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The Consortium: Promoting Minorities in American Business and Business Schools for 50 Years

Fewer than 8 percent of the 10,000 MBA students who graduate from top-tier business schools are African-American, Native American or Hispanic American. And according to a recent BloombergBusiness article, “corporate recruiters consistently bemoan the lack of qualified candidates of color, and they’re willing to pay a premium to nonwhite (and non-Asian) new hires.” In fact, among American MBA candidates, African-Americans and Hispanics who accepted jobs by April 2014 earned around $2,000 more per year than white and Asian grads, BloombergBusiness reports.

The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management is working to increase the numbers of qualified minority businessmen and women, one individual at a time. The Consortium believes the best way to increase representation of minority groups in American business and education is to provide additional opportunities for minorities to achieve an MBA education.

The Consortium was created in 1966 as a non-profit organization dedicated to helping African-American men gain the business skills they needed to secure positions in American corporations. It started by connecting just 21 African-American men with 27 corporate partners. By 1970, the Consortium quickly grew to include women, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans. From there it has continued to grow and help more and more individuals. To date, more than 8,000 of the country’s best MBA students have achieved their goals thanks in part to scholarships, new opportunities and the diverse network the Consortium provides.

One of the Consortium’s goals is to save minority MBA candidates time and money. When you become a Consortium Fellow, you’ll have access to a community of representatives from 80-plus corporate partners, 18 MBA programs and more than 8,000 Consortium alumni. As a Fellow, you’ll also have access to merit-based, full-tuition fellowships to some of the country’s top MBA programs. Of those admitted to the Consortium, approximately 70 percent are offered a scholarship. Last year, 420 fellowships covering full tuition and mandatory fees were awarded.

Becoming a Consortium Fellow is simple. Just as you apply for an MBA program, you can apply to the Consortium. Selection is based on academic records and evidence of commitment to the Consortium’s mission of promoting the inclusion of African-Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans in business. Your community activism, professional involvement and life experience will be reviewed within an application essay and letter of recommendation.

The key to becoming a Fellow at the Consortium is your commitment to change the perceptions of historically underrepresented groups. Involvement with one or more of the following organizations helps to demonstrate this commitment and can strengthen your candidacy:

  • Leadership Education and Development (LEAD)
  • Inroads
  • Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO)
  • Urban League
  • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
  • Fraternity or Sorority members activities that align with the mission
  • Campus chapters of NAACP, Urban League, or similar organizations
  • Local community organizations that align with the Consortium mission

There are several advantages to Consortium membership. For example, members can apply to up to six top U.S. MBA programs by completing a single application. That’s right. Instead of completing different applications for each individual school, as a Consortium member you can complete a single application and apply to all six. You also pay a discounted fee to apply.

In addition, Consortium members have access to a variety of webinars and chats to help prospective MBA candidates make the right decisions about their education, career and future. These events offer information on member schools and how to build a strong application, as well as more information on the Consortium itself. The Consortium admissions process opens annually on August 15th. The first-round deadline is October 15th, and the second-round deadline is January 5th.

Each year, the Consortium holds an annual Orientation Program & Career Forum. The Forum gathers 1,200 MBA prospects, university representatives, corporate partner representatives and alumni for an intensive five-day conference of preparatory events, networking opportunities, job interviews and socializing. The Forum—the highlight of the year for students, alumni, schools and corporate partners—offers a series of seminars and workshops delivering useful, real-world career development advice directly to students from the best education institutions and corporations in the country.

Not sure if the Consortium is right for you? Prospective MBA applicants can check out the Consortium Blog to learn more about the program. Full of detailed information about anything and everything that matters to the Consortium, the blog is available to members and non-members alike.

For MBA students, alumni and corporations, the Consortium offers an opportunity to increase diversity in MBA programs and the workplace. According to a recent article in BloombergBusiness, Consortium CEO Peter Aranda said that elite business schools are kidding themselves if they think they are doing all they can to promote diversity. “They believe that the efforts that they are doing right now are giving them all of the candidates [who] exist,” he told Bloomberg. “Everyone’s kind of stuck in the same place.” The role of the Consortium is to help people get unstuck.

There’s still time to apply by the January 5, 2016, deadline.

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About the Author


Kelly Vo    

Kelly Vo is a writer who specializes in covering MBA programs, digital marketing, and personal development.

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