An MBA degree provides an advanced education and knowledge at the management level where strategies are developed, and real changes can happen. The value of this degree type provides an individual with the business language, increased career opportunities, and a level of confidence that positions you for authority. This is especially important for women. Attending an MBA program allows individuals from various backgrounds, experiences, and academic fields, to be exposed to others that will help them build on their communities and organizations. It is interesting how diverse life experiences can add value to the learning experience. The business community is no different. It is no secret anymore that MBA programs need to include D&I programs. In turn, such programs benefit from having community leaders with MBAs. Business schools need to prepare leaders for the everchanging landscape of economic systems and the organizations that are a part of this ecosystem. Having master’s degree programs help to fuel organizations with innovation and a competitiveness that everyone benefits from in the end.
Good for Business
Diversity and Inclusion is not just right but it is good for business. The focus is not that diversity needs to be a necessity, but it is important to fuel business growth while representing all the stakeholders impacted. The same network access from the MBA program is brought into the business to broaden participation. This has proven to be successful for women and minorities. Their expertise and experience help by
- Addressing the gender equity gaps
- Providing preparation to deal with the male-dominated environment
- Maximizing the firm’s profits
- Bringing more compassion to the business
However, the good ol’ boy culture of business schools of the past is a perfect mirror reflecting what you’ll find at the top levels of companies and corporations around the globe: the lack of women and minorities. How then can we address the diversity related plagues that are so apparent in companies, organizations, and our communities?
D&I education, strategies, and mere presence of such individuals should be able to detect biases and deconstruct them but that is just part of the solution. Obtaining an MBA degree allows professionals to be more effective at their jobs. The focus should not be on correcting what has already happened but getting to the root of the problem. The processes, alignment of business goals, and different perspectives are guaranteed to bring organizations more success.
Good for Education
With women students comprising 38% of the incoming class across all full-time MBA programs in 2018, universities are struggling to close one area of diversity themselves. In her New York Times article, prize-winning investigative reporter and best-selling author Jodi Kantor shared women struggle with class participation. This is also one of the key behaviors needed at the business table to make an impact as a leader. This additional preparation could increase as they benefit from exposure and the support of the universities driving to strengthen their power and influence.
According to the Graduate Management Admission Council, African American and Hispanic American MBA candidates rate program quality and reputation to be important in their selection criteria. The report goes on to say, “Treating diversity as a value proposition underscores its role in creating competitive advantages and success for the school, the business programs, students, and graduates in today’s increasingly global and diverse society.” D&I should be considered a value add to higher education and to the business world.
The overarching theme that is quite apparent when you are viewing D&I from a higher education or business perspective is that each area can benefit from the other. It is necessary for the two perspectives to make mirroring the community which they serve a top priority. The work of achieving a master’s degree or climbing the corporate ladder does not need to change. What needs to change is the access, equity and equality in opportunity, and having the same level of focus as revenue and profits for business; a quality, relevant education for colleges and universities.