Wharton’s MBA program offers a new major in diversity and inclusion

Businesses are beginning to realize what matters to the future workforce; now, so are business schools.

The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania announced in September that it will offer students a new diversity, equity, and inclusion curriculum, beginning in the 2023-2024 academic year. “Our students have challenged us to do more to prepare them for the new realities of leadership, which involve creating and sustaining diverse, equitable and inclusive organizations,” says Stephanie Creary, Wharton professor of management, specializing in DEI studies.

The school will offer the program as a concentration for undergraduate students and as a major for graduate students. Graduate students will learn to apply technical know-how from their business school education, such as building economic models and analyzing data, to implement DEI policies within organizations, says Creary. Courses will teach students how to simultaneously fulfill the ethical promise of DEI efforts and generate financial gain.

The core of the program comes from existing Wharton courses that combine DEI skills with traditional business skills. Examples include a class on data analytics that focuses on the inherent biases built into seemingly unbiased algorithms and “diversity economics,” which teaches how gaps in representation can lag a company’s financial performance. company.

The new major will be fully integrated into Wharton’s current curriculum, meaning students will still take core courses like microeconomics and marketing. The program is “intentionally interdisciplinary and designed for students who want to better prepare themselves for DEI-focused careers or DEI-related change leaders in any organizational role,” says Creary.

Educating and empowering leaders on DEI has been one of the biggest challenges for lasting institutional change. By allowing students to learn about the field as part of the larger MBA program, Creary expects DEI to no longer be a siled sub-function of HR as graduates enter the workforce.

She also expects students majoring in diversity, equity and inclusion to get the same coveted jobs that Wharton graduates have long had and be better equipped to advocate for DEI initiatives. “We provide them with a cutting-edge, evidence-based curriculum to give them the skills they need to lead in the present and the future,” says Nancy Rothbard, associate dean at Wharton.

Diversity positions have only recently become prominent as a result of the 2020 social justice movement. But they have been the second fastest growing job title in the United States over the past five years, according to a February LinkedIn report. (The fastest growing job title was vaccine specialist.)

Financial prospects for DEI graduates could be in line with what Wharton graduates expect. The average starting salary for Wharton MBAs is between $130,000 and $165,000 per year, while the median salary for an DEI manager at a large company is $131,000 per year, according to the tracking website. salary.com salaries. Asked by Fortune on the expected salaries of its DEI graduates, Wharton declined to comment.

Paolo Confino
[email protected]

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