and URM numbers were critical,” adds Moss, “but no one admissions director or one diversity director could do it alone. It has to be hundreds of coffees which turn into thousands of touchpoints. It is like a wildfire where each spark connects to the rest.”