DEI & EMBA: Taking a Big Picture Approach

In October 2020, Paul Almeida, dean of the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business, convened a Standing Committee on DEI, which included faculty, students, and staff.

Its goal? Define what DEI means at Georgetown McDonough, gather data and report on the state of DEI at the school, and develop recommendations to move forward. They did just that, setting a framework to guide the school’s DEI efforts.

The EMBA Program set DEI as a key recruitment goal and added diversity and partnership recruitment responsibilities to the EMBA director’s job responsibilities, says Nita Swinsick, assistant dean of recruitment and admissions for executive and specialized degree programs at McDonough.

EMBA focuses on DEI as part of recruitment and admissions

“We’ve tried to be deliberate and thoughtful about including DEI in both our recruitment and admissions practices,” says Swinsick. “We believe creating an equitable, accessible, and inclusive community in diversity is important because it leads to new learning opportunities, improves understanding, and furthers our mission of creating a fairer and more just world.”

On the recruitment side, the program features alumni and current students from different backgrounds in marketing materials and makes available diversity class profile data. “We also are purposeful in the connections we make between prospective students and alumni and current students and have hosted events tailored for different diversity and identity groups.”

On the outreach side, the school has increased its partnerships with diversity organizations and created new scholarships. On the admissions side, the program added an optional diversity essay in the application, which gives prospective students the opportunity to share their personal background. The McDonough team also has completed an admissions-focused implicit bias training.

DEI work helps boost EMBA class diversity

The work has proven successful: “We’ve seen an increase in representation from underrepresented minorities and female students in our EMBA class over the last few years,” says Swinsick. “Our current class composition includes 40 percent underrepresented minorities and 44 percent female students.”

Once in the program, students take two core sessions focused on understanding and exploring what DEI means for leaders and for organizations. After requesting and receiving student feedback, the career services team organized a session with alumni in DEI roles who shared their insights with students about their responsibilities, their organizational efforts, and their work.

With its commitment to the DEI journey, the school will continue to enhance its diversity recruiting efforts, growing partnerships with diversity organizations, elevating engagement of alumni and current students in recruitment, expanding scholarship opportunities, and improving pipelines for student recruitment. 

Initiatives consider all aspects of the EMBA experience

Georgetown McDonough’s systematic top-down and bottom-up approach to DEI touches all aspects of EMBA – from recruitment to the student experience to the impact on students.

“From a recruitment perspective, I view DEI as increasing the diversity of the class,” says Swinsick. “Within the program and school, we view DEI as creating an equitable and inclusive community and culture where all students regardless of background feel heard, valued, and respected. 

“From a curriculum and student experience perspective, we ensure our students are equipped with the training and perspectives necessary to be aware of their bias so they can manage it and create inclusive environments not just in the classroom but also outside the classroom and in their workplaces.”

See the many ways that EMBA Programs promote diversity in the classroom and prepare students to lead diverse organizations at EMBA Buzz and follow us on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.