Diversity was an important factor for Christopher Neal when he chose to attend Northern Illinois University (NIU) as a business student. Transitioning to college is challenging. And that’s exactly why, Neal says, it’s important to have students around who have been in your shoes and know your struggles.
“It helps show other minorities that they can succeed and that they are not alone,” he says. “It helps minorities feel comfortable, especially when starting a new chapter in their lives.”
Neal grew up on the west side of Chicago. Throughout life, he says, he has faced a number of obstacles due to his minority identity.
“In life, I have faced many obstacles due to my heritage,” he says. “One of them being held to a different standard than my peers growing up due to my skin tone. I had to work twice as hard to be at the same level as my peers.”
When he came to NIU, he says, he found a new sense of community that helped him to overcome challenges as a minority.
“NIU showed me that all students are held to the same standards and no one is treated differently,” Neal says. “NIU encourages everyone to be different, because it makes every single person that much more unique. The faculty wants to see students succeed, and professors are always there for each student whenever they need help. I could not have asked for a better university to be a part of.”
AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN
Northern Illinois University’s College of Business enrolled the most underrepresented U.S. minority students out of all 88 schools participating in Poets&Quants’ 2018 Best Undergraduate Business Schools by enrolling nearly 45% U.S. minority students in the Fall of 2018.
Neal says those numbers don’t lie.
“When I walk into the classroom, or even take a look around the atrium, I can see that the school is very diverse,” he says.
And that diversity also bleeds into the overall learning experience at NIU.
“You can not only see it physically, but you can see when students come together for projects,” Neal says. “Different ideas are brought up from different people, which sparks a creative discussion. This helps students with problem solving using multiple perspectives.”
Monique Bernoudy, assistant vice president for Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at NIU, says a diverse student body is critical to affording everyone an equal opportunity to engage and learn among one another.
“Many of our students matriculate from communities that while diverse may also be segregated by design and systemic oppression,” she says. “A diverse environment affords our students the opportunity to engage with one another and learn about differences, exploring cultures, and engage in civic discourse about societal issues.”
OTHER SCHOOLS LEADING IN DIVERSITY NUMBERS
NIU was the only B-school in the U.S. to break 40% for US minority students. But there were a number of other schools that scored highly in this category as well. The Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University was next with 38% U.S. minority
students. The College of New Jersey and the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management followed with 37% U.S. minority students.
Some of the lower performing schools in this category?
Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s Foisie Business School and University of New Hampshire’s Paul College of Business and Economics enrolled a mere 4% of U.S. minorities. The third lowest rate was 6% at the Michigan State University’c Broad College of Business.