At Stanford GSB, A Celebration Of Hispanic Culture & Influence

The Hispanic population of the United States is more than 62 million and accounts for much of America’s prosperity. Not only do Hispanic people contribute 51% of America’s population growth, they also account for nearly $2.8 trillion in GDP.

The just-concluded Hispanic Heritage Month shines light on Hispanic-American accomplishments and influence. But it’s also an opportunity to acknowledge the work that still needs to be done to move toward greater diversity, equity and inclusion, says Luis Flores, a second-year Stanford MBA student.

“Seeing is believing, particularly for those of us who are closing the gap and still under-represented in many ways — not only at Stanford but across America,” Flores says.

‘THE SPARK YOU NEED TO HAVE’

Stanford Graduate School of Business has been working to amplify Hispanic voices, this month and year-round.

“Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to learn about the rich culture and history of our community and have an open dialogue about the challenges we face,” Flores continues. “It’s the spark you need to have those insightful and meaningful conversations that can lead to surprising outcomes.”

Each year at this time, Poets&Quants partners with Stanford to take a closer look at the ways in which the GSB highlighted its Hispanic students over the past month. Then we dive deeper into what the month means to four GSB students who share their visions for greater DEI — at Stanford and beyond.

Darwin Valentine: “Hispanic Heritage Month gives you a chance to take a step back and reflect on the stories and experiences that ultimately shape such a rich and diverse culture.” Photos courtesy Stanford GSB

HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH AT THE GSB

The GSB made several efforts to emphasize Hispanic Heritage Month.

In order to encourage representation, the school organized a photoshoot to highlight Hispanic students’ experiences — not just with the Stanford community, but with those who might be considering Stanford. “It’s really important to show prospective applicants a diversity of experiences and identities here at Stanford,” says Sonny Stephens, a second-year MBA student.

“Seeing what a career or MBA experience could look like as a Latino is super empowering,” adds Flores. “During the application process it was important for me to meet with students and alums who looked like me and had similar lived experiences.”

The GSB also put the spotlight on its Hispanic students through social media posts and a web story. Plus, Stephens hosted an Instagram takeover to showcase some of the different ways in which the GSB incorporates cultural identity into day-to-day life.

At the end of the month, from Oct. 15-16, the Hispanic Business Students Association (HBSA) is hosting an off-campus retreat to build Hispanic community between the first and second-year MBA classes. “During this retreat, we engage in rich conversation about what it’s like to be Hispanic at the GSB and form close relationships,” says Flores, who attended last year’s retreat.

“It was one of the ways I was able to be challenged and more open, vulnerable, and authentic with others. We discussed the importance of accepting and embracing our entire selves, including where we come from, who we are, and our hopes for the future.”

See the next page of this story to learn more about the experience of Hispanic Heritage Month at the GSB through the eyes of four MBA students: Sonny Stephens, Luis Flores, Darwin Valentine, and Eduardo Zaldivar.

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