Understanding Underrepresented Populations in the Business School Pipeline

The white paper, Understanding Underrepresented Populations in the Business School Pipeline, examines the shifting US racial and ethnic demographics and projected growth among US minority populations and the challenges—and incentives—these developments pose for US business schools to increase the opportunities for minority students to participate in a graduate management education. Historically, many US underrepresented populations (URP), particularly African Americans and Hispanic Americans, have had disproportionately small representation in the business school pipeline. There are no easy solutions to changing these dynamics and smarter, more customized approaches to recruiting these prospective students will be required of business schools to bring more of these students through their doors.


The paper provides insights, gleaned mostly from recent GMAC prospective student survey data, about the aspects of these populations that make them distinct—from where they live, to personal pursuits and values, their motivations to pursue graduate management education, and their career goals. The data make clear that a one-size fits all approach to recruiting these students will not produce results needed to make a discernible difference in their enrollment rate. A well-thought-out, segmented marketing approach would take their differences into account. The authors present business school admissions and recruitment professionals data and analysis to enhance their outreach strategies for US underrepresented populations.