McCombs begins positive trend with Hispanic students

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The Red McCombs School of Business was ranked as the second best school in the nation for Hispanic MBA students, according to a study done by Hispanic Business magazine.

The percent of enrolled Hispanic students in the MBA program has gradually risen during the last four years from 5 percent in ’07 and ’08 to 7.1 percent in 2010, said Matt Turner, market researcher for the McCombs School of Business.

The rankings are determined by five important criteria, Turner said. He said they weigh most heavily on the enrollment number and percentage number of Hispanic students currently enrolled in the MBA program, the percent of full-time Hispanic faculty, the number of student services available, the retention rate for the first and second year and the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings for other MBA programs.

“We have a healthy and rising percentage of Hispanic students,” Turner said. “We’ve done a lot of recruiting efforts, and there are a healthy number of student organizations and services available to Hispanic students.”

Turner said McCombs is currently a 20-year member of the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, which seeks to provide networking and resources to all minority students. He said they have a 17-university alliance that comes together and offers special services to minority students.

McCombs also sponsors the National Society of Hispanic MBAs’ conference every year to actively recruit and provide a place for Hispanics to network and have more resources available to them, Turner said.

“I think UT is well positioned. We have the LLILAS [Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies], and one of the largest Latin American libraries in the country or the world actually,” Turner said. “Although it doesn’t directly affect the MBA program it is part of the ambience. Everyone knows UT Austin is a great place for anything to do with Latin American, Mexican and Hispanic studies.”

Turner said the rising percentage of enrollment in the MBA program among Hispanic students is a positive trend in the demographics of Texas and the nation as a whole.

“Business and therefore business schools are trying to reflect and replicate those percentages because that’s the market and in business you have to market to the market,” Turner said.

Hispanic students are also being sought out more by companies wishing to diversify their workforce, said Andrea Martinez, vice president of ALPFA.

“Right now there still is a minority [of Hispanics] in the business school, and companies seek them out for the fact that [most] are bilingual and have a similar background culture to the countries they do business with internationally and overseas,” Martinez said.

Latin American and Hispanic MBAs is a graduate student organization whose purpose is to create networking opportunities with companies wishing to be more representative of the Hispanic culture, said Adriana Zolezzi, president of LAHMBA.

“We do events geared towards networking to keep these contacts,” Zolezzi said. “We want to have strong connections to build business partnerships and relationships for later on in the future.”

Printed on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 as: MBA program ranked second for Hispanic grad students.