Minorities At The Leading U.S. MBA Programs: 2/3 Of The Top 30 Report Declines

Shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court decision June 29 that ended affirmative action in higher education admissions, Scott Galloway, a professor of marketing at New York University’s Stern School of Business, well-known podcaster, and provocateur, took to Twitter, writing:

Leaving aside Galloway’s arguable declaration about affirmative action’s popularity, the man whom Poets&Quants once named one of the world’s 50 best B-school professors definitely hit on a popular idea for a new way to ensure the diversity of college classes. According to a recent Intelligent.com poll, 1 in 3 Americans supports income-based admissions to higher education institutions, as more than half — 57% — agree that poor students have a more challenging time achieving high test scores.

The June poll of more than 1,000 respondents highlights a direction many have urged universities — and the business schools within them — to take in the wake of the twin SCOTUS decisions in Students For Fair Admissions Inc. v. University of North Carolina and Students For Fair Admissions Inc. v. President And Fellows Of Harvard College. Of poll respondents who agree with income-based admissions, 68% “strongly” (32%) or “somewhat” (37%) agree that colleges should implement a quota system, within which they would be required to accept a certain percentage of economically disadvantaged applicants each year. Scroll Twitter and you’ll find lots of familiar names from academia who back the idea.

20 OF THE TOP 30 B-SCHOOLS SAW DECLINES IN MINORITY NUMBERS IN 2022

Post-affirmative action, the dimensions of MBA class profile reporting is likely to look different — how different, we don’t yet know. Currently, most B-schools follow federal reporting guidelines for race and ethnicity, which include five categories for race: American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and White. There are also two categories for data on ethnicity: “Hispanic or Latino,” and “Not Hispanic or Latino.” Most elite B-schools add “multi-dimensional” reporting which, as Chicago Booth School of Business describes it, “depicts students’ full racial and ethnic identities to more inclusively reflect the racial/ethnic groups they identify with beyond a grouping of ‘Multi-Race.’”

How will those guidelines change? Will they continue to exist at all? What, if anything, will replace them? What is likely to be a hodgepodge of approaches will be clearer when class profiles for most B-schools are released in late August and early September.

In the meantime, amid all the questions, the numbers contained in this story assume even greater relevance than usual. Significantly, they show (among other things) that well before SCOTUS, minority levels already were on the decline at the majority of B-schools ranked in P&Q‘s top 30, according to two years of data collected by U.S. News & World Report for its annual ranking.

From the fall of 2021 to the fall of 2022, overall minority numbers declined at four of the top 10 MBA programs, and at 20 of the top 30. (See tables below and on page 3 for details.) Stanford Graduate School of Business led all schools with 33.1% minorities in its MBA program in 2022, just edging out the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School at 33%. Harvard Business School (32.2%) and Chicago Booth (30.4%) were the other top-10 B-schools over 30%.

Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business is the top-10 B-school with the fewest minorities, at 19.9%; Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business has the fewest in the top 30, at 15.3%. In all, seven schools are above 30% and four below 20%.

BLACK STUDENTS WERE THE TOP MINORITY AT JUST 3 OF TOP 30 B-SCHOOLS IN 2022

Following the federal reporting guidelines, U.S. News collects data not only on overall minority levels in MBA programs but on specific percentages of White, Asian, Hispanic, Black, and other students; in terms of minority status, the latter three account for the most seats, with Native Americans or those claiming two or more races occasionally comprising a significant portion of any given school's class. With few exceptions, students of Asian descent are the most-represented in U.S. MBA programs; at all but a handful of schools, Hispanic students comprised the second-largest minority.

In 2022, Wharton boasted the most Asian students, at 18.8% of the class, followed closely by Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business at 18.6%. The school with the lowest percentage of Asian students was Notre Dame Mendoza: 4.3%. Besides four schools for which data was not available, only four schools in the top 30 had other minorities represented in greater numbers than Asians:

  • Emory Goizueta Business School, where Black students were 10.1% of the MBA program and Asians 8.7%;
  • Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management, where Black students were 5.5%, Asian students 5.2%, and Hispanic students 4.9%;
  • Notre Dame Mendoza, where Hispanics were 6.4%, Asians 4.3%, and Blacks 3.2%; and
  • Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business, where Black and Asian students tied at 10.3%.

Georgia Tech also had the highest percentage of Black students of any school; Emory Goizueta was second at 10.1%. Rochester Simon boasted the highest percentage of Hispanic students, at 9.7%, with MIT Sloan School of Management and USC Marshall School of Business close behind at 9.1% each. The schools with the lowest Black enrollment were Washington Foster School of Business (0.9%) and Carnegie Mellon Tepper (2.3%); Indiana Kelley School of Business had the lowest Hispanic enrollment (2.5%).

YALE SOM LOST MORE THAN HALF ITS HISPANIC STUDENTS Y-O-Y

Year to year from 2021 to 2022, Asian students were up at eight schools' MBA programs, as were Black students; Hispanic students were up at 10. Everywhere else where the data was available to make a comparison, the three minorities declined. The school with the biggest drop in Asian students was Indiana Kelley, which saw a 3.9-percentage-point decline to 10.3%. Rochester Simon Business School saw a 3.3-point decline in Black students, to 9.7%; Texas-Austin McCombs School of Business saw a 2.4-point decline to 4.2%. For Hispanic students the biggest drop-off occurred at Yale School of Management, which lost more than half its population in a year, dropping 3.8 points to 3.6%.

Conversely, the school with the biggest one-year gain in Asian students was Chicago Booth, which boosted its numbers by nearly 6 percentage points to 17.7% of the MBA Class of 2024. Washington Olin Business School and Notre Dame Mendoza each increased their Black student representation by about 2 points to 9.6% and 3.2%, respectively. Wharton upped its Hispanic student numbers by 3.4 points to 4.3%.

Overall, among the 20 schools that saw minority declines year-to-year, the biggest occurred at Georgia Tech Scheller, which dropped 7.3 points to 23.7%. Close behind was Cornell, which dropped 7 points to 21%. The average loss among the 20 schools was 3.5 percentage points.

Among the four schools with year-to-year increases, the biggest by far occurred at Chicago Booth, which jumped 10.3 points to 30.4%. MIT Sloan increased 2.9 points to 27.5%, Notre Dame Mendoza by 1.4 points to 15.3%, and Washington Foster an insignificant 0.1 point to 23.1%. Two schools — Harvard and Vanderbilt — were exactly even between the two years, the former at 32.2% and the latter at 19.8%.

See the next page for expert commentary on the SCOTUS affirmative action decision, and page 3 for a table of minority levels at the MBA programs of the top 30 U.S. B-schools.

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