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Melissa Abney

Making a Difference through Diversity & Inclusion

by Melissa Abney Monday, October 9, 2017

When it came to choosing the "right" school for your MBA educational experience, there are so many factors we take into consideration and things like location, curriculum rigor, school culture, and ranking are pretty consistent options for many people. While most of these factors can be important, I personally found the school's commitment to diversity AND inclusion to be a differentiating factor in my choice and it is a privilege to say that the Wisconsin School of Business is a place that truly makes both a priority. 

There are many examples that prove the Wisconsin School of Business' effort to building a community of leaders who have shared understanding of the power diversity and inclusion. The one that has made the most transformational impact on me, as an incoming student, is Wisconsin's partnership with the Consortium for Study in Management. This partnership brought to light the Wisconsin's longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion started before it was considered "popular" over 50 years ago. Today, this partnership is a highly revered opportunity for the school to demonstrate their commitment to giving top talent from underrepresented populations opportunities to obtain an MBA education and also provide the resources to ensure post-MBA career success. As a Consortium fellow, I can attest that attending the Wisconsin School through the Consortium and receiving an amazing fellowship has completely changed my life in the best way since day one and I believe that I am being given invaluable tools to help propel me even closer to my dreams. 

Additionally, the Wisconsin School of Business recognizes the commitment to diversity and inclusiveness should not stop at the staff or school level, but it should also permeate to the culture of the student community to help shape the mindsets of future business leaders. As incoming students for the 2017-18 fall semester, my fellow classmates and I had the fortunate opportunity to kick off the school year with a two-week long orientation in August. While we were all very excited about the experience we'd embarked upon, there was looming dismay knowing that students at a fellow MBA program had a startling beginning to their year after hateful demonstrations took place on their campus in Charlottesville, VA. It was beautiful experience to see our classmates be led through timely trainings and discussions about "unconscious bias". This was followed many students coming together to take a large group photo to demonstrate our commitment to embracing diversity and inclusion on our campus and making sure that this is a place where everyone can feel welcome and accepted. Not only did this spark unity, but it strengthens our endeavors to not only uphold throughout of school experience but also take this commitment along with us on our future career journeys.

 Badgers Against Hate Photo

So, when I say that the Wisconsin School of Business is committed, I truly mean it. The examples I've shared today prove that diversity and inclusion both are more than just buzz words but are real ways that the Wisconsin School of Business puts its commitment to action. It is exciting to be in a school environment that embraces these strong values and empowers students like me to do so too. There is still more work to be done as a school and student community, and I am looking forward to being a part of the continued transformation as it comes during my time here!