The Johnson Graduate School of Management received the prestigious Hispanic MBA Brillante Award, which honors the best educational institution for Hispanics, on Oct. 1 during the 16th annual National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA) Conference. This marks the first award the Johnson School has received for its efforts in diversity.
The Johnson School was chosen through a majority vote by the NSHMBA Brillante Awards Selection Committee, which is made up of the organization’s national board of directors and local chapter presidents.
The event, held in Anaheim, Calif., was attended by over 6,500 people, cosisting of Hispanic students looking to go to business school, those already in business school and graduates of business school.
According to the NSHMBA website, NSHMBA is “widely known as the ‘Premier Hispanic Organization,'” and the purpose of this nonprofit organization is to “foster Hispanic leadership through graduate management education and professional development.”
“The Brillante Award, which means ‘bright’, ‘radiant’ and ‘shining’, is NSHMBA’s highest honor,” said Randall Sawyer, public relations officer of the Johnson School. The award is given in each of the following categories: corporation, educational institution, not-for-profit agency, corporate executive and NSHMBA member. Each recipient must have greatly contributed to the mission of NSHMBA.
The award is “given to the most welcoming academic institution for Hispanics looking to get their MBAs,” Sawyer said. “It recognizes corporations and foundations that go out of their way to help Hispanics succeed in the market place.”
The Brillante Award signifies that “this is the best academic institution out there. It recognizes excellence in working with Hispanics,” Sawyer said.
Educational institutions have been recognized by NSHMBA since 1998 and this is the first year Cornell has received the award, which coincides with the recent transformation of the Johnson School’s Office for Women and Minorities in Business into the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. The name change occurred this year with the goal to “diversify the student body and prepare students to work in a globally diverse environment,” according to a Johnson School press release.
The Johnson School is the only business school to have a diversity office.
“We think the experience of others makes us better educated,” Sawyer said in explaining the recent push towards diversity.
“This was certainly a well-deserved award,” said Hispanic student Arthur Munoz JGSM ’06. He explained that this is the first year for the Johnson School in which more people came from California than New York State.
“The goal of the Johnson School is diversity and inclusion and they truly mean it,” Munoz said. “I’ve been in the trenches – I know the Johnson School cares about diversity.”
The award is “perfectly timed,” said Jenny Oritz JGSM ’07, referring to the drastic increase in the number of underrepresented students at the Johnson School. “As we’re seeing more [Hispanic] students in school, we’re being recognized – It’s motivational,” Oritz said.
The administration sees that there is value in doing this because the future workforce will be diverse, Oritz said.
Oritz expressed her admiration for the strides the Johnson school has made in terms of diversity. “I would not be here if I didn’t feel that the Johnson School wasn’t the place for me – Overall the place is welcoming,” she said. Oritz especially stressed the administration’s quick response to any student concerns.
The Hispanic-American Business Leaders Association (HABLA) is the student group at the Johnson school that is tied to NSHMBA. Many members of HABLA and others from the Johnson school attended the NSHMBA award banquet.
“HABLA was developed two and a half years ago but we have made a huge impact,” said Munoz who is also the president of the club. However, he gives great credit to the Johnson School saying, “without the Johnson School we would not have been so successful.”
“HABLA and the Johnson School partnered together to promote the Hispanic business community,” he said. This Saturday HABLA is hosting its MBA case competition, which is “unique because it focuses specifically on the U.S. Hispanic market,” Munoz said.
“It is the only one of its kind in the entire nation,” he said. The point of the competition is to educate all MBA students about the Hispanic market.
“The U.S. Hispanic market has over $6 billion per year of purchasing power, which is the size of all of Brazil,” Munoz said.
In terms of the future of the Johnson School, Munoz would like to see some Hispanic faculty members at the Johnson School, which he says the administration is working on.
Oritz did note that “the administration can only do so much and after that it’s up to the students.”
Oritz said that a diversity action group is in the works, which will focus on peer-to-peer interactions and solving the tensions that may build up.
“We need to think about how everyone is different from each other,” Oritz said.
Even though there are still things to be done, both Munoz and Oritz expressed great pride that the Johnson School was honored by NSHMBA.
“It was a great honor – I felt very proud to be there,” Oritz said.
“I was very proud to be a Cornellian,” Munoz said.
Archived article by Rachel Nayman
Sun Staff Writer