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An Early Network

An Early Network

USC Marshall was the first West Coast business school to join the Consortium. It still plays a role in creating a diverse full-time MBA cohort.


In 1966, THE CONSORTIUM FOR GRADUATE STUDY IN MANAGEMENT was founded by STERLING SCHOEN, a professor of management at Washington University in St. Louis, to help Black men gain entrance to business schools and learn the skills they would need for success in Corporate America.

That year, 21 Black men were named as fellows and offered full-tuition scholarships to MBA programs at schools such as Indiana University-Bloomington and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Two years later, USC’s newly created graduate school of business administration, then led by dean Robert Dockson, became the first West Coast university to join The Consortium.

It was a visionary decision, and one that continues to impact today’s diverse full-time MBA class cohort. In 1970 the Consortium opened its ranks to anyone who embraced the mission of diversity and inclusion.

“Diversity is not a minority problem,” said Peter Aranda ’85, the Consortium’s executive director and CEO in 2018 when Marshall celebrated its 50th year as a Consortium member. “We need everyone to participate if we are going to address the inequities that are going on today.”

Today’s Full-Time MBA class of 2024 has 20 students who are Consortium members. Of those, 10 are Consortium Fellows, who have been awarded a fellowship.

Every Consortium member receives the opportunity for early networking. The Consortium’s Orientation Program (known as the “OP”) is its biggest and most anticipated event. Their members network with each other, meet company representatives, attend panel discussions, and have a lot of fun.

“One of many benefits of being a Consortium member is the opportunity to network and begin to build a community even before classes begin,” said Elaine Padilla, associate director of MBA admissions, who is the Consortium liaison.

When LAJU OBASAJU MBA ’17 decided to change her career, she applied to Marshall for her MBA and was connected to Consortium. “My networking began right away,” she said. “My Consortium colleagues remain some of my closest friends.”

Today there are 22 business schools who are Consortium members. Stanford and Columbia recently joined.

“Diversity is not a minority problem. We need everyone to participate if we are going to address the inequities that are going on today.”

— Peter Aranda '85

Consortium Executive Director and CEO in 2018