Emory MBA Program Launches Pioneering New DEI Concentration

Emory University Goizueta Business School has announced a new DEI concentration in both its 1- and 2-year MBA programs

Late last month, Karen Sedatole, interim dean for the Goizueta Business School at Emory University in Atlanta, shared her new year’s resolutions with Poets&Quants readers, with special emphasis on the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion — and a vow that Goizueta will continue to prioritize DEI in its programming and curriculum.

“2021 has been a year of change,” Sedatole writes, “in some ways more than we could have anticipated and in other ways less than we had hoped.” She adds that her school will “double down” on experiential offerings that “benefit business and society,” in part by harnessing the renewed energy of a community primed to make a difference after nearly two years of pandemic.

It’s unsurprising that a school situated in a city with one of the biggest Black populations in the U.S. — which in the last year and a half alone has launched the first case competition dedicated to racial justice and saw the formation of one of the first student-led minority venture funds — would pioneer further innovations in achieving a more diverse MBA class, a goal of many if not most top B-schools. But Emory Goizueta has done just that with a new DEI concentration in both its one- and two-year MBA programs, backed by a slate of new elective courses.


Brian Mitchell, dean of the full-time MBA at Emory Goizueta. Courtesy photo

Students in Goizueta’s one– and two-year MBA programs will now be able to elect a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) concentration as part of their business school experience. This addition is effective immediately and “establishes DEI as a curricular priority at Goizueta in line with our other strategic areas–leadership, business and society, and entrepreneurship and innovation,” according to a school statement. “As with most concentrations, a minimum of three qualifying electives are required to earn the designation.

The DEI concentration is possible because of the addition of several new MBA-level courses developed by Goizueta faculty members “with deep expertise in this important aspect of principled leadership,” the school announced, including this spring:

  • Bias in the Workplace by Erika Hall, associate professor of organization and management; explores the science of bias and uses this knowledge as a foundation for how to design and assess effective policies and DEI interventions within organizations.
  • Social Entrepreneurship & Impact Investing, by J.B. Kurish, professor in the practice of finance; focuses on an array of social issues and the role capitalism plays in both the cause of those issues and their potential solution through new ideas, organizations, and investment.
  • Philanthropy Lab by Brian Goebel, managing director of The Roberto C. Goizueta Business & Society Institute, and Tene Traylor, Goizueta adjunct instructor; an experiential learning course introducing business school students to the role of philanthropy in solving public problems with a focus on addressing inequality in Atlanta.
  • Peachtree Minority Venture Fund by Rob Kazanjian, academic director of The Roberto C. Goizueta Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation and Asa Griggs Candler, professor of organization and management; a million-dollar venture capital fund focused exclusively on Black, LatinX, and Native American founders.

“These curricular innovations are positioning Goizueta as a leader in DEI, as we are among few business schools to introduce this level of academic depth within the curriculum,” says Brian Mitchell, associate dean of full-time MBA programs and Goizueta global strategy and initiatives. “This curricular expansion is the latest in a series of structural changes that have been made since the summer of 2020 when Dean Karen Sedatole elevated DEI to a strategic priority for the school. Others include the publication of Goizueta’s Statement of Values, the launch of the John R. Lewis Racial Justice Case Competition, re-launching the staff and faculty DEI Council, Goizueta’s Community Read and Discussion on ‘The Sum of Us’ with author Heather McGhee and the addition of a new full-time position, director of DEI Ama Ampadu-Fofie.

“I am proud to be part of a community with a commitment to DEI that is reflected in our core competencies of research and teaching. We have much work left to do, but the introduction of DEI as an academic concentration is a major milestone in our journey.”


Karen Sedatole joined Emory from Michigan State in 2017. Emory photo

“For many, myself included, the return to campus in the fall was momentous. We welcomed familiar and new faces to our student body, with energy from faculty, and staff that has brought new life back to Goizueta,” Dean Sedatole writes. “My resolution is to leverage this renewed energy and the momentum from the past year to continue to expand our academic and co-curricular offerings with personalized experiences that prepare students to thrive in and drive toward the future of business.

“I’m confident we’re well on our way. From new academic offerings including our STEM-designated Master of Analytical Finance, Online Executive MBA, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion MBA concentration to new tools and technologies, such as our global classrooms and virtual reality simulations, we are giving students the skills, resources, and perspectives they need to meet their own resolutions and push beyond the boundaries of a traditional business education.

“We are also doubling down on experiential learning initiatives that benefit business and society such as the Peachtree Minority Venture Fund — the first of its kind student-led investment fund focused exclusively on providing capital to minority entrepreneurs — and the student-run John R. Lewis Racial Justice Case Competition, which has expanded in scope through deeper partnerships with top business schools across the country and continues its focus on examining how companies can address racial injustice within their organizations and in society. We recently launched our innovative Future of Finance Consortium, a partnership with Agnes Scott College, Spelman College, and Morehouse College offering career-focused programming designed to introduce students to global financial markets and the many exciting finance career opportunities available. It is through these, and many other initiatives, that Goizueta Business School and the Atlanta community will continue to thrive … together.

“After the challenges of 2020 and 2021, we are entering the new year with intentionality and a renewed sense of purpose. And as always, our students sit at the center of that purpose.”

Learn more about Emory’s Full-Time MBA programs and new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion concentration.


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