WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.—Wake Forest University’s Babcock Graduate School of Management is serious about answering a challenge that faces graduate business schools across the country—increasing minority enrollment.
“Minority recruitment is not just a minority issue,” says Associate Director of Admissions Kellie Sauls. “It’s a business issue.”
The Babcock School hosted a Management Leadership for Tomorrow MBA Prep Lab May 10-11. The seminar was the latest of several strategic initiatives the school has undertaken to encourage individuals from under-represented populations to pursue graduate business education.
Sauls was also a catalyst for the recent start-up of a National Black MBA Collegiate Chapter on campus. She works closely with Assistant Dean Nat Irvin, who leads the initiative for It’s All About Business which is a two-week program that teaches college students from under-represented groups business fundamentals, including accounting, finance, statistical skills, marketing, economics and organizational behavior.
“These initiatives demonstrate that the Babcock School doesn’t just give lip service to diversifying our student body,” adds Sauls, a minority herself with a special interest in recruiting men and women from under-represented groups. “In addition to these programs, we have class leaders who refuse to marginalize themselves when it comes to minority recruitment. We’ll need all of these components to succeed.”
Nationally, blacks and Hispanics account for approximately 23 percent of undergraduate enrollment. However, at the top MBA schools, blacks and Hispanics represent only seven percent of the student body. The Babcock School hopes to increase its minority enrollment to 20 percent by 2010.
During the MLT seminar, the school hosted a wine tasting and dinner at Childress Vineyards to expose the participants to the North Carolina business culture. Participants learned how the state’s agricultural environment is transitioning from tobacco fields to vineyards. The following day, participants attended workshops to help them understand the MBA application process, present a strong resume and define their motivation. Irvin worked with the participants.
“You’re talking about change agents—every last one of them,” says Irvin, founder of Future Focus 2020, a nonprofit organization that examines social, political, economic, technological and environmental issues expected to have the greatest effects on urban communities by the year 2020. “These young people are not only going to shape the business world of tomorrow but the world of tomorrow. They asked tough and engaging questions. Many of them had read the “Arrival of the Thrivals” and identified with the concept. Every MBA school in the country will be after these kids.”
In addition to MLT, the Babcock School participates in the following minority-driven initiatives:
- Forté Foundation: A consortium of major corporations, top business schools and influential nonprofit organizations that has become a powerful change agent directing talented women toward leadership roles in business.
- National Black MBA Association Conference: Provides information about MBA schools across the nation and offers a pipeline development program designed to provide exposure to business education.
- National Society of Hispanic MBAs: Provides programs similar to NBMBA that are targeted to Hispanics.
- Recruitment visits at minority colleges and universities, including: Winston-Salem State University, North Carolina A&T State University, Bennett College, and Salem College.
ABOUT MANAGEMENT LEADERSHIP FOR TOMORROW
The mission of MLT’s MBA Preparation program is to help young professionals apply successfully to leading graduate business schools. During a 12-month period, culminating in their application submissions, participants receive one-on-one coaching from experienced MLT staff and current and former MBA admissions officers, as well as attend seminars focusing on key elements of the application process. Specific areas of emphasis include GMAT preparation, individual work-plan development and execution to address perceived strengths and weaknesses, school research and selection, industry research and career guidance, writing skills, interviewing skills, financial planning, and application/essay strategy. For more information, visit www.ml4t.org.