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4 Ways Georgetown Focuses on Diversity

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When it comes to the MBA classroom, diversity helps to create an environment where spirited debate, differing perspectives and innovation can exist. The more diverse the class, the better the classroom experience.

That’s exactly why the school places such a strong emphasis on accepting a diverse array of students. Its incoming 2016 Full-time MBA class is made up of 34 percent women, 28 percent minorities and 30 percent international students from 37 different countries, but the school doesn’t stop there.

Georgetown McDonough understands that it’s not just about accepting diverse students; it’s about creating a welcoming environment. The school has placed a strong focus on providing students from all backgrounds, ethnicities and genders with an opportunity to excel.

The Global Experience
“Students in our classrooms really reflect the globalization and diversity of the world, and McDonough’s ideals have always reflected our belief in creating a more inclusive community,” said Prashant Malaviya, senior associate dean of MBA programs. “Diversity is about more than just the number of under-represented minorities; it includes varying perspectives, creates a better learning environment and produces a better product, which is critical in a classroom.”

At Georgetown McDonough, diversity starts globally. And being located in Washington, D.C. (70.34 diversity index), it’s no wonder that the school attracts a global audience. In fact, 76 percent of McDonough’s incoming Full-time MBA class has lived, worked or studied abroad. That matters because it changes the classroom dynamic. When a professor asks a question in a McDonough MBA class, the discourse is guaranteed to be varied since three-quarters of the class can offer a perspective from outside the United States.

“At McDonough, our goal is to help students get out of their comfort zones and to seek relationships with individuals who are different from themselves,” said Shari Hubert, associate dean of MBA admissions. “For example, one of our MBA students who is a dual citizen of Mexico and Israel organized a luncheon language series to help her fellow international MBA students practice English, while also encouraging them to share their language with others. It demonstrates the core of our school’s culture—a generosity of spirit where we work in service to each other.”

To foster a more global outlook, all Full-time MBA students are required to participate in the Global Business Experience—a capstone course that helps students obtain a better understanding of how business is conducted around the world. In the past year, Full-time MBA students have consulted with companies in Shanghai, Lima, Bologna, Dubai, Mumbai and São Paulo. The key element of the program is teaching students how to solve problems across borders.

Under-Represented Minorities
For students who fall within under-represented minorities (11 percent), diversity and inclusion are critical to the Georgetown experience. The McDonough School of Business has focused on creating programming that brings students together instead of singling them out. While the school offers clubs focused on various affinities—such as the Black MBA Association and the Jewish Business Alliance—each club membership is open to anyone who believes in its mission and wants to be an ally.

“It’s important to think about diversity and inclusion in a way that includes, instead of singles out, different ethnicities or races,” said Kerry Pace, the associate dean for MBA programs. “That’s why all of our programming is designed to bring disparate groups together to provide a transformational MBA experience for everyone.”

In fact, diversity and inclusion are so vital to Georgetown McDonough that about a year and a half ago the MBA class decided to create a new position on the Student Government Association Board—the vice president of diversity and inclusion. The position looks holistically at all of the school’s diversity and inclusion initiatives and seeks opportunities to engage across campus.

Three years ago, Georgetown McDonough was invited to join the Consortium—the nation’s largest diversity network. The Consortium is dedicated to ensuring the equal representation of African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans in management careers, and this year, McDonough welcomed 20 Consortium MBA students—its largest group yet.

The value of the school’s relationship with the Consortium is twofold. Students in the program receive scholarships, mentorship and special access to companies, while a broader array of companies and organizations have started looking to Georgetown to recruit job talent—benefiting every student at McDonough.

“We’re committed to bringing in a class that truly reflects the diversity that exists both in and outside the United States,” said Hubert. “After all, what better time than in business school to explore how diverse teams can have a positive impact on performance and productivity? Our Georgetown community has really been enriched by our association with the Consortium. For instance, the co-president of Georgetown Women in Business, presidents of the Consulting Club, Net Impact Club and Black MBA Association, VP of diversity and inclusion and VP of community service all have been Consortium Fellows.”

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