Indiana Daily Student

Kelley to implement diversity initiatives in MBA program after over 2,500 sign petition

<p>The Kelley School of Business is located in Hodge Hall at 1275 E. 10th St. MBA candidate Casey Bufford created a petition outlining changes for the Kelley School of Business to make to increase diversity and inclusion.</p>

The Kelley School of Business is located in Hodge Hall at 1275 E. 10th St. MBA candidate Casey Bufford created a petition outlining changes for the Kelley School of Business to make to increase diversity and inclusion.

The Kelley School of Business pledged to use diversity and inclusion initiatives and implement curriculum changes outlined in a petition created by an MBA candidate and added other plans to increase diversity and inclusion.

“We stand with our racially diverse students and alumni in solidarity and we are deeply committed to working together,” said a letter to MBA student Casey Bufford, a Black woman who created the petition. Dean Idie Jesner, MBA program chair Kyle Cattani and Ash Soni, executive associate dean for academic programs signed the letter to Bufford.

The administrators wrote that core curriculum professors will add business cases and assignments about underrepresented communities and women to their course plans.

One of the petition’s requests was for the core curriculum to use an educational business case that involves Black leaders or Black businesses. Bufford said she noticed that many of the business cases she has to solve were not very diverse. 

“The faculty does a good job of incorporating cases and relevant experiential learning opportunities to create an engaging learning environment across cohorts. Most students rely on this foundation to propel their MBA journey,” she said in the petition. “The core, however, does not address many of the foundational issues that business leaders and businesses are faced with today, one being racial inequality in America.”

She also asked that the case not only identify Black leaders or Black businesses but also require students to read a Harvard Business School article titled, “African American Inequality in the United States”, which gives background about racial inequality in the U.S. and the result. Bufford said in the petition she wanted the Kelley School to hire a professional educator to teach this case in two sessions.

All Kelley faculty and staff will also participate in diversity and inclusion training every year. Bufford requested an experienced person of color lead this initiative in the petition.

There will be more diversity, inclusion and equity cases in the Kelley Direct Online program as well as a case in Kelley’s MBA orientation program Me, Inc., according to the letter. The MBA administration will also communicate with members of the MBA Consortium, an organization of students who advocate for diversity in business, to see how else they can improve inclusion and diversity in Kelley.

Bufford said she started the petition on June 5. 

“I woke up that morning wanting to do something given all the protests around the country and having a passion for Kelley and just my Kelley experience, just wanting to do something to bring about change,” she said.

Bufford said she only expected a couple hundred signatures. Over 2,500 people, including students, staff, faculty and alumni signed it in about a week.

“It let me know, it let my classmates know that we weren’t the only ones feeling this way,” she said.

She said she received the response letter last Friday, which she posted on LinkedIn.

“I don’t know if I have the right words to express the joy I have right now,” she said in the post.

Bufford said many businesses are trying to increase inclusion and diversity in their workplace and operations. She said she wants students to be prepared for that.

“My hope is that students will leave Kelley with a broader view of the world and not just have the foundation of what it means to lead a business from a marketing and accounting perspective but what it means to lead from empathy, what it means to lead from inclusion, what it means to lead with a diverse mindset,” she said.

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