Diversity Insights: Native Americans

July 15, 2021


This brief compiles data and analysis from the mba.com Prospective Students Survey, plus GMAT test taker data and external sources to illustrate what makes Native American candidates distinct- from where they live, to when they being the school search, to their motivations and their career goals- all in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Understanding the data landscape will help schools plan their recruitment efforts and create measure of success for their institutions.

Native Americans, as defined in the brief refer to those U.S. citizens who identify among indigenous or First Peoples of the U.S. and its trust territories, including those from American Indian or Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations, as well as aboriginal peoples who identify as Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander (NHOPI) populations in U.S. territories.

Quick Facts

  • There are roughly 7.1 million Native Americans (including Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders or American Indian and Alaska Native alone or in combination with one or more other races) representing 2.1 percent of the U.S. population.

  • Opinions about the value of GME to support entrepreneurship may be reinforcing the overall commitment expressed by Native Americans in a GME credential. A greater share of Native Americans is looking to be self-employed or in entrepreneur roles post-GME degree when compared with non-URP respondents (23% Native Americans vs. 19% non-URP).

  • Native Americans appear to be less likely to refer to published rankings as much as other groups (41% Native Americans vs. 48% non-URP) and similarly, fewer percentages of Native Americans are directly consulting the school websites (54% vs. 66%), admissions professionals (23% vs. 33%) or career/school advisors (10% vs. 19%).

  • In spite of wide acceptance of online delivery formats, 11 percent of Native Americans were unwilling to complete any portion of their program online (the greatest share of any underrepresented group) and in part may reflect the difficulties of rural access to high-speed internet service due to the continued lack of infrastructure on and near tribal lands.
  • Slightly greater shares of Native Americans when compared with non-URP respondents were drawn to concentrations such as: nonprofit administration/management (16% Native Americans vs. 8% non-URP), media management (13% vs. 6%), human resources (10% vs. 6%), transportation (7% vs. 3%), arts administration (7% vs. 3%), communications and public relations (8% vs. 5%).