Michigan Ross Gets $6 Million for Diversity Initiatives
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In June, as protests against racism spread across the country, University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business released a Commitment to Action, outlining how the would put into place new steps to promote diversity, equity and inclusion.
Now, the school has received $6 million from two prominent alumni to help make good on that commitment.
The gift, which comes from Stephen M. Ross and Jeff T. Blau, will go toward a series of new initiatives intended to facilitate recruiting applicants from underrepresented backgrounds and providing new learning experiences for those students once they enroll at the school.
Ross and Blau are both alums of and longtime donors to the school. Ross, whose name has been attached to the school since his gift of $100 million in 2004, is chairman and founder of the real estate firm Related Companies. Blau, meanwhile, is the firm’s CEO.
Part of their gift will go toward the Related Scholars Fund. That fund will offer scholarships to students seeking careers in investing and real estate who come from underrepresented backgrounds, including low-income backgrounds.
The gift will also establish the Blau Initiative for Diversity in Real Estate and Infrastructure.
The Blau Initiative’s efforts will involve encouraging student interest in investing and real estate, then lending financial support to make Ross more accessible for students interested in those areas.
However, the initiative also intends to create new career development opportunities for students interested in investing and real estate once they arrive at Ross.
Those will include an internship program and the Blau Career Development Series, which will facilitate mentorships, workshops and company visits.
Ross (the person) said that having “been in real estate for more than 50 years,” he now saw “a unique opportunity and obligation to foster more diversity in our industry.”
Scott DeRue, the Ross School’s dean, explained that “this new gift from Stephen Ross and Jeff Blau will help Michigan Ross create opportunities for students who are underrepresented in business leadership.”
He added that he anticipated “seeing the positive impact on diversity at Ross and in the business community for many years to come.”
Top business schools like Ross make a point of trying to build classes that are diverse, including in terms of backgrounds, demographics, career interests, and life experiences. That’s true now more than ever.
As an applicant, it’s important to know what unique perspective you will bring to a B-school community. If you’d like some feedback on how you can put together an application that clearly communicates your personal brand, we can help – just ask us for a free MBA application assessment!
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