How Does Diversity Play Into MBA Admissions?

AdmissionDiversity has become a buzzword throughout the business world, however one place where its potential has not been fully realized is in the classrooms of some of the top MBA programs in the world. In this way, many business schools struggle to emulate the markets to which they send graduates to.

We can all agree diversity in the workplace and in the classroom make for a more rewarding experience for all. Let’s discuss how diversity can manifest itself during the MBA application process:

Ethnic Diversity:
In the United States, this is one of the most important and severely-lacking forms of diversity in top MBA programs. Underrepresented minorities – such as African-Americans, Native Americans, and Hispanic Americans – in the U.S. still represent tiny portions of most schools’ incoming classes.

Many blue chip companies rely on MBA programs to serve as feeders for their talent, and if MBA programs remain barren of diverse candidates, then top companies will also struggle in this department. Given this need, qualified, underrepresented minorities really can stand out in the application process if they package together the “right” application.

Gender Diversity:
Business schools have made remarkable strides when it comes to gender diversity. MBA programs have historically been a “boys club,” but most programs have narrowed the gap here and come closer to the desired 50/50 gender ratio. This year, Northwestern’s Kellogg School even reported a record 43% of female MBA students in their Class of 2018. Even with these improvements, women still remain a minority of sorts, which can prove advantageous in the application process.

International Diversity:
The business world has become truly global – a shift that most programs have tried to mirror. The business school campus of today can take on the look of the United Nations, itself. The array of experience and thought this diversity brings to the classroom can help shape a class set out to become the global leaders of tomorrow. Remember, there are certain regions of the world that are underrepresented and others that are over-represented, so international diversity can go both ways when it comes to admissions.

With the holistic nature of the MBA admissions process, diversity can play a huge role in shaping the student community for the incoming class. This diversity of thought, perspective, and experience is certainly a hallmark of the MBA experience.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or take our free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! As always, be sure to find us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+ and Twitter.

Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants. You can read more articles by him here.

More Women Than Ever Are Going to Business School

MBA Admissions
According to a new article by Rebecca Knight in the Financial Times (free registration required), the typical MBA classroom now has more women in it than ever before. The article cites a study by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, which shows that women now make up about 37% of the student body at traditional full-time business schools in the U.S., up from 33% just five years ago (and up from 30% ten years ago).

This steady progress in closing the gender gap is the result of constant effort on the part of top business schools. In the last decade, schools have started to aggressively recruit students before they even graduate college, host more women-oriented events on campus to help prospective applicants get a taste of life at business school, and partner with organizations like the Forte Foundation (a Veritas Prep partner) to meet more female applicants in their hometowns.

Even better news is that this is not a uniquely American phenomenon — most top business schools in Europe also have attracted more women. INSEAD’s most recent graduating class, for example, was 34% women, up from 23% in 2000.

Admissions officers interviewed by the Financial Times all pointed to one significant disadvantage that MBA programs have in attracting women, compared to other professional graduate programs: Most schools expect applicant to have at least several years of full-time work experience before applying. For some young women thinking of starting a family soon, the idea of needing to build up a few years of professional momentum before even applying to school means that they may have to wait longer than they would like before having children.

This partly explains top business schools’ push to attract younger applicants (such as Harvard Business School’s HBS 2+2 Program). Early results seem to suggest that these programs are in fact attracting more women: About half of the 116 students in the program’s first year are women, compared to the full-time MBA program’s Class of 2010, which is 38% women. (And we’re proud to say that we helped a few of those women get accepted to the program!)

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