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GMAC® Charts New Course to Expand Work in Access, Diversity

With the advice and support of the Diversity Advisory Group, the new Diversity Initiatives team will promote business and graduate management education to broader audiences around the world. Diversity Initiatives will continue to leverage relationships with organizations and schools. Specialized tools and services, including enhanced professional learning programs, diversity data and research reports, and networking opportunities will be available to business schools and school professionals with a diversity role.

The new diversity strategy was developed in close consultation with the GMAC Diversity Advisory Group (see page 3), appointed last fall.

“Through our new Diversity Initiatives, we are allocating resources to strengthen and reinforce our commitment to diversity,” says Nicole Chestang, the chief client officer at GMAC. “We will continue our ongoing collaboration with strategic partners who have been part of the Diversity Pipeline Alliance. Utilizing programs, research, and other strategies, we plan to build on existing success and find new ways to bring even more highly qualified diverse students into the graduate management education pipeline.”

Underscoring its expanded commitment, GMAC has appointed a full-time director of Diversity Initiatives to focus on diversity issues in support of GMAC client schools and the industry as a whole. Camille Leverett, a member of the GMAC staff with extensive experience as a client services specialist, will lead the Council’s new diversity efforts.

Leverett is already hard at work on the new Diversity Initiatives. “Thanks to input from our Diversity Advisory Group, we’re beginning to develop strategies for delivering new services and tools to support schools active in diversity recruitment and retention,” she says. “This is not about the individual efforts of GMAC but a collaborative effort of graduate management education professionals and organizations working together with GMAC to increase diversity.”

GMAC Releases Two Diversity Reports

Part of the expanded GMAC diversity strategy will be enhanced communication, including dissemination of key data and diversity trends research. To that end, two recently released reports examine diversity trends.

Surveying students of color born between 1978 and 2000, the first report—Serving Those Poised For Success: Increasing Access To Business Education And Business Careers (PDF)—found that 62 percent of African Americans, 54 percent of Hispanics, and 43 percent of Native Americans are interested in careers in business. Underscoring its value to those who promote diversity on campus, the report has already had its first printing distributed to readers; a second printing is planned.

The survey found that 80 percent of all respondents expect to be better off educationally and financially than their parents. Of those students indicating an interest in business careers, the majority of students were most interested in stable and challenging careers.

“This is a critical time for stakeholders who are committed to expanding the pipeline of diverse talent for the business workforce,” Nicole Chestang says. “There may be many competing needs for resources, but we must stay focused on this generation of students who are poised for success—they will need sustained support to succeed.”

Findings in this survey coincide with data from the National Center for Educational Statistics that show significant increases in students of color receiving business degrees at both the baccalaureate and master’s levels—including the MBA—over the past five years.

A second report, Management of Diversity Initiatives (PDF), provides a glimpse of diversity activities of 218 U.S. graduate management programs at 187 institutions. Of survey respondents, 84 percent said their graduate management programs are involved in planning or managing diversity initiatives at some level—these activities include supporting minority-oriented student services, establishing alliances and partnerships implementing diversity initiatives, offering minority-oriented financial aid programs, supporting minority-oriented career services, supporting outreach to minority alumni, and offering minority-oriented pre-enrollment programs.

Asked to cite the most important challenges for diversity recruitment, 31 percent said “increasing the diversity representation in MBA program,” 20 percent cited budget constraints, and another 20 percent said the greatest challenge was “generating minority interest” or “getting prospective students to attend events.” Other challenges facing diversity recruitment programs include insufficient minority representation due to the school’s geographical location; legislative issues, especially recent challenges to affirmative action programs; and competition with other programs, schools, and institutions, among others.

GMAC has been engaged in increasing diversity in graduate management education for decades. In the early 1980s, for example, the Council introduced the Destination MBA program. GMAC has also made a significant investment in other diversity efforts, including the GMAC/AASCB Minority Summer Institute, The PhD Project, and the Diversity Pipeline Alliance.

GRADUATE MANAGEMENT ADMISSION COUNCIL

2007-2008 Diversity Advisory Group

Eric Abrams     
Director of Diversity Initiatives   
Graduate School of Business
Stanford University

Patrick Amos
Director, MBA Programs
School of Business Administration
Clark Atlanta University

Damon Caldwell 
Director of Enrollment Management
Kogod School of Business
American University

Keyshia Conner
Associate Director, MBA Admissions
Eller College of Management
The University of Arizona

Steven Denson   
Director of Diversity    
Edwin L. Cox School of Business  
Southern Methodist University

Wendy Ma
Assistant Dean and Director of MBA Programs
Sauder School of Business
University of British Columbia

Colleen McMullen-Smith 
Director, Diversity Strategies and Programs
Tepper School of Business
Carnegie Mellon University

Michael Robinson
Associate Director - MBA Admissions
Columbia Business School
Columbia University

Kellie Sauls
Associate Director of Admissions
Darden Graduate School of Business
University of Virginia

Gabriela Snyder  
Associate Director, MBA Admissions
The Wharton School
University of Pennsylvania

Deena Williams
Associate Director of Admissions
Kellogg School of Management

Bridget A. Wilson
Admissions Counselor
Native American Community Relations
Office of Undergraduate Admissions     
University of California, Berkeley

GMAC Staff

Nicole M. Chestang
Chief Client Officer

Susan Motz
Vice President, Client Services

Camille F. Leverett
Director, Diversity Initiatives

Cynthia Alva
Program Manager, Diversity Initiatives

GMAC
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