Tuck | Mr. Assistant Manager
GRE 328, GPA 2.9
NYU Stern | Mr. Development
GMAT 690, GPA 2.5
Harvard | Mr. The Builder
GMAT 740, GPA 4.0
Wharton | Mr. Steelmaker To Consultant
GMAT 760, GPA 3.04/4.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. Two Job
GRE 330 GRE, GPA 3.63
Chicago Booth | Mr. High GRE Low GPA
GRE 332, GPA 3.2
Harvard | Ms. Gay Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Analyst To Family Business Owner
GMAT 710, GPA 3.2
Harvard | Mr. FBI To MBB
GMAT 710, GPA 3.85
Chicago Booth | Mr. Overrepresented Indian Engineer
GMAT 740, GPA 8.78/10
Tuck | Mr. Infantry Officer To MBA
GRE 314, GPA 3.4
Darden | Mr. Program Manager
GRE 324, GPA 3.74
Tuck | Mr. Smart Cities
GRE 325, GPA 3.5
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Biz Human Rights
GRE 710, GPA 8/10
Harvard | Mr. Food Tech Start Ups
GMAT 720, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Mr. International Oil
GMAT 710, GPA 3.7
Harvard | Mr. Consulting To Emerging Markets Banking
GRE 130, GPA 3.6 equivalent
Harvard | Mr. Comeback Kid
GMAT 770, GPA 2.8
Stanford GSB | Mr. Greek Taverna
GMAT 730, GPA 7.03/10
Harvard | Ms. Biotech Ops
GMAT 770, GPA 3.53
Chicago Booth | Mr. Energy Operations
GRE 330, GPA 3.85
Harvard | Mr. Big 4 To Healthcare Reformer
GRE 338, GPA 4.0 (1st Class Honours - UK - Deans List)
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Indian Quant
GMAT 745, GPA 9.6 out of 10
Stanford GSB | Mr. Food & Education Entrepreneur
GMAT 720, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Mr. Lieutenant To Consultant
GMAT 760, GPA 3.7
Duke Fuqua | Mr. IB Back Office To Front Office/Consulting
GMAT 640, GPA 2.8
Rice Business | Mr. Future Energy Consultant
GRE Received a GRE Waiver, GPA 3.3

MBA Programs With The Best Cultures & Classmates

Broll at The Fuqua School of Business at Duke University in Durham, NC on Tuesday, April 18, 2017. (Alex Boerner)

COMING TOGETHER TO RALLY AROUND INCLUSION

Such traditions communicate more about school culture than the usual buzzwords. Take diversity. In February, Ross students join forces with faculty and staff to establish a Diversity Week, which is dedicated to championing communication and inclusion. This year’s events included everything from a “Brunch and Brainstorm” from Net Impact to Risky Business holding a “Playlist Party.”

“The goal is to recognize, embrace, and celebrate our differences and emphasize the importance of learning from each other, explains DeRue. “This year, we had students, faculty and staff come together and co-create the week and the programming. We had over 20 student clubs submit proposals for programming that could be part of the week. Together, the students, faculty and staff curated this experience. It’s remarkable to see our entire community together around the diversity that is the Michigan Ross community and how important building this inclusive culture is.”

Building this culture requires communication, opening up and starting a dialogue that softens hearts and sparks ideas. Taking a page from TedX-style talks, Ross sponsors two events, VetX and Ross Diaries. Here, students step up in front of their peers to share intimate stories about events that transformed their lives such as going off to war. This storytelling, says Kwon, really brings the Ross community closer and deepens their unity. “These events are really an opportunity for our students to connect, support and understand someone who might have had a very different experience from them.”

PREPARING TO TELL THE STORY OF A LIFETIME

Such activities have grown so popular that Ross now offers classes on how to craft and present their stories – and for good reason. It reinforces the supportiveness of the Ross culture – and prepares students for bigger presentations to come.

Ross students working up their Ross Diaries talk in Story Lab.

 

“We do a series of workshops where they develop storytelling skills and the confidence to tell their story,” DeRue says. “This will have benefits throughout their lives in terms of their own leadership skills and being able to tell stories in ways that will connect with, influence, and inspire people. They do all of this by getting up on stage in front of 500 of their classmates and colleagues from around the school. “It is just an illustration of how we are a community. We’re a place where all people are welcome, where there are opportunities for everyone to be authentic.”

Such events fit into Fuqua’s paired principle of Collective Diversity, which Morgan characterizes as “the idea that we’re stronger together when we take advantage of the differences we have.” This cultural guidepost has inspired Fuqua students to initiate Fuqua Listens, a safe space where students can discuss uncomfortable topics like the Charlottesville riot. In addition, students now host Fuqua Talks, whose M.O. closely follows Ross Diaries.

“It is based on the idea that we don’t necessarily engage in deep conversations about the backgrounds of students, faculty or staff members have,” Morgan says. “It is a way to bring that out so we better appreciate not just that individual – that background and diversity – but it also paves a way to say I wish I knew more about all of my classmates.”

CEMENTING CULTURAL VALUES IS A NEVER-ENDING JOB

Still, culture can be a delicate and transient by nature, particularly with an ever-changing cast of students and even faculty and administrators. How can schools better institutionalize the values that define their cultures? For one, says Fuqua’s Morgan, they can continue their diligence by regularly measuring their performance. That means being open to difficult conversations. Even more, it requires administrators to dig deeper and even look for trouble signs when they may not be readily evident.

“From orientation, we have some goals that we measure,” Morgan shares. “People will generally give you high ratings for everything that happens during orientation. So you need to get to the second layer with that.”

The Fuqua playbook also includes recognizing and rewarding students who personify the best of the school’s culture. Located five minutes from Cameron Indoor Stadium, Fuqua has a front row seat to one of the greatest team-builders of all time: Coach Mike Krzyzewski. A central tenet of Coach K is to set clear expectations early. Like any coach, Krzyzewski ties rewards such as recognition to meeting his lofty standards. Fuqua has followed suit by spotlighting students who can serve as models to their peers. Just as important, students share ownership of the selections. Such efforts send a message that reverberates loud-and-clear: We’re watching. Are you?

Mallway at The Fuqua School of Business at Duke University in Durham, NC on Tuesday, April 18, 2017. (Alex Boerner)

“Each term, the administration works with the MBA Student Association to identify the students who are exemplars of different elements of Team Fuqua,” Morgan notes. “There is a lot of positive reinforcement behind this and making sure everyone understands the benefits that students receive when others contribute back to it and try to pull out the strengths of others.”

SOCIETY WANTS BUSINESS TO LEAD – AND ROSS AND FUQUA ARE READY TO STEP UP

Perhaps the most overlooked part of business school culture is the surrounding community. While many Fuqua students shuffle off the northeast and west coast after their two years, Morgan believes that Durham is an unheralded source of Fuqua’s success. Established yet entrepreneurial, the city boasts a strong infrastructure and educated populace that’s supportive of the university observes Morgan.

“There’s such an intersection between what Durham is and what Duke Fuqua is. It’s reinforcing. It’s easy to live in Durham, which means you can get together with classmates. You get this benefit of a lot of connection between students – the trust that comes with spending time together. Everyone lives within this network in the community and it facilitates a lot of organic interaction. It builds this trust which leads to, “I will allow you to give me strong feedback. I understand why we are in this together.’”

This sense of togetherness is what binds the Ross and Fuqua cultures together. It is also what makes their values all the more relevant in today’s business climate. “There is this idea that business has a responsibility to contribute to society,” Morgan concludes. “That is a latent part of Team Fuqua – this idea of making the teams you’re on better and the individuals you work with better and make yourself better. Increasingly, society is looking for business to lead – that’s a key element of what we’re providing.”

DON’T MISS: BUSINESS SCHOOLS WITH THE BEST MBA CULTURES

MEET THE MICHIGAN ROSS MBA CLASS OF 2019

MEET DUKE FUQUA’S MBA CLASS OF 2019