As an MBA student, I have had the honor of working alongside Binnu Palta-Hill, the Director of Diversity and Inclusion at WSoB, in doing the important work of making our school more inclusive. This is a mission that I am passionate about and I was absolutely pleased to work on. Something special is happening in our school that will positively impact future generations of business Badgers and that is our Diversity and Inclusion Lunch & Learn series.
In the business school world, many boast about their inclusive culture in promotional materials. If you ask them about what they are doing to build inclusion, invariably the answer will be about diversity programs or a specific office. Sometimes, it is a diversity week or an outside group that comes to speak to the school body. More often than not, it is static and doesn’t involve bringing everyone along on the journey. Real change in an organization must come from within. In addition to a strong vision, goal setting, and a strategic roadmap, it is necessary to take everyone in the organization on that journey. For that, it takes passionate leaders opening dialogues, developing advocates, and incorporating feedback. One mechanism that has been particularly successful at accomplishing this has been our Lunch & Learn series.
For the past two years, we have hosted 12 Lunch & Learn events focusing on topics ranging from identity, unconscious bias, and inclusive leadership best practices. We haven’t contracted out for speakers. Rather, we have leveraged the experience and knowledge of our own students, faculty, staff, and alumni to begin the conversation with either a presentation or a panel discussion. I have been thoroughly impressed by the openness and the vulnerable leadership of our community members to share and listen. The school has been engaged – these events have averaged roughly 150 attendees over the past two years, who have chosen to spend their lunchtime participating in the discussion. I look forward to hearing about the continuation of these Lunch & Learns and the outcomes that they drive.
As I reflect upon my experience at the Wisconsin School of Business, I’ve felt incredibly blessed to have been a part of such an open-minded and talented group of learners who have participated in these Lunch & Learns. I want to thank and acknowledge the leadership of Binnu Palta-Hill, who has led us on this bold path.
It is important that the Wisconsin School of Business community, including its alumni, push for the continued improvement of the MBA experience of all students. Together forward.
MBA Class of 2016
Center for Brand and Product Management