UC Davis’ Holistic MBA Admissions Approach to Diversity

One of the things I looked forward to about business school was entering my first class to meet my cohort. How drastically different would we be? What points of views would we share despite how different our backgrounds were? These questions raced through my head coming into the Sacramento Part-Time MBA program.

Class Visit

Before making my decision to attend UC Davis, I attended two classes representing different cohorts to learn more about what my potential classmates might be like. Since it was the Sacramento campus, I was expecting a plethora of state and tech workers. While there were students representing those sectors, I was surprised to see that the vast majority of students were from a wide gamut of work experiences. And there was diversity across gender, educational backgrounds, sexual orientation, life stages—even wine preferences.

Engaging Classes

I wondered how these classes could be so different. Both were engaging and intellectually curious, but they had vastly different student compositions. I wondered whether it was by luck of the draw or if there was something else I was missing. I found that the classes were done by design through the Graduate School of Management’s holistic MBA admissions process. By reviewing each candidate’s application as a whole rather than solely based on test scores, GPA or work experience, the School crafts cohorts that represented a Rubik’s cube of backgrounds and experiences. This diversity helps enable more engaging class discussions. 

 A melting Pot

This melting pot of perspectives is true for in my cohort. We initially clash on a variety of topics based off of our own experiences, but we eventually learn from each other and accept these differences because we’re able to step into each other’s shoes. By filtering experiential differences, the School’s holistic admissions approach creates a climate of critical and inquisitive thinking.

Holistic Approach

The holistic MBA admissions approach spans all three of the School’s programs: Full-Time MBA in Davis, and Part-Time MBA programs in San Ramon and Sacramento. This weaves a common thread through the fabric of the community across three regions, all being taught under the same faculty. It allows for diversity of thought that traverses across campuses and when we meet at events and other School functions.

Comprehensive Learning Experience

The comprehensive MBA learning experience is something that every business school strives to achieve. It’s easy to corral and teach a set of likeminded individuals from similar backgrounds, but that would not lead to many thought provoking discussions. Likewise, it’s also just as easy to assemble a random group of people to teach, but there’s a risk of derailment or ending up with the same homogeneity of students. By meticulously reviewing each student’s application holistically, the UC Davis Graduate School of Management brings together cohorts that are ready for enriching academic experiences and future success.