With this issue, Hispanic Business debuts two reviews of top graduate schools, adding medicine and engineering schools to the previous directories of business and law schools. This reflects the reality that Hispanic graduate students have expanded their presence on campus and eventually in the leadership of Corporate America (see Top 40 Companies for Hispanics in this issue). Interviews with academics confirm that affirmative action in higher education has worked parallel to corporate diversity programs to create opportunities for today's Hispanic professional.
The campus-corporate connection clearly functions for the University of Texas at Austin, which ranks number 2 in law, number 3 in business, and number 7 in engineering on the Hispanic Business Best Schools for Hispanics directories. Corporations such as Frito-Lay, SBC, and Deloitte Consulting recruit heavily from UT Austin's McCombs School of Business, while the engineering school can point to alumni like Hector Ruiz, CEO of chip-maker AMD. "McCombs provides a world-class business education that is highly relevant to both U.S. and international Hispanics, regardless of professional goals," says Jesus Barron, an MBA student originally from El Paso.
Provost John Etchemendy of Stanford University, the number 1 business and medical school as well as number 3 for law, explains the specifics that make his school friendly for Hispanics. About two thirds of all graduate students live on campus, an unusually high percentage. "That makes the Hispanic [student] population effectively larger because they are not isolated within their different schools," he says. A focus on public interest in the law school attracts minority students.
In the business school, the curriculum matches the eventual career goals of many Hispanics beyond a corporate career. "Our school is extremely well-known for training entrepreneurs. A large number of our students come with hopes of starting their own business or working in venture capital," says Mr. Etchemendy. Also, small classes help. "Harvard Business School has something like four times the number of students," he notes.
For many institutions on the Best Schools for Hispanics directories, geography plays a strong role in recruitment as well as placement in the work force after graduation. "We are the only flagship state institution that is serving a Hispanic population and also is a major research institution," says Louis Caldera, president of the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque, the number 3 school in medicine and number 10 on the business directory. "Even at the business school there is a particular emphasis on the management of technology. We have a program in science, engineering, and business that will guide graduates on how to do a start-up properly." More than 40 percent of small businesses in New Mexico are Hispanic-owned.
Following Interstate 25 south from Albuquerque leads to the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), the number 1 school on the engineering directory. "Our location is a significant opportunity," says Barry Benedict, dean. "Our student body as a whole is 80 percent Hispanic, and 10 percent of our students are Mexican nationals who commute over the border every day. We are in the right place to have a biracial, bicultural, bilingual program. Many of our students are going back to practice or even teach in Latin America, and their ability to speak technologically in Spanish is essential."
"Location, location, location," emphasizes Paul Sugrue, dean of the business school at the University of Miami, number 5 on the directory. "The Cuban Revolution changed Miami forever because it was mostly the educated class that left, and brought that tradition of education and hard work. But we also draw from all over South America. People are very comfortable here. We have a very strong Brazilian community, and we are even drawing students from Spain."
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