Coalition Cites Decline in Minority Business Degrees
Despite a robust economy and greater emphasis on business diversity in the 1990s, African American, Hispanic and American Indian undergraduate students showed less interest in earning business degrees in that decade, a new analysis of government statistics shows.
The findings are outlined in “The Pipeline Report: The Status of Minority Participation in Business Education,” released earlier this month by the Diversity Pipeline Alliance, a coalition working to attract more minorities to business careers.
The coalition called for increased efforts to draw more minority undergraduates into studying business. Without it, the group says, the future impact on corporate diversity will be devastating. While the current recession has slowed hiring in many industries, it is a critical time to spur new interest in business studies, the group says.
Looking at the most recent data available, the report found that:
• In 1989, more than a quarter — 26 percent — of bachelor’s degrees earned by African Americans were in business. By 1998, the number had dropped to 21 percent, or roughly one in five.
• In 1989, 23 percent of bachelor’s degrees earned by Hispanics were in business. In 1998, the number declined to 19 percent.
• The number of American Indians receiving business degrees also declined, with the percentage falling from 21 percent to 16 percent in the same time period.
The report found more encouraging news regarding minorities at the graduate level. In the 1990s, minority MBA-earners increased at roughly the same pace as minority master’s degree holders in all fields. Still the report sounds a cautionary note, pointing out that the percentage of minorities who take the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) has remained at a relatively constant, low rate for the past five years. GMAT test-taking is considered a leading indicator of future business school enrollment.
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