Minorities in Business school -question

To get into HBS/Columbia/Wharton....is the GMAT score/GPA/work experience needed to get into these schools the same as if you're not a minority?

The only reason I ask, is because I remember when I applied for various schools for undergrad...I (Hispanic) knew a few people who were minorities at my high school who got into some pretty notable schools. And I know for a fact that diversity had to play a role in their selection. I'm not sure if it's a double standard or what...but I would like to know if the same generally holds true for most MBA programs.

In the applicant pool are minorities competing with other minorities for a limited numbers of seats at the college? Or how exactly does the selection process work if you're a minority trying to get into a top school? Are some schools bigger on diversity then others? Any info would be great. Thanks

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Comments (6)

Jun 2, 2008 - 10:38pm

There's really no hard evidence that there's differing admissions standards at the MBA level.

Business schools certainly are looking to build a diverse class, but the way in which they do that without creating dual admissions standards is to ensure the applicant pool itself is diverse and that the caliber of applicants across all demographics is equally strong -- especially at the top schools. For example, at HBS, Wharton, Stanford, Kellogg, etc. you'll find that the African-American students have the same kinds of blue chip resumes that their white counterparts do.

From a practical standpoint, go into the admissions process with the mentality that you need to get the adcom to see you as an individual, and not a diversity applicant -- there's enough Hispanic and African-American applicants at the top schools that worked at McKinsey, Goldman, etc. that you can't assume you're going to have any easier of a time than any other applicant.

Alex Chu

Alex Chu

Jun 10, 2008 - 1:39pm

"Diversity" at MBA programs is quite different than at the undergrad level. Wharton's MBA program, for instance, is close to 50% international when you include US permanent residents.

As a result, whether you are black or hispanic is of less importance than the fact that you are from the US, and thus provide less "diversity" in the international sense than a student from, say, Papua New Guinea.

That said, black and hispanic students are woefully under-represented at the MBA level. I remember one of my African-American friends in my class specifically noting that the vast majority of "black" students were Caribbean or African, and not African-American.

Likewise, almost all of your Spanish-speaking students are from Argentina, Mexico, Ecuador, Spain, etc. (I list those countries because they tended to be the most represented).

"Diversity" in general is a much more complex issue at the graduate level, and the big focus of the ad coms is to bring in people from as many countries and religions as possible, and to bring in people with a very diverse background wrt careers, life experiences, etc.

Jun 21, 2008 - 10:00am

"In May, 2002, a federal appeals court ruled in Grutter vs. Bollinger that the University of Michigan's law school did not employ racial quotas; rather, it had a "compelling interest" when it sought to enroll a diverse student body. The law school argued that it did not set quotas to recruit a specific number of minority students; nevertheless, it claimed, any restrictions on the admissions policy would reduce minority populations to "token" levels. Many legal experts believe that the Supreme Court will reexamine affirmative action in the near future in order to resolve the conflicting decisions made by lower circuit courts."

This is one example of using different standards to evaluate minorities. The school said outright they they would not be able to maintain a strong minority presence if they used the same standards for under-represented minorities.

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