Corporate Diversity Begins on Campus

There was a WSJ article of the same title. Basically, it said that companies should change their campus hiring strategies if they want to increase the representation of women and minorities. Having worked in Harvard career services for 18 years (1988 – 2006) I can tell you that the firms have been trying to increase their minority hiring for years, offering special internships for minorities and women. One major problem back then was that there weren’t many students to choose from, that the schools themselves needed to up their game and admit more minorities and women.

Back then, at the undergraduate level, the investment banking and consulting minority internships were filled mostly with international students. This was for two major reasons; the international students were stronger academically and many US minority students wanted to return to their communities and help mentor younger students. Few felt comfortable going to Wall Street where the culture was dominated by white males and few mentorship programs were in place. Who could blame them? International students jumped at these opportunities.

Some things have changed. Some haven’t. The article went on to say that years of aggressive recruiting efforts by admissions at the elite MBA schools have resulted in a more diverse classroom.

Harvard Business School has 42% women, 24% US ethnic minorities and 35% international students with 70 countries represented. For many years, the percentage of women was less than a third so that is a significant improvement. Hopefully soon it will be 50/50 women to men.

The Stanford numbers are similar; 41% women, 27% US minorities and 42% international from 63 countries.

The article went on to discuss another problem, which has always been a problem and one I can’t get my head around. Pay equality between men and women and whites and minorities. Women and minorities received fewer opportunities and received lower pay for the same positions. What’s that all about?

Equal pay for equal work. Equal opportunity for all. Private enterprise should be better than countries where cultures, politics, religion, and prejudices suppress human potential. Corporations should have several goals, certainly higher profits and a safe place to work, and we could add a few others including sustainability. The point is everyone working for a company should have the same goals in mind. Everyone wants economic freedom. Where in a country, priorities and what people think is right is often diverse and contrary to a single goal.

Kelsey Gee, “Corporate Diversity Begins on Campus” The Wall Street Journal article, 4/4/19 B5

Marc Cosentino

Marc, the world’s foremost authority on case interviewing has twenty seven years of experience with case questions. He has written well over a hundred cases, while coaching, preparing and training more than a hundred and fifty thousand students and alumni. He has written three books involving cases and consulting. Cosentino has given workshops to students at colleges and MBA programs for the last twenty seven years and has held training sessions for career services professionals on how to give cases and how to analyze a student’s performance.