Although minorities make up nearly 30 percent of the U.S. population, they account for only three percent of senior management at Fortune 100 companies. For sectors that drive the economy like financial services, education, technology, and healthcare, this lack of diverse senior leadership means that minorities are not likely to participate in decision-making processes that address economic ills in communities where these corporations derive revenues or offer services. But how can business recruiters increase their company's diversity when minorities make up only seven percent of the student body at the top-20 MBA schools in America? This problem is exactly what John Rice, founder and CEO of Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT), intends to solve.
Making Business School and Beyond a Reality
As a second year student at Harvard Business School, John wondered why his was one of the only non-white faces in the program. While conducting research through an independent study course, he learned that many talented minority college graduates never considered going to business school because the option was never presented to them. Upon graduation, he founded a one-on-one mentoring program that introduced minority college graduates to the business world through seminars, coaching, and test preparation, laying the framework for MLT. In 2001, after working in the corporate world for nearly 11 years, John became MLT's CEO, and helped transform the organization into a vehicle for social change. Today, MLT is the nation's number-one source of minority talent for top U.S. business schools—nearly 40 percent of minority MBA students at Harvard Business School, Wharton, and Kellogg are MLT alumni—and for many of the nation's leading corporations like Google, Goldman Sachs, PepsiCo, McKinsey, Citi, and Target.
Building the Leadership Pipeline from High-School On
MLT's model supports minority leaders as they develop long-term career paths. Current programs offered by MLT include:
- Journey to College—preparing high school students across the country with tools to develop the necessary skills for success in college
- Career Prep—equipping undergraduate sophomores and juniors who have outstanding grades and dynamic leadership experience with the roadmap they need to fast-track their careers after college
- MBA Prep—providing Fellows with one-on-one coaching, access to recruiters, test preparation, and assistance during the MBA application process
- Career Advancement—maintaining high-potential mid-career professionals in the leadership pipeline for senior level management positions through hands-on leadership development seminars, frequent one-on-one coaching sessions, and personalized assessments tailored to provide Fellows with actionable steps to advance toward senior leadership
By equipping minorities with tools and skills that are traditionally delivered through informal channels to which they have limited access, MLT broadens the corporate leadership pipeline. MLT's high-expectations approach to working with its students builds leaders who have the commitment, capital, and relationships necessary to drive business profitability and excel as they move toward senior level management opportunities. Lebbonee Price, a recent graduate of Northwestern Business School, described her experience with MLT. " [It was] the first time I had been surrounded by such impressive, high-potential minorities who wanted to achieve their goals just as much as I did. As a result of being a part of the MLT family, I am more confident in myself. I know I can achieve my goals and I know many people who are cheering for me." Looking to the Future
As John Rice continues his leadership at MLT, he is preparing the organization for its next stage of growth, which includes plans to serve more than 1,000 fellows annually and to build a community of more than 5,000 alumni over the next few years. These individuals will represent a new generation of minority leaders with the skills, relationships, capital, and commitment needed to succeed in the corporate world and beyond.