First: Why do we say “Asian-American” and “African-American” and “Native American” – but not “Caucasian-American”? Shouldn’t we start to use that explicit label? Who cares that Caucasians are the majority. Just saying that Caucasians are “American” means that when we say “American” we expect it to mean “a white person” which is a flaw of logic. Americans come in all these colors. What’s up with the way we label things?
That’s a side note. Our post today is on something directly related to what’s happening in admissions at these top MBA programs.
EssaySnark is issuing a statement today to all of the admissions professionals at the top MBA programs at Harvard, Columbia, Wharton, Duke, and everywhere:
POST YOUR ADMISSIONS DATA BY RACE.
There are a few bschools — but only a few — that publish the percentages of their incoming classes in different categories, and none of them actually publish the percentages by race. We don’t see any schools post actual data on applications received by race or ethnicity, and the data on their student body make-up is often abbreviated and summarized. A very few programs are more detailed.
But most schools? Most schools get cutesie.
They describe their student body based on percentages, in categories, but they don’t describe how they’re defining the categories.
This causes a problem because the schools can effectively hide behind the ambiguity. There are intersecting issues involving race, class, and access in the U.S. involved here, and we appreciate that it’s complicated. But we believe the schools should do better.
Asian-Americans are a minority in the U.S. However, Asian-American applicants tend to be overrepresented in the pools of candidates trying for top educational programs.
When a school reports on the percentage of their class who are minority students, should they include Asian-Americans?
Yes of course. They are minorities in America. But they’re not a minority of the pool. It can even be quite difficult for highly qualified Asian-American candidates to get in because of the level of competition they face.
You’d think Americans would only be competing against other Americans. Like, Asian-Americans would be competing against Caucasian Americans. But that’s not really how it happens. A school doesn’t want to have an entering student body share too many of the same characteristics. If you get a huge percentage of the applicant pool from people of the same demographic, then the adcom will want to limit the number of apps from that demographic that they accept.
A typical American school has between 30 and 40% international students. So we have 60 to 70% Americans or U.S. residents. There’s often numbers of like 15% of “minorities” — but given how many applications the schools get from Asian-Americans, it would be fairly easy for them to have a “minority student” population of 15% and yet only a small handful of BIPOC students.
BIPOC is the acronym that’s now being used to represent the minority population of America that has been treated the worst. It means Black Indigenous Person of Color. So, the people that Americans took land from. The people that Americans took liberty from.
Truly, Americans have treated pretty much ALL other races and ethnicities horribly at one time or another. White Americans don’t tend to speak of the Japanese internment camps during WWII, but that happened. It’s not like we’ve been welcoming to people from Asia — and particularly right now, there has been increasing violence directed towards Asians out of prejudice and ignorance surrounding coronavirus.
However, the current social consciousness-raising has in large part been about police brutality and violence against African-Americans in particular, and historically speaking, they are parts of our population who’ve had it the worst.
There’s the stereotype of the overachieving Asian-American applicant with the 770 GMAT score and a 3.8 GPA from UCLA. There are lots of African-American applicants with similar profiles too, but nowhere near the same numbers as those of Asian-American heritage.
The problem is when the schools lump them together in their class profile as “U.S. minorities” or a similar label.
If a school reports as “Underrepresented Minority” that typically is more like this BIPOC definition. Underrepresented — because of lack of opportunities, systemic racism, the deck stacked against them.
As an example, our notes show that for the Class of 2016, Kellogg reported that 26% of their class were minority students. Wow, 26%! They had 36% international students that year, and just to be thorough in sharing the data, 37% women. They’re now at 34% internationals and 46% women for the Class of 2020 so that’s certainly an improvement on the gender part. That minority thing though? Apparently that was including all non-White Americans, and the largest part of that category of student is the Asian-Americans who have higher numbers of applications. Of the 26% minorities, only 12% were in that “underrepresented” label of African American, Native American, or Hispanic/Latinx. Presumably, that means that the 14% were the Asian-Americans.
It’s not that we believe schools should be accepting fewer Asian-Americans — not at all. But many schools have been able to hide their rather dismal records of who is getting accepted.
This is a majorly complicated thing. EssaySnark called out Yale SOM on diversity many years ago This is not a new issue. The schools have all tried to increase diversity. In more recent years, things have improved, especially with the efforts of The Consortium and Management Leaders for Tomorrow and other such organizations focusing on increasing the numbers of these underrepresented populations. But there is still a massive problem — and the fact is that the reporting at most schools is opaque.
This is unacceptable.
Wharton only like last year started posting the percentage of LGBTQ+ students (5%) and we have yet to see other schools do the same for that population. Why don’t these schools share these truths about the results of their own outreach efforts? If these schools care about diversity so much, why can’t they SHOW us what they are producing from the work they are supposedly doing to bring more students of color into their programs?
Greater transparency on the makeup of their business school classes is IMPERATIVE.
NYU has done better than most at carving out the figures for underrepresented minorities compared to U.S. minorities , but they’re one of the only schools that does so, and even that isn’t as granular as it needs to be.
The public also should be given application statistics broken down by race. Why don’t the schools provide that? Why aren’t they publishing the numbers of candidates in these different demographic categories? The systems of society are broken, but how can we even tell how broken they are if we don’t get a chance to see the reality of the brokenness?
As all business schools teach: You can only improve what you measure.
We know that these schools track all of this data very very closely.
It’s time to PUBLISH this data and allow the world to see the reality of race and MBA admissions by school.