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Almost always, the thinking of every prospective MBA applicant usually goes directly to the ranking of the school. As much as it is important to view the national ranking of every business school program, it is imperative that you evaluate your decision based your own personal and professional interest and goals.

When it comes the quality and reputation of your MBA program, you want to make sure the school is both accommodating and representative to your needs. Unlike other graduate school programs, MBA programs looks at a diverse pool of candidates. From age-to-age to background-to-background, every candidate, while representative of the standards and characteristics of the school, will display some sort of unique value to the program. And rightfully so. Any strong MBA program knows that diversity is a key component to the modern workplace. To go even further, successful businesses throughout a variety of different sectors have thrived on the idea of new and innovative perspectives.With business schools becoming one of the most international environments on both a national and global scale, it is important that future programs shape their applicant pool to replicate that high level of collaborative thinking.

In the grand scheme of things, the word ‘diversity’ has become a recent buzz word amongst business schools and professionals. Institutions have accepted the idea that diversity serves not only as a strategic differentiation between increasingly similar business school curricula, but its effect also creates a more robust academic and social experience for students. Traditionally, past MBA programs have been  dominated by early-to-mid twenty year old white males, a trend that has been highlighted for years. With the overwhelming amount of press on the inequality and injustice amongst the  education, wealth, and MBA opportunities certain candidates have received, women and minorities have made great strides within the past few years in bridging the gap that exist today. Currently, women and racial minorities have begun to shatter the glass ceiling at the highest echelons of corporate America. Their impact both in-and-out of the classroom has continued to create an organizational vision in leveraging diversity to achieve higher performance. But to continue this campaign, business schools need to provide more opportunities for women and minorities to learn and grow within the business and private sector.

One thing MBA programs should look to improve and develop are particular networking channels where prospective candidates can meet students, alumni, and other candidates from similar backgrounds. While there are already some pre-MBA programs dedicated to this cause such as Consortium and MLT, having an additional outlet for a college student or young professionals to access can do wonders in cultivating and fostering a stronger and more effective community. Yes, there are ‘coffee chats’ and MBA fairs. But the limitations, restrictions, and comfort level can oftentimes be intimidating. Providing this type of safe space where prospective candidates can ask overarching questions that is related to race, gender, or socio-economical background is something that will help benefit the overall MBA program and MBA community.

At the end of the day, many business schools, especially those within the top-ten, have done an incredible job increasing diversity within their campaigns. But if we are looking to truly make a strong and transformative change, many of these programs will need to provide stronger opportunities for both women and minority applicants and students.