Diversity. Business schools promote it, strive for it, and often fall short of it. In the state of Indiana, a new effort is gaining steam to make diversity easier to achieve at the university level — and to boost ethnic minorities and women in the process.
Marian University, in Indianapolis, ranked 46th by P&Q this year, has activated a coalition of universities and stakeholders within the state of Indiana to launch a groundbreaking Diversity in Leadership program designed to help close gaps in educational attainment, wealth, skills, and opportunity for minorities and women. The program’s aim is to create more inclusive living, working, and learning communities, enhancing Central Indiana as a thriving regional ecosystem.
“This program looks to wrap the context of learning around real growth experiences, opportunities that are often not afforded minoritized groups, and remove barriers into degree programs that lead to the C-suite,” says Leon Jackson, a 2019 Notre Dame EMBA who helped launch the DIL program during his time as executive director of strategic initiatives at Marian and who took over as chancellor of the university’s Saint Joseph’s College in September.
“DIL will transform passionate, talented and underutilized women and ethnic minorities into agents of impact, ready to help central Indiana realize its full potential as a major economic engine in the region, but it will take a concerted effort by all to facilitate access.”
21 STUDENTS IN 1ST COHORT; 250+ APPS FOR THE 2ND
Unique to the DIL is its intentionality of removing barriers that prevent women and minorities from entering or advancing within the corporate community, Jackson says. Upon completion, all graduates receive a certificate in Executive Mindset and streamlined admission and scholarships to graduate programs (i.e. EMBA programs) at partner institutions.
Participant eligibility includes being an ethnic minority or women, a bachelor’s degree, seven-plus years of work experience, and three-plus years of management experience. The program had 21 students in its first cohort, and over 350 applications have been received for the second cohort.
B-schools participating in DIL include Butler University’s Lacy School of Business, Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business on the IUPUI campus, Marian’s Byrum School of Business, University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, and Purdue University-West Lafayette Krannert School of Business.
‘A WAY TO SERVE A VERY DIVERSE GROUP OF PEOPLE’
Each partner institution hosts the program’s cohorts on their respective campuses one weekend per month. Throughout the six-month curriculum participants are tasked with developing an understanding of key concepts, tools, and frameworks learned through five courses including business analytics, leadership communication, accounting/finance, organizational strategy, and leading organizations. Participants work with an executive coach and apply their learnings towards a capstone project presented at the conclusion of their experience.
DIL students currently are employed by Linkedin, Amazon, Eli Lilly & Company, and many other top employers. Program sponsors include One America, First Internet Bank, Indiana Kelley, Notre Dame Mendoza, Purdue Krannert, and Crossroads Education.
“Advancing diversity, equity and inclusion is critical to our mission and educational experience at Mendoza, as well as to the organizations our students will one day join,” says Martijn Cremers, dean of the Mendoza College of Business. “We’re pleased to partner with the Diversity in Leadership Initiative as a way to serve a very diverse group of people and help to prepare them for their next step in either their careers or their business education.”