Navigating MBA Applications with the Consortium

Are you dreaming of earning an MBA and wondering how to stand out in the competitive application process? Applying through the Consortium might be the golden ticket you’re looking for. The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management is a unique pathway designed to enhance diversity in business schools. In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about applying to MBA programs via the Consortium, from understanding its mission to nailing your application.

What is the Consortium?

The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management was founded in 1966 with a mission to reduce the underrepresentation of African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans in business schools and corporate management. Today, it stands as a beacon of diversity, offering a collaborative network for students, schools, and companies.

The Consortium partners with some of the top business schools in the United States. Member schools include prestigious institutions like the University of California-Berkeley (Haas), New York University (Stern), and Dartmouth College (Tuck), among others. Each school is committed to the Consortium’s mission of diversity and inclusion.

Why Apply Through the Consortium?

Applying through the Consortium offers numerous advantages. Firstly, you get to apply to multiple top-tier MBA programs with a single application, saving time and effort. Additionally, the Consortium provides access to exclusive networking opportunities, career fairs, and scholarship resources that can significantly offset the cost of your MBA.

Joining the Consortium means becoming part of a supportive network of students, alumni, and corporate partners. This network is invaluable for professional growth, offering mentorship, job opportunities, and lifelong connections.

Eligibility Requirements

The Consortium seeks candidates who demonstrate a commitment to its mission of promoting diversity and inclusion in business education and leadership. Applicants typically come from underrepresented backgrounds, but anyone who supports the Consortium’s goals can apply.

Eligibility criteria include holding a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and meeting the admission requirements of the member schools to which you are applying. Additionally, applicants should have a strong academic record, professional work experience, and leadership potential.

How to Apply

  1. Start by setting up your account on the Consortium’s application portal.
  2. Complete the application. Fill out personal information, academic history, and professional experience.
  3. Choose up to six Consortium member schools to which you want to apply.
  4. Craft thoughtful essays that reflect your experiences and commitment to diversity.
  5. Request letters of recommendation from professional contacts.
  6. Upload your resume, transcripts, and standardized test scores.
  7. Pay the Application Fee. A single fee covers applications to all selected schools.

Required Documents

  • Academic transcripts
  • GMAT/GRE scores
  • Resume
  • Essays
  • Letters of recommendation

Choosing the Right Member Schools

Take the time to research each member school thoroughly. Consider factors such as curriculum, faculty, culture, location, and career services. Attend information sessions and reach out to current students or alumni to get firsthand insights. Ensure that the programs you apply to align with your career goals and personal values. Each school has unique strengths, so choose ones that offer the best fit for your aspirations.

Consortium Member Schools

The Consortium comprises several prestigious business schools committed to promoting diversity in business education. Here’s a list of the current member schools:

  1. University of California, Berkeley (Haas School of Business)
  2. University of California, Los Angeles (Anderson School of Management)
  3. Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper School of Business)
  4. Cornell University (Johnson Graduate School of Management)
  5. Dartmouth College (Tuck School of Business)
  6. Emory University (Goizueta Business School)
  7. Georgetown University (McDonough School of Business)
  8. Indiana University (Kelley School of Business)
  9. University of Michigan (Ross School of Business)
  10. New York University (Stern School of Business)
  11. Rice University (Jones Graduate School of Business)
  12. University of Rochester (Simon Business School)
  13. University of Southern California (Marshall School of Business)
  14. University of Texas at Austin (McCombs School of Business)
  15. University of Virginia (Darden School of Business)
  16. Washington University in St. Louis (Olin Business School)
  17. University of Wisconsin-Madison (Wisconsin School of Business)
  18. Yale University (Yale School of Management)

Emphasizing Diversity in Your Application

Your personal background and experiences are essential components of your application. Reflect on how your unique cultural, ethnic, or socioeconomic background has shaped your perspectives and career aspirations. Share stories that illustrate your journey and the challenges you’ve overcome, emphasizing how these experiences have prepared you for a leadership role in a diverse business environment.

Demonstrating Commitment to Diversity

It’s crucial to demonstrate your commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion. Provide specific examples of initiatives or projects you’ve led or participated in that aimed to foster a more inclusive environment. This could include:

  • Workplace Initiatives: Describe any diversity-focused groups or programs you’ve been involved with at your workplace. Detail your role and the impact of these initiatives on company culture.
  • Community Engagement: Highlight your involvement in community organizations or events that promote diversity. Discuss any leadership roles you’ve held and the outcomes of your efforts.
  • Mentorship and Advocacy: Share your experiences mentoring individuals from underrepresented groups or advocating for diversity policies. Explain how these activities have contributed to your understanding of diversity issues and your commitment to addressing them.

Incorporating Diversity in Essays and Personal Statements

Your essays and personal statements are prime opportunities to weave your commitment to diversity into your narrative. Here are some tips:

  • Be Authentic: Authenticity resonates with admissions committees. Share genuine stories and reflections on your experiences with diversity.
  • Use Specific Examples: Avoid general statements. Use specific examples that demonstrate your involvement and impact in promoting diversity.
  • Connect to Career Goals: Explain how your commitment to diversity aligns with your career goals. Discuss how an MBA will equip you with the skills to advance diversity and inclusion in your chosen field.

Letters of Recommendation

While you won’t write your letters of recommendation, you can influence their content by selecting recommenders who are familiar with your commitment to diversity. Provide them with context and examples that they can use to highlight this aspect of your profile.

Engaging with Diversity-Focused Programs

Engage actively with diversity-focused programs and initiatives at your current institution or workplace. Participation in these programs not only builds your resume but also provides concrete examples to discuss in your application.

Consortium Events and Resources

The Consortium’s Orientation Program (OP) is an invaluable resource for new students. This intensive, multi-day event marks the beginning of your journey with the Consortium and sets the stage for your MBA experience. Held annually, the OP is designed to equip you with the tools and networks you need to succeed in business school and beyond. The program includes:

  1. Workshops and Seminars: These sessions cover a wide range of topics, from leadership development and team building to strategic thinking and effective communication. Expert speakers and experienced professionals lead these workshops, providing insights that can help you navigate the complexities of an MBA program and your future career.
  2. Networking Events: Networking is a crucial part of any MBA program, and the OP offers numerous opportunities to connect with fellow students, alumni, corporate partners, and industry leaders. These events are designed to help you build relationships that can support your academic and professional growth.
  3. Career Fairs: The OP includes career fairs where you can meet representatives from top companies looking to hire Consortium students. These fairs provide a platform to learn about different industries, explore potential career paths, and secure internships or full-time positions.
  4. Panel Discussions and Keynote Speeches: Engage with influential leaders and successful alumni through panel discussions and keynote speeches. These sessions offer valuable perspectives on current trends in business and insights into the challenges and opportunities in various industries.
  5. Team Building Activities: Participate in activities that foster collaboration and teamwork. These exercises help you develop essential skills for working effectively with diverse groups, a key component of both your MBA program and your future career.

Throughout the year, the Consortium hosts various events to keep students engaged and connected. These events include:

  1. Networking Mixers: Regularly scheduled mixers allow students to connect with alumni and corporate partners in informal settings. These events are excellent opportunities to expand your professional network and gain insights from those who have walked the path before you.
  2. Industry-Specific Conferences: These conferences focus on specific sectors such as finance, technology, healthcare, and consulting. They provide in-depth knowledge about industry trends, challenges, and opportunities, and feature speakers who are leaders in their fields.
  3. Professional Development Workshops: These workshops focus on enhancing specific skills such as resume writing, interview techniques, and personal branding. They are designed to prepare you for the job market and help you present your best self to potential employers.
  4. Virtual Events: Recognizing the importance of accessibility, the Consortium also offers virtual events, including webinars and online networking sessions. These events ensure that you can benefit from the Consortium’s resources no matter where you are located.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

The Consortium offers various scholarships and fellowships that can significantly reduce the financial burden of an MBA program. Here are the main types of aid available:

  1. Consortium Fellowships: These prestigious fellowships often cover full tuition and may include additional stipends for living expenses. They are awarded based on merit and your demonstrated commitment to the Consortium’s mission of promoting diversity and inclusion in business.
  2. School-Specific Scholarships: In addition to Consortium fellowships, member schools offer their own financial aid packages. These can include merit-based scholarships, need-based grants, and fellowships specific to certain fields of study or demographic groups.
  3. Corporate Scholarships and Fellowships: Many corporate partners of the Consortium offer scholarships and fellowships to Consortium students. These awards often come with the opportunity to intern or work full-time at the sponsoring company, providing both financial support and career opportunities.
  4. Assistantships and Work-Study Programs: Some member schools offer assistantships that provide tuition remission and a stipend in exchange for work in teaching or research roles. Work-study programs are another option, allowing you to earn money while gaining valuable experience.

Applying for financial aid through the Consortium involves several steps:

  1. Complete the Consortium’s Fellowship Application: As part of your overall Consortium application, you will need to complete a fellowship application. This application will ask for details about your financial situation, academic achievements, and commitment to diversity.
  2. Submit School-Specific Financial Aid Forms: Each member school may have its own financial aid forms and requirements. Be sure to check the specific instructions for each school to which you are applying. Common forms include the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile.
  3. Prepare Supporting Documents: Gather all necessary documents, such as tax returns, W-2 forms, and bank statements. These documents will be used to verify your financial need and determine your eligibility for aid.


Applying to MBA programs via the Consortium is a strategic way to enhance your application and access valuable resources. By understanding the process and preparing thoroughly, you can maximize your chances of success. Remember, the Consortium is not just a pathway to an MBA; it’s a lifelong network committed to diversity and inclusion.