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Diversity on Campus – Why Does it Matter?

Diversity on Campus: Advantages and Opportunities for International Students in the US

For admissions officers at American business schools, diversity on campus is a crucial component in developing incoming classes. Admissions teams look for diversity in thought, undergraduate study, ethnicity, age, culture, country of origin, introverts vs. extrovertsyou name it.

Why is Diversity on Campus So Important?

Diversity on campus benefits students, professors, alumni, corporate recruiterspretty much everyone involved. From a students perspective, the opportunity to interact daily and problem solve with a dynamic group of peers is one of the best, if not the reason to pursue higher education in business (especially in another country).

In the classroom, spirited debate and different perspectives foster growth and innovation. Socially, students gain understanding for other cultures, self-awareness, and strong relationships that result in future global networking opportunities.

In the workplace, knowledge and sensitivity to others cultures is critical in understanding your colleaguesmotivations and behavior. For example, knowledge regarding the concepts of individualism vs. collectivism in a marketing campaign could make a huge difference in the campaigns success or failure. Furthermore, effective global leaders must have the skills and empathy to work in a diverse environment.

Diversity in Practice

New York Citys Columbia Business School has a network of 45,000 alumni in more than 133 countries worldwide. This wide range of geographic diversity is made possible, in part, due to merit-based fellowships and scholarships based on criteria like country of origin which are offered to full-time MBA applicants. Its important not only to create a diverse class, but also to foster inclusion and community among incoming students. At Columbia, programs like MBA Clusters and Learning Teams and over 100 clubs and organizations aim to bring diverse students together in a meaningful way, creating a collaborative learning environment.

Latin American Applicants

As the majority of international students studying business in the US come from South and East Asia, and Western Europe, many admissions teams seek to diversify their international intake beyond these regions. Latin Americans are an attractive talent pool not only due to underrepresentation in the US but also because many top US programs are interested in developing deeper relationships with Latin American applicants.

If you needed one more reason to study in the US, building self awareness, becoming a more empathetic leader, and gaining global networking opportunities should push a diverse classroom to the top of the list.

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