In the world of higher education, diversity is a ubiquitous concept that can be tailored to each student’s individual experience. In business school, for example, we all wear a myriad of hats, from former banker to foodie to dance floor enthusiast. As a student of color, however, diversity is deeply personal. The enrollment of underrepresented minorities in top business schools has remained largely static in recent years, and the pipeline of potential students remains disproportionately small. Being able to attend an institution that values diversity was invaluable to me as a prospective student, and is an integral part of why I have been able to thrive at Wharton.
As a member of the African American MBA Association (AAMBAA) and co-president of the Wharton Hispanic American MBA Association (WHAMBAA), I have benefitted tremendously from the support network that these organizations provide. The Wharton experience is exhilaratingly fun, yet dizzying and challenging at times. Having the opportunity to build a network of peers with every background imaginable is priceless and an important source of learning, in and outside of the classroom. Just as importantly, though, is having a community of students with similar experiences and cultural affinities, and engaging in dialogue about what diversity means in the world outside of Wharton.
Every year, AAMBAA hosts the annual Whitney M. Young Conference, the longest running student-led conference at Wharton (that is quite a legacy!), providing students with an opportunity to meet alumni and to explore how business innovation can impact issues important to them. Beyond offering academic and professional programming, including tutoring and support with recruiting at top firms, AAMBAA and WHAMBAA know how to have fun. From AAMBAA’s Champagne Tuesdays to WHAMBAA Wednesdays, and the occasional late night afterparty (or Scandal viewing party), we know how to work hard and play hard. We’re a family, and I know that we will be one long after we graduate.
Together, we are working on various initiatives designed to strengthen our community and to raise awareness among our peers about the many ways diversity impacts our personal and professional lives. Partnering with Out4Biz and WWIB, we plan to introduce the first-ever Diversity Week at Wharton. The week of programming will feature speakers and workshops to help us better understand how to exercise our leadership in the business world while paying it forward and serving as a voice for our respective communities. The fact that Wharton is so student-led is critical to us building this program. It’s this culture that allows us, as well as any other club or student on campus, to bring forth ideas and help them materialize. It’s part of what makes this place so special.
Check out blackatwharton.com, the new AAMBAA video, and follow #diversityatwharton on Instagram. Also, be on the lookout for the new WHAMBAA website later this spring!
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