“How many of you have blind spots?” asked Angela Delgado, talent acquisition diversity director with PwC, standing before a classroom of USC Marshall MBAs.
Most hands went up.
On Oct. 6, PwC brought its diversity training, “Blind Spots: Challenging Assumptions to Build Inclusive Leaders,” to the USC campus as part of its recruiting efforts with the Marshall School of Business and Leventhal School of Accounting. The training, similar to that required for all of the firm’s employees, asked students to keep an open mind and challenge their own unconscious biases.
“We’re trying to build the best leaders, and diversity in leadership is key to that,” Delgado said. “Studies show that businesses perform better with more diverse teams. Making sure our staff understand their own unconscious bias and teaching them to slow down their thinking makes those teams more effective.”
Students learned that, since 90 percent of our decisions happen in the unconscious mind and the unconscious beliefs we hold often do not align with our declared beliefs, becoming aware of bias is the first step. Videos explained different kinds of biases, and students broke into groups for discussions facilitated by managers from the firm’s deals practice, the leader of the Veterans Affinity Network in Southern California, and a partner in the strategy consulting business.
"We’re trying to build the best leaders, and diversity in leadership is key to that." --Angela Delgado, Talent Acquisition Diversity Director, PwC
“Diversity issues are really important to us here at Marshall,” said Elaine Sommers, senior associate director of the Marshall Career Services Office. “We recruit students from all over the world, so we need to facilitate discussions about diversity and biases to ensure that our graduates, the future leaders, bring that awareness to their organizations.”
“I think this was a really interesting learning opportunity,” said Kanishk Mishra MBA ’19. “We’ve been studying a lot of these concepts in class, in terms of the different biases, and the most important thing I took from this is what we can do to combat these biases in the workplace.”
Last year, PwC brought its Color Brave training to campus. With Blind Spots, they seek to continue the conversation around diversity and inclusion, a priority for the Big Four firm that starts at the top, where U.S. Chairman and Senior Partner Tim Ryan has led a commitment within the firm and beyond, bringing together more than 300 business leaders in CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion.
“We’re showing them who we are, what we’re living and breathing at PwC,” said Delgado. “It’s about creating a culture where all of our people have a voice and they can bring their whole selves to work. By getting comfortable with the uncomfortable, we can achieve better engagement with our staff and better work products for our clients.”