Slowly, Top B-Schools Gain in Diversity

The Toigo Foundation’s Nancy Sims talks about why MBA programs have not made bigger strides in minority recruitment”and what they can do about it Business schools have been actively recruiting minorities for years. Many have been teaming up with organizations to educate young people in underrepresented groups about what they can get out of an MBA. Have these efforts worked? The answer is: sort of. In the last 10 years, top business schools have increased the number of enrolled minority students, but the gains have been modest and not every school improved, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek analysis of the schools’ self-reported enrollment data. The analysis showed that 18 of the top 30 U.S. B-schools in Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2010 ranking of full-time MBA programs have increased the number of underrepresented minorities (excluding Asian Americans) on campus, raising the average from 9.3 percent in 2000 to 13.4 percent in 2010.Six schools fared worse, one’s minority enrollment was flat, and five programs did not provide sufficient information regarding one or both years to determine if they had gotten better or worse.The Johnson Graduate School of Management (Johnson Full-Time MBA Profile) at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., showed the most dramatic increase, having increased its enrollment of underrepresented minorities from 5 percent in 2000 to 21 percent in 2010. Still, more must be done to improve representation at graduate business schools, says Nancy Sims, president of the Robert Toigo Foundation, a nonprofit group founded in 1989 to help increase diversity in the finance industry. As part of the organization’s mission, Toigo educates minority members about the merits of getting an MBA and provides financial support for minority candidates who qualify, says Sims. “[The research] is an important and ongoing reminder of the...