A common objective for business schools across the country is development of leadership skills. For this reason, MBA programs utilize team-based assignments, incorporate leader development in the core curriculum, and include a plethora of leadership and service opportunities in co-curricular offerings.
As recently as 20 years ago, the C-Suite of the Fortune 500 was exclusively white and overwhelmingly male. Today, white males continue to dominate in the upper management ranks in the western corporate business world, but notable inroads are being made, while the complexion and gender of American middle management has evolved to much more closely reflect the general U.S. population. As millennials enter a workplace still occupied by baby boomers, gen Xers, and gen Ys, cultural and gender diversity is further complicated by generational differences. Combine this with the globalization of our markets and talent pools, and the premium on being able to effectively lead and participate in teams made up of people from a wide variety of backgrounds has never been higher.
Business schools that offer their students exposure to a diverse mixture of classmates to learn from and collaborate with prepare future global leaders. The most savvy of employers, as well as sophisticated prospective business students, find schools that offer a diverse learning environment significantly more attractive than schools that don’t.
Reaching Under-Represented Individuals
With a longstanding history of being committed to leadership, excellence, and inclusion, the University of St. Thomas (Minn.)has continued to make major investments in support of all three areas. The quality of the school’s business education is well
established in the Twin Cities and throughout the state with over 17,000 St. Thomas graduate business alumni carrying its reputation into the middle and upper management ranks of the state’s most prestigious corporations and financial institutions.
St. Thomas will realize a significantly enhanced diversity profile.
And while the St. Thomas name has not been well known outside of the upper Midwest, that’s increasingly changing since Dean Christopher Puto took the helm in 2002 and subsequently led a dramatic increase in the number of terminal degree-credentialed faculty, launched a new full-time MBA program, brought 160,000 square feet of new, state-of-the-art classroom and office space on line and, to top it all off, achieved AACSB International accreditation.
Dean Puto’s latest initiative addresses the student population. For the fall of 2012, a total of 15 full-tuition, two-year scholarships—each one valued at $56,000—are being offered to young professionals from under-represented minority backgrounds.
The initial response to the UST MBA Outreach Scholarship, announced in October, has far exceeded expectations. As a result of the scholarship offer, St. Thomas will realize a significantly enhanced diversity profile—and we anticipate an increase in the average level of professional experience. Furthermore, by building a class that offers the characteristics employers tell us they seek, we expect to grow the quality and diversity of employment opportunities for all UST graduates.
The scholarship is an investment in building a student body that looks more like a cross-section of 21st century business leadership. To adequately prepare our students for the modern workplace, we have made the diversification of our student body a strategic priority, giving students chances to collaborate and work in close-knit teams comprised of a wide variety of backgrounds.
The UST MBA Outreach Scholarship is creating buzz and engagement not only locally, but also nationally, generating application inquiries from talented, experienced professionals from several states. We believe that today’s scholarship recipients will be tomorrow’s successful and engaged alumni. Many will choose to make their mark in the Twin Cities, while others will pursue careers that take them across the country or around the world. Wherever they may go, our Outreach Scholarship alumni can be expected to spread the word about what the Twin Cities and UST has to offer, enhancing the reputation of St. Thomas as a key source for top talent and reaffirming the Twin Cities as a top destination for talented professionals from all backgrounds.