The city of Pittsburgh’s rich culture and sense of community can be felt between each of its diverse neighborhoods. The University of Pittsburgh Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business is no different, as we offer an open and inclusive environment that is welcoming to people from all backgrounds. This nurturing community of business professionals uses our small class sizes, collaborative environment, and student-led organizations to form friendships and career contacts that last a lifetime.
Each year we celebrate that diversity during Diversity Student Weekend (DSW). DSW was created and developed by Melanie Krugel, Assistant Director and Diversity Recruiter in MBA Admissions at Katz, as a way to recruit students who identified from diverse backgrounds and bring them to campus to learn about the program, meet current students and alumni, and visit Pittsburgh. Since the inception of the program we have brought over 60 perspective MBA students to campus and 9 students have matriculated. This past year saw 14 attendees visit campus.
This year’s MBA class represented one of the most diverse yet, with 19 percent diversity student enrollment. In fact, the class was the largest Hispanic/Latino enrollment in recent history. “We are proud to be such a diverse group,” said Melanie Krugel, Assistant Director and Diversity Recruiter in MBA Admissions at Katz. “What unites us here is our shared passion for business.”
Krugel, who is of Cuban and Jewish descent, has always been a champion for diversity and inclusion and is personally invested in the success of her students. Since coming to Katz, Krugel has worked toward her goal of providing a supportive and welcoming environment for all students. “Being a diversity candidate myself, I know the feeling of fear, anxiety, and insecurity that can come from an unwelcoming environment,” Krugel said. “We ensure that all of our students feel like they’re part of a tight knit community, because they are.”
Katz offers personalized advising support and professional development so that each student can develop a personal brand and reach their full potential. One pillar of support are the diverse professional organizations available to MBA students, including the National Association of Women MBAs, Katz Alliance for LGBT business students, Roberto Clemente MBA Association, and Pitt Black MBA Network for African American students. There are also an additional 300 plus student organizations across Pitt.
An often overlooked part of class diversity is the veteran student population. This year, military veterans account for 7 percent of our MBA class and it’s important that they, too, can enjoy a strong support system at Katz. The Katz Military and Veterans Association, launched by MBA student veterans Tony Wang and Justin Burdette, is one example of that. For the past eight years, the University, Katz, and the undergraduate College of Business Administration have been designated as Military Friendly Schools by Victory Media. That designation places us among the top 15 percent of colleges, universities, and trade schools in the country who receive this designation for exemplary services that embrace their military students.
The work we’ve done has resulted in a long track record of success – Katz has had a 100% employment rate for diversity students in recent years. “Ultimately, our goal is to set these students up for success after graduation,” Krugel said. “But you can’t overlook the journey to get there. Katz has been, and always will be, a place for diversity candidates to feel safe, secure, and empowered – to feel at home.”