As more companies are going public with their diversity reports, the demand for more Black employees has been steadily growing. Based on a new study by Bloomberg, however, the problem with diversity in corporate America is one that is partially rooted in the lack of Black MBA candidates in business schools.
Corporations can no longer ignore the importance of having diverse staffs. Some have been publicly expressing their interest in adding more Black and Hispanic employees to their teams.
But the desire to hire more Black people seems to be hindered by the lack of Black students in business schools.
“True to popular conception, MBA students are overwhelmingly white or Asian,” Bloomberg reported.
Based on a survey by Bloomberg Business, only 6 percent of the full-time MBA candidates polled in 2014 identified as Black.
It’s an indication that American business schools aren’t taking the necessary steps to diversify the students they are prepping for the business world.
Even as some employers have started offering Black and Hispanic MBA-holders up to $2,000 more than their white and Asian counterparts, they have also expressed disappointment in the dwindling pool of Black candidates.
Business schools have long insisted that they are doing everything they can to help Black students get into MBA programs, but critics say that’s far from the truth.
“They believe that the efforts that they are doing right now are giving them all of the candidates [who] exist,” says Peter Aranda, the CEO of the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management.
Critics have already identified some of the areas where business schools can help usher in more Black MBA candidates, starting with access to a professional network.
Bloomberg reported that many Black students don’t hold the same diverse network of professional connections that their white counterparts benefit from.
Those connections can ultimately be the deciding factor for many students applying to get into renowned MBA programs across the country.
Then there is the matter of the Graduate Management Admission Test, a standardized test required for students applying to most business schools.
With several factors like costly test prep programs and racial disparities in testing, some critics believe schools could lower the required score for the Graduate Management Admission Test.
Schools have also noted the small pool of Black applicants available for them to pick from but this could also be the direct result of the lack of diversity on their own campuses.
For one student, Nate Kumapayi, that lack of other Black students in prestigious business programs was enough for him to pass up the chance to go to Yale.
Instead, he opted for the University of Rochester’s Simon School of Business, which flaunts a much more diverse student body.
“I wanted to go to a school where there were going to be people like me,” Kumapayi told Bloomberg. “…You are going to business school, and the first year is difficult. You just want someone you can relate to.”
So far, Florida International University, Syracuse and Babson have been some of the only schools to create racially diverse business programs that are now attracting crowds of other Black MBA candidates.