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In most MBA programs, the diversity trend is down

Enrollment among underrepresented minorities is increasing, but at a slower rate for programs that are not affiliated with The Consortium.

Several weeks ago, I outlined the urgency demanded of U.S. corporations to respond to demographic trends. Those trends show a precipitous decline in the number of Caucasians as a percentage of the total U.S. population from 1960 to 2015, and substantial growth among “underrepresented minorities” — African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans.

The urgency is required because U.S. markets are clearly changing. Companies will fail if they are not positioned to develop and sell products and services that serve an increasingly diverse market. Caucasian Americans will comprise less than half the U.S. population by the year 2043 — down from 80 percent in 1960 and 62 percent today.

But as we’ll see, if recent trends among the nation’s top MBA programs is any indication, the pipeline for diverse leadership talent isn’t prepared to serve U.S. corporations well.

Using data I’ve collected through my role as CEO of The Consortium, I’ve compared the enrollment in 2003 and 2010 at the top 50 MBA programs around the nation in two categories: total enrollment and enrollment among “URMs” — underrepresented minorities.

The good news? Enrollment among underrepresented minorities bucked the overall enrollment trend from 2003 to 2010. Across the board, total enrollment dropped nearly 6.8 percent, while URM enrollment grew a marginal 2.6 percent.

Among the 50 top MBA programs in the United States, The Consortium represents 18 of them. At those schools, the news is even better.


Total MBA enrollment at Consortium-affiliated schools fell, yes, but, only 3.9 percent — a little more than half the rate overall rate. Non-Consortium-affiliated programs saw their total MBA enrollment drop 7.7 percent from 2003 to 2010.

And how about enrollment among underrepresented minorities? Between 2003 and 2010, Consortium-affiliated MBA programs saw enrollment grow nearly 30 percent, compared to a decline of about 8.3 percent at non-Consortium-affiliated programs. In 2010, schools affiliated with The Consortium outpaced non-member schools by 37 percent in terms of URM enrollment.

While this is good news for the work we’re doing at The Consortium, and suggests we have our eye on the ball, it’s worth pointing out that in 2010, URM enrollment represented only 11.7 percent of total MBA enrollment. The work of The Consortium — our member schools, corporate partners and alumni — contributed 4.23 percent to that total.

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