The benefits of earning an MBA from a top-ranked business school are profound—it allows students to future-ready their careers, explore new industries or functions, accelerate their career path, and expand and diversify their networks. Yet fewer and fewer students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups are applying to MBA programs around the country. This year, less than 5% of domestic students in the Berkeley Haas Full-time MBA Program identified as Black or African American.
As a public institution, Berkeley Haas has an obligation to work against systemic racism and build more justice into our society. And as business leaders, we believe that more representation in business by underrepresented MBA graduates will change the world by strengthening our business cases and decisions. New discoveries won't be found on the same well-worn paths—we need new ideas, perspectives and approaches.
Last year, the Haas School of Business established a first-of-its-kind endowment that will provide tuition support to MBA students with a degree from a Historically Black College or University (HBCU). HBCUs emerged in the 19th century to provide undergraduate and graduate educational opportunities to people of African descent who were excluded from existing institutions. As opportunities have increased at predominantly white institutions for people of African descent, HBCUs have continued to thrive and grow their student communities to include non-Black students. As Haas looks to the next generation of leaders, HBCUs are a vital part of our recruitment strategy. This year, thanks to the first Fellowship award, we were able to recruit an amazing graduate from Howard University, Brittany Jacob!
The HBCU MBA Fellowship was established by several generous founding members: Mike and Kelly Smith, Lisa Jones, Monica Stevens, Eric McKissack, Jessica Lindl. We consider this initiative of great strategic importance as it will not only increase diversity at Haas right now, but create a pathway for HBCU alumni applicants for decades to come.
Together we have raised $626,000 for the Fellowship to date but this is just a portion of what is needed to make this a permanent annual source of tuition support.
We ask you to support our goal of increasing underrepresented representation of students at Haas and creating a pathway for more equitable representation in business.