Graduate Management News

July 2014

The Newsletter of the Graduate Management Admission Council

The Corporate Perspective on Diversity Recruitment

Corporate diversity representatives are constantly looking to attract top, diverse talent from graduate business schools.

Diversity in MBA Programs

The following is a 2014 GMAC Annual Conference summary featuring Fatimah Gilliam, Founder & CEO, The Azara Group, Erika Irish-Brown, Senior VP, Enterprise Diversity Recruiting & Program Management Executive, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Jennifer Kaplan, Head of Diversity Campus Recruiting, Credit Suisse, Stephanie Roemer, Diversity Recruiting & Learning Manager, Freddie Mac, and Moderator Kofi Kankam, Founder & CEO,

Corporate diversity representatives are constantly looking to attract top, diverse talent from graduate business schools. However, the definition of diversity varies by business. Across the board, it encompasses mostly gender and racial or ethnic groups such as African American, Hispanic, and Native American. In some cases, it also includes a broader range of criteria such as geography or academic background. Either way, subject matter experts agree that the scope of diversity should not be limited to representation; it must also account for the inclusion and success of underrepresented minorities.

In this session, the presenters identified the main drivers for diversity recruitment as a combination of business-guided decisions as well as ethical reasons.

Diana Sloan"In other words, diversity recruitment is pursued by corporations because it is the right thing to do, but it is also necessary to have data that supports these efforts to ensure buy-in from a business standpoint. For instance, diversity is a recruiting edge when approaching Millennials because they expect a diverse environment and are attracted to it."

Diana Sloan
Director of Graduate Marketing & Alumni Relations
Iowa State University

Beyond relying on rankings, business schools can take alternative approaches to attract diverse candidates. The alumni network in combination with the MBA office staff is an invaluable resource to achieve first hand connectivity and present the endless opportunities that become available by being part of that community. An additional item of note for business schools engaged in diversity recruitment is that candidates must be able to see diversity within the current community, including students, faculty, staff, and student organizations or clubs.

Besides looking internally, it is helpful to institute mentorship or coaching programs within the business school to help diverse individuals succeed. On-campus programs and conferences are also an excellent opportunity to show prospective students the strong ties between the school and businesses that represent potential employers. And, for those schools with smaller programs that may not be able to attract corporate recruiters on their own, the recommendation is to form partnerships with other similar programs in the area in order to make larger recruitment events possible.

Business schools ranked outside of the top 50 can make sure that their best candidates are found by corporate recruiters. Strategies to accomplish this include building a targeted pipeline aligned with company needs, getting visibility by partnering with diversity organizations, and having alumni become advocates for the school at their company. It is also crucial for non-target schools to prepare candidates well in advance of having them meet with corporate recruiters, and making sure that only top talent will be representing the program.

Regardless of their ranking, business schools can help students succeed by following best practices that will attract corporate recruiters and create strong long-lasting relationships with companies.

A special thanks to all of the 2014 Annual Conference attendees who volunteered to submit conference session summaries. Find Out What You Missed!