Business schools and MBA programs feature programs and communities, which now welcome and support diversity.

Business schools and MBA programs feature programs and communities, which now welcome and support diversity. Photo: lipik | Shutterstock.


Increasingly, business schools are developing programs that favor diversity. They’re designed to introduce, engage, and empower students from backgrounds who have not been previously welcomed or supported in business education or the business world.

Alumni of the leading business schools also support diversity in business education and the business world at large. Progressive practices respond to a diverse international business world. Leaders in the global economic community such as Harvard Alumnus Alex Crisses, managing director at General Atlantic; Stanford graduate Phil Knight, founder of Nike; and University of Washington graduate Charles M. Lillis, managing partner of Lone Tree Capital Partners are committed to their alma maters’ improved diversity.

Diversity makes good business sense for all business schools. It helps them to attract the best students. Curricula that are responsive to cultural heritage create classroom experiences offering valid representations of diversity.

As the business world becomes more expansive, modern business education must respond in a holistic manner that affirms and values a diverse world and a diverse student body. Here are several programs designed to increase diversity and innovate business education:

Summer Venture in Management | Harvard Business School

Morning study groups and classes are used to examine and debate current management and business issues in this weeklong program. The faculty uses the case method of instruction, which helps students develop a broader understanding of today’s important business issues. The program promotes educational diversity by seeking out students who are the first in their family to attend college, identify as LGBT, or are from a demographic underrepresented in business education.

Future Leaders Program | Stanford Business School

This program introduces students to academic life of an MBA student. During this three-day event participants attend classes, visit local companies, and work with the Career Management Center to visualize their career options. Students with a liberal arts background are encouraged to attend, as well as African American, Hispanic American, Native American, and LGBTQ students.

Business Bridge | University of Washington, Foster School of Business

Students in this innovate program are given the skills required to create a firm foundation for their career as students and in business. The program starts four-weeks before the fall quarter and includes a 5-credit college level writing course, career exploration, and leadership activities. It focuses resources on serving African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Pacific Islander, and Southeast Asian students.

Even with programs that seek to create educational access across cultural divides, the problems of diversity in business education and the business world remain complex. These programs are a good start in creating understanding in both the small world of college campuses and the international world of business.

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