How Can MBAs Improve Diversity in Business?

Mantissa College-JulianHaytham
How Can MBAs Improve Diversity in Business?

It wouldn’t be in the nature of the MBA culture to say that “business has a diversity problem.” As a recent report shows, business surely does have a diversity problem: 81 of London’s FTSE 100 companies have precisely zero ethnic minority board members. And over 100 FTSE 350 companies have failed to meet government-set targets of having a board of at least one-third women.

It wouldn’t be in business schools’ nature because these institutions, and their MBA students and graduates, aren’t about problems. They’re about solutions. For instance, the University of Oxford has recently partnered with the Robert Toigo Foundation to provide up to $10,000 in leadership development training and career coaching to support underrepresented professionals in senior roles.

MBA schools and students are innovating strategies to promote diversity in the fields they feed. There is a lot of work to be done. But it is in the nature of MBA culture to say that business needs diverse solutions – and here’s what we will do.

Why diversity in business matters
Diversity in business begins at business school. A diverse class and faculty feed into the system, as well as encouraging underrepresented applicants to attend.

But diversity has business-specific implications beyond equality, fairness, and representation. Business today is truly global, and the well-equipped business professional has the cultural sensitivity and insight to work with, and innovate for, a multicultural network. Some of these skills can be taught, but there is nothing like studying and working shoulder to shoulder with a diverse team of colleagues.

Studying in such an environment, you cannot fail to develop a global mindset. And even if you end up working within a primarily local market, you will bring a wealth of multicultural approaches and ideas to bear on the solutions you develop.

A global mindset equips you to work within an international marketplace. This could be from the standpoint of an international company based in your home country. Or, you could use it to pursue your career internationally, slotting into exciting roles around the world. You’ll have the skills to get straight to work – but also the preparation to know how to learn more about your specific environment.

Of course, diversity is not only a global matter. In the US, for instance, minority groups will soon be in the majority when the white population dips below the 50% mark. You don’t have to study with someone from halfway around the world to develop empathy for your immediate neighbour – but it helps.

And on the bottom line, diversity is profitable. A report from the Boston Consulting Group found companies who “reported above-average diversity on their management teams also reported innovation revenue that was 19 percentage points higher than that of companies with below-average leadership diversity.”

How US universities are doing
But progress, even at business school, does not come without resistance. As economist and educator, Eban Goodstein points out. “Historically, MBA programs have been largely comprised of white males,” writes Goodstein. “This sense that MBAs are hotbeds of male-dominated professional development continues today. As recently as 1959, Harvard Business School did not admit women to their MBA program.”

Goodstein highlights the MBA In Sustainability at Bard as a case study in how schools can promote diversity. It begins with the understanding that diverse groups have diverse needs. Flexible business school programs run by adaptable professors create an environment where minorities feel welcome and meet the practical requirements they may have.

The Stanford Graduate School of Business has established an Action Plan for Racial Equity, acknowledging “sobering and powerful accounts of bias, including on our own campus, and the obstacles many in our community have overcome to succeed.” Stanford sets out strategies to:

-Increase representation
-Build a culture of inclusion and belonging
-Make positive change beyond the boundaries of the school itself
-Hold themselves accountable.

At Mantissa College, we deliver the part-time EMBA Programme and MBA programmes Master of Business Administration programme, a programme in collaboration with Paris Graduate School of Management, France case studies comprise an impressive 50 per cent of assessments while the remaining 50 per cent is designated for assignments. The takeaway? When it comes to an active, engaging and hands-on business degree, you’d be hard-pressed to find one better than this MBA. 

Mantissa College’s MBA program boasts a dynamic global network of more than 80,000 alumni. One recent alumnus, Harrison Jub, says, “I took the 15-month Master of Business Administration course and in the first week, I was discussing the Real Case Study with groups of working professionals from different fields. And so I was learning from real people with real problems. Thanks to the case study based learning approach I am now capable of taking up more projects because I had been exposed to a wider perspective on handling matters from my learning experience.”

Certainly, evidence attests to the tremendous value of case studies in business education. Between its focus on this learning style and many other desirable attributes, Mantissa College’s Master of Business Administration offers an invaluable inside edge for aspiring business leaders.

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