Supporting At-Risk, Underrepresented, and Female Undergraduate Students to Advance Directly to an MBA

Supporting At-Risk, Underrepresented, and Female Undergraduate Students to Advance Directly to an MBA

Helen Eckmann (Brandman University, USA)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2998-9.ch008
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This Chapter explores the reasons for and provides a range of ways for faculty members, staff and administrators to build a bridge that will encourage and help a higher number of at-risk, underrepresented and female students matriculate directly into the MBA program upon completion of an undergraduate degree. First, the chapter will provide data driven reasons why it is in the best interest of at-risk, underrepresented minority and female students to pursue a graduate degree. Second, it will provide concrete and proven examples of how to help these student's move directly from undergraduate degrees into the MBA program. The examples of how to encourage this direct pathway fall into three categories: faculty focus, curriculum design and university-wide systems.
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Review Of The Literature

According to a recent study by Georgetown University, by 2020, 65% of all U.S. jobs will require post-secondary education, (Georgetown, 2015). Since 1940 the gap between the genders in undergraduate degree attainment has narrowed. 2015 was the first year in the history of the US that more women received a college degree than men (Stastica, 2016). In contrast, in 1940 almost twice as many men received college degrees than women. The trend moved significantly during the 1960s; but, the most notable changes came during and after 1963 when the Equal Pay Act was passed (EPA, 1963).

The 2016 Lumina Report examines the trends for degree-attainment rates for 15-64 year olds in the U.S. The lowest attainment rates are for Hispanic, Native American, and African American students. All of these students are part of the Lumina Report’s underrepresented minorities (URM) statistic (Aranda, 2015). Women and students in at-risk categories, such as non-first time (NFT) enrollment and online degree completion program students often present the same completion rates as URM populations. Notably, most of these students are not seeking to achieve graduate degrees, in part because no one is showing them a meaningful and viable pathway to make and support the journey to and through graduate education.

The 2016 Lumina Foundation reports that only 11.47 percent of the general population has earned a graduate degree (Lumina, 2016). Given that a graduate degree is often the key for attaining a professional standard in the workplace along with a high income this statistic seems low. The median weekly earnings for the education attainment categories are: less than a high school diploma, $471; high school diploma, $652; some college but no degree, $727; associate degree, $785; bachelor’s degree, $1,066; master’s degree, $1,300; doctoral degree, $1,624; and professional degree, $1,735 (Review Journal, 2015). This data combined with the fact that URM females have few role models of successful graduate degree holders in their workplaces and communities illustrates that graduate school may not be even a remote idea or concept for this student population. This Chapter will offer a strategy to increase the number of students who proceed directly from undergraduate degree to graduate work, with an emphasis on and examples of how to help female, and at-risk students enter an MBA.

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