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Resources for Minority MBA Students


The prospects for minority MBA program students continue to improve as an increasing number of schools prioritize a diverse student body. According to GMAC's Application Trends Survey, U.S. schools specifically targeted underrepresented populations* with special outreach. In fact, this candidate type was one of the top three who were targeted. With opportunities available for those who want to earn an MBA, learn more about MBA scholarships for minorities.

What percentage of current MBA students are minorities?

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, the number of underrepresented minorities (African American, Hispanic American and Native American) currently enrolled at the top 30 schools averages 13.4%. In contrast, nearly 40% of minority b-students attend traditionally black business schools. The precise numbers vary with each program, but business school advisors should be familiar with the percentages.

What factors should I consider when comparing programs?

There are several questions to ask yourself as when choosing a school. Look closely at statistics: many schools say they are the “most diverse,” but what do they use to support this statement? Study how the school addresses different kinds of diversity (cultural, sexual and physical). These numbers are available on school web sites but can be buried in different sections; it may be easier to request these statistics from an admissions counselor.

What do b-schools have in place to support minority students?

Each business school addresses the needs of minority MBA program students in a unique way, but many will provide some combination of the following:

  • Scholarships for incoming and returning minority business students
  • Minority student groups that work to increase minority visibility on campus, bring diversity-related issues to the table, provide support to minority students and help members network with leaders in the business community.
  • On-campus chapters of national minority business organizations and fraternities, like the National Association of Black Accountants.
  • Mentoring programs with business professionals.
  • Alumni societies to provide support and networking opportunities beyond college.

What types of MBA scholarships for minorities are available?

The amount of financial aid available to minority students is growing, although private schools can earmark specific funds for incoming minority students, whereas state institutions are constrained by anti-affirmative action measures. Numerous private scholarship opportunities for minority business students also exist, particularly for those in postgraduate programs. Unless otherwise mentioned, the organizations listed below offer multiple awards of different amounts that can range up to full tuition:

  • The National Society of Hispanic MBAs and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund have partnered to assist outstanding Hispanic students who plan to pursue Master’s Degrees in management and business.
  • The National Black MBA Association awards scholarships and fellowships to all minority students at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels.
  • The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management grants more than 300 MBA fellowships to minority students annually. In alliance with 14 colleges and universities, the CGSM offers merit-based scholarships.
  • The Robert A. Toigo Foundation works with 17 colleges and universities to support minority MBA students who plan to enter the finance industry. They offer scholarships, mentor programs, internships and job placement assistance.
  • The American Indian Science and Engineering Society is geared towards Native American students enrolled in hard sciences and engineering programs with some local chapters open to business students.
  • The Gates Millenium Scholars program is intended to increase the number of minority students enrolling in and completing undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

What other means of support are available?

Many business schools have mentoring programs that are designed to help outstanding minority students connect with leaders in the business community. In addition, there are also national mentoring and support groups, including:

  • The PhD Project serves as a resource for all minorities who would like to receive more information about business doctoral studies. Since inception, members of the PhD Project have seen a dramatic increase in the number of minority candidates in business doctoral programs.
  • Management Leadership for Tomorrow connects individuals who would like to pursue business studies with mentors in the community.
  • Sponsors for Educational Opportunity provides mentoring and internships for minority b-school undergraduates in order to develop lifelong networking opportunities and professional connections.

Each of these groups is also part of a larger organization called the Diversity Pipeline Alliance. The Diversity Pipeline Alliance brings groups together in order to provide support for minority b-school students through all stages of education up to the PhD level.

What are my job prospects?

Currently, there are very few minorities in executive and upper-level management positions, but this should improve: major corporations and Fortune 500 companies want to recruit minority workers. As the nation’s demographics change, executives seek managers who reflect the cultural composition of the country. More importantly, they want senior level employees who will bring new perspectives to the company’s agenda. Minorities are being recruited for these positions in order to become mentors for the next wave of minority business professionals.

Explanation of Terms

"Minority" can be defined as a group that differs from the majority of the population, particularly in terms of religion, culture, ethnic background, race, sexual orientation or physical ability.

The term "underrepresented populations" refers to racial or ethnic minorities that include the following groups of U.S. citizens: Hispanic American or Latino, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, and American Indian or Alaska Native. The category does not include Asian Americans. 

The number of African American, Hispanic American and Native American/Alaskan Native students enrolled in business school programs is significantly lower than the percent of the population they comprise; generally, they are considered to be the underrepresented groups in business.

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