Under Reported: Great Gains in Minority Graduate Business School Enrollment

The news last week that more women graduated with PhD’s than men did in the last academic year was remarkable, and made me very curious to read the report from the Council of Graduate Schools to see what other trends weren’t reported on in the Washington Post piece.  And, behold, under reported news…

The report doesn’t only discuss the 50% milestone of women, but has some extremely interesting things to say about minority enrollment in Masters and PhD studies in the US.  I became interested in this topic when I did some work for the PhDProject in its inaugural 1994 year.  The best way I’ve heard the PhDProject described is by supporter and Dean at North Carolina A&T State Univ, Dr. Quiester Craig ”If you have diversity in front of the classroom, you’ll have diversity in the classroom.” Consider this: there were only 300 minority business school professors in 1994. Today there are more than 1,000 – thanks in large part to the work of PhDProject.

Now let’s jump back to the College of Graduate Schools report.  The largest % gain in graduate business school enrollment from 1999 – 2009 were from African-Americans – an astonishing 18.4% annually.

The story for first time graduate school enrollees in business is equally as strong: Hispanics/Latinos increased their enrollment by 15.3% annually. And the African American first time enrollment pattern averaged a 9.8% annual increase, without the same dramatic demographic shift seen in the Census data.

Something new and positive  is happening, with graduate business education.  Now,  I’ve not seen data, nor claims, that the work of the PhDProject and similar institutions are the primary driver of the change. However, at the minimum, I’m certain a few percentage points are related to efforts to diversify the front of the business classroom.

16 years is not a great deal of time to create fundamental change in the business school landscape – but the data clearly proves, it is occurring.


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