In a recent survey conducted by Expansion Magazine, the Simon Graduate School of Business was ranked as the 26th best business school for Mexican managers. The list is called “The Best Global M.B.A.s 2006” and the Simon School’s inclusion in that list underscores its efforts – and the greater University’s efforts – to increase diversity.

Owned by Time, Inc., Expansion Magazine is a leading business publication in Mexico. It is a well-respected magazine in the Hispanic world. According to a press release from the Simon School, the survey measures market value and educational experience. More specifically, the criteria include academic quality, number of foreign students, return on global investment and value in the Mexican market.

The Simon School has a history of leadership in diversity. In 2003, the school was ranked No. 15 in a list of the top 25 business schools for Hispanics in Hispanic Business Magazine.

“Increasing and promoting diversity is a priority at our school,” Simon School Director of Marketing and Communications Charla Kucko said.

The business school is one of the country’s most internationally diverse in terms of the percentage of students who come from different countries – a position that it has maintained for the past 25 years. It was one of the first business schools to join The Consortium, a national organization for promoting diversity in American business. Also, students and staff annually attend conferences such as the National Black M.B.A.

Conference and the National Society for Hispanic M.B.A. Conference.

The University as a whole is working hard to improve diversity. The College of Arts and Sciences has put together a Diversity Roundtable that consists of both students and faculty. According to its mission statement, it is “charged with establishing an educational forum or exchange by which diversity can be supported and affirmed.”

President Seligman has also commissioned a University-wide task force on faculty diversity and inclusiveness, headed by Deputy to the President Lynne Davidson.

“We look at diversity issues throughout the University,” Davidson said. The committee, founded in February 2006, held its last meeting Wednesday morning and plans on issuing a report to the president early next week.

The administration of the Simon School is very pleased with the results of the Expansion survey.

“It’s been in our DNA for quite a while,” Simon School Dean Mark Zupan said. “We are very happy about it and proud about it.”

Zupan says that the school’s diversity stems from the economic orientation of the school and the school’s belief that the world is becoming more global.

However, the Simon School still has room for improvement. A recent study by the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education shows that the nation’s leading business schools are faltering in increasing the number of black students and faculty. UR is used as an example – only 4 of out of 109 first-year students this year were black, or 3.7 percent.

Dean Zupan is aware of the problem and is eager to fix it. “We hope to be more aggressive and more successful in that regard,” he said.

Zupan stressed the importance of the Early Leaders program in providing opportunities for minorities and women. The program invites younger students with less than three years of work experience, usually recent graduates, to pursue their M.B.A. in the Simon School. As stated in a report, it is “designed to help younger students get an early start on their educational and professional objectives.” The intention is to draw in students who might not otherwise have considered M.B.A. studies.

“This type of program offers minorities and women the opportunity to follow through on their education without a break,” Kucko said. “The break can lead to family or work obligations that can preclude them from getting their M.B.A.”

The report uses women who would have otherwise focused on building a family as an example.

Dean Zupan is excited about the direction of the school and of the University as a whole. The Simon School is already one of the top business schools in the country. The Wall Street Journal recently ranked it sixth in a list of the top regional business schools in the country and the school has received many other honors. Zupan knows that the improvement in diversity is a step in the right direction.

“We’re working on building a community in the current student body,” Zupan said.Wrobel can be reached at bwrobel@campustimes.org



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