News Column

Which School Is Right?

September 2003, HISPANIC BUSINESS Magazine

Joel Russell

What should Hispanics look for in a business or law school? Are the success factors for Hispanic students different from the needs of mainstream Anglo students? In light of the recent Supreme Court decisions (see "Affirmative Action on Trial" in this issue) and a national debate over "race neutral" diversity programs, these questions have far-reaching implications.

Finding the right school is intensely personal, which explains why many in academia dislike the very notion of a "top schools" list. Although the process can't be reduced to a math equation, certain objective criteria can help. Most college rankings, including the 2003 Hispanic Business Top 10 Business Schools and Law Schools lists, take into account a school's academic excellence. But the Hispanic Business lists go beyond the straight curriculum questions to look at enrollment, faculty, student services, and retention rate.

According to Richard White, director of career services at Rutgers University, the quality of a graduate program involves four elements: faculty, facilities, student body, and reputation. Because graduate school is a social as well as academic experience, the presence of ethnic peers and faculty can make a tremendous difference for Hispanic students.

Inclusion of Hispanic-friendly criteria make the Hispanic Business directories unique. Yet many of the names on both of this year's top 10 lists also place high on other rankings of MBA and law programs. For example, seven of the Hispanic Business Top 10 Business Schools appear among the 20 highest rankings on the graduate business school component of U.S. News & World Report: America's Best Colleges.

Institutions placing high on the Hispanic Business Top Schools lists show a strong commitment to diversity. Four of the business schools belong to the Consortium for Graduate Studies in Management, a group of universities working to improve minority representation in the MBA student ranks. Four schools also belong to the Robert Toigo Foundation as well as other programs designed to ease the financial hurdle faced by many minority MBA students.

To ensure the success of their educational investment, Hispanic students need a full range of information on programs that take into account their cultural, personal, social, and financial needs. The 2003 Hispanic Business Top 10 Business and Law Schools directories can provide a starting point in their complex search for the right school.

Directory research by Research Supervisor J. Tabin Cosio and Research Assistants Michael Caplinger and Cynthia Marquez.


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