MBA programs lack minority students

PAUL LACHINE
PAUL LACHINE
Posted: July 13, 2012

If elite Master Business Administration programs are serious about diversity, they're going to have to step up their minority recruitment.

Except for Asian Americans, minorities are underrepresented among the students in many of the same MBA programs that often tout their ethnic and racial diversity, according to a recent analysis by the Wall Street Journal.

For example, minorities are 34 percent of the senior class at Cornell University's Johnson Graduate School of Management until you exclude Asian students. Then, the senior class' minority enrollment drops to 12 percent.

The Journal report found similar racial disparity among students at Dartmouth College's Tuck School of Business, the University of Michigan's Stephen M. Ross School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business, and the Yale University School of Management.

Because many schools are reluctant to disclose enrollment numbers by race, it is difficult to glean the underrepresented figures in some cases.

Columbia Business School and the Stanford Graduate School of Business reported minority student populations of 35 percent and 27 percent, respectively, for their senior classes, but did not include racial breakdowns.

The business schools' minority enrollment numbers are important. Advanced business degrees typically lead to higher incomes. Current census figures show African Americans make only about 59 percent of what whites are paid, with Hispanics earning 69 percent of what whites make.

But you can't blame the business schools alone for their lack of minorities. Applications from minorities are usually low, a reflection of the poor academic preparation that too many black and Hispanic students receive in high school. Emphasis must be placed on that as well.

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