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MBA Admissions Mashup: Diversity & Inclusion

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Every Wednesday, we share a round-up of the latest news from admissions blogs at the top business schools. This week’s MBA Admissions Mashup takes a look at what business schools and MBAs are doing to promote diversity and inclusion on campus and we’ve sprinkled in several admissions tips…just in time for your MBA interview or a Round 3 target deadline.

Diversity & Inclusion

In a Q&A with Gus Zhao (Tuck ‘17), we learn about Tuck Pride, a celebration to promote LGBTQ awareness on campus, and what it means to Gus that Dartmouth / Tuck is such an inclusive campus: “I think it’s very inclusive here. That’s the reason I chose Tuck. When I visited, I saw that the kind of connections between people have here are so much more intense compared to a lot of peer schools in the States. And then when I actually came here, I found out it was all true. My observations were grounded in reality. People have this kind of community awareness that’s very much within their heart. People are very aware of the importance of diversity and inclusiveness.”

Duke / Fuqua Daytime MBA Noelle Kelly (Class of 2017) writes about how (as an applicant) she appreciated Duke’s MBA Workshop for Minority Applicants (one of the flagship events for Fuqua Admissions, as well as for student organizations like the Black and Latino MBA Organization (BLMBAO) and Business in Africa (BIA) Club). “I attended the workshop as a prospective student, and it definitely helped me solidify that Fuqua was the right place for me. Prospective students had the opportunity to engage with current students and over 70 alumni who came back to share their stories, give career advice and share why they think Fuqua is such a special place.”

As part of February’s Black History Month, Iffy Akwule, MBA ‘17 at Yale SOM wrote about the importance of celebrating diversity during Yale’s first “BlackOut” A Celebration of AfroHeritage at Yale SOM. “As students who embody various identities within the African diaspora, yet who all identify as black, we wanted to honor this diversity and unity at the same time. We felt that it was necessary to highlight the beauty, positivity, resilience, and richness of AfroHeritage, and set out to create a program that would truly embody this celebratory and uplifting spirit.”

Yale SOM truly took the cake when it came to celebrating diversity this month. In addition to BlackOut, Yale MBAs celebrated its annual International Week, a celebration of the campus’ diversity. In addition to an International Food Fest, there was Global Trivia, workshops on Travel Etiquette, and more! Check out the video on the Yale SOM Blog on what makes #OneSOM special.

Admissions Tips

With Round 3 Deadlines nearing, we’re sure some prospective MBAs are wondering whether it’s even worth applying. Dartmouth / Tuck assuaged any fears about a “late” application: ‘Is April competitive? Yes, but is the January round not competitive? Are there any spots left? Again yes, the admissions committee is prepared for great candidates that may apply later into the process. Are there any scholarships awarded? Yes, it’s still possible to receive a scholarship. Can you still get a room in the dorms? Yes, the lottery happens in June, just after results are announced. Can you still join a pre-term program with everyone else? Of course.”

What about that ambiguous “optional essay”? Is it really optional? The short answer is yes. Unless you have something of value to add that isn’t already address in the other aspects of your application (other essays, data forms, resume, etc), we advise that you leave this blank and move on. However, there are special circumstances where writing the optional essay can be used to address / alleviate any concerns that the adcom may have. Babson / Olin Dean of Graduate Admissions Petia Whitmore took to the Babson blog to address this issue: “Tell us about your “shortcoming” but don’t make excuses. Explain the circumstances and address how you will ensure this is no longer a shortcoming. A quick example – your undergraduate GPA was low. Tell us why. Show us the steps you took – a post-undergraduate class where you performed really well, or a very strong GMAT score – that will alleviate the underlying concern about your academic ability.”

That’s all for this week! Join us next week for the latest edition of MBA Admissions Mashup.