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Year In Review

Building a DEI Ecosystem


MIT Sloan has been sharpening its focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) based on coordinated contributions from staff members, a recent task force composed of alumni and faculty, and the MIT Sloan Student Senate. The MIT Sloan Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has spent over a year on systemic DEI efforts in the community aimed at improving dialogue, communication, understanding, and action. Thanks to the dedicated work of the team and the MIT Sloan community, this work is evolving and growing considerably.

In August 2021, the DEI Office consisted of only four members. “We’ve been building our team by adding positions in our Admissions, Career Development, and Communications offices,” explains Bryan Thomas (Assistant Dean, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion). These include Steven Branch (Associate Director, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Career Development Office), Terrell Williams (Associate Director, Admissions, Diversity Recruiting), and Benjamin Daniel (Assistant Director, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Communications). Additionally, Kayla Burt (Data Research Analyst), Amanda Jarvis (Assistant Director, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion), and Kaylicia Merisier (Senior Administrative Assistant) have also joined the DEI Office.

In February 2022, a new DEI curriculum in line with MIT values was rolled out to enhance the experience of MIT Sloan employees by creating a shared understanding of the organizational and personal impediments to inclusion and offering shared tools for addressing these barriers. According to Jarvis, who directs the program, it is open to all members of the staff: “Open and Inclusive is the most ambitious and intentional effort at collective learning that we have ever attempted to deliver to the staff at MIT Sloan.” Participants have been introduced to DEI frameworks, anchor points for community-wide discussion, broadened perspectives, and ways to identify and advocate for systemic change. O+I also leverages data collection and analysis frameworks created by Burt, which allow the team to measure course outcomes and plan enhancements in an intentional and data-driven way. The sixteenth cohort completed training in December 2022.

The MIT Sloan Class of 2024 is one of the most diverse classes the school has ever seen in terms of gender, race, and ethnicity. In total, 46% of the incoming MBA class are women, 12% identify as Black, and 17% identify as Latinx. MIT Sloan Admissions has also extended its recruiting efforts to historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). In 2022, Williams visited four HBCU graduate school fairs and attended the White House Initiative for Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

MBA Class of 2024

  • 46%

    of the incoming MBA class are women

  • 12%

    identify as Black

  • 17%

    identify as Latinx

This new DEI and leadership initiative was designed to increase communication and community-building opportunities for students. Created in collaboration with the MIT Sloan Student Senate, the course invited MBA, MBAn, Sloan Fellows, LGO, EMBA, PhD, and MFin students to engage in small group discussions about the most pressing questions in business and society with faculty facilitators.

In collaboration with the MIT Leadership Center, this course takes place during the MIT Sloan Intensive Period (SIP) and—using an MIT system dynamics framework—explores the complexities of DEI and ethics. Over the span of the two-and-a-half-day course, students choose a discipline-specific ethics workshop to attend, engage in an immersive simulation activity, and participate in both faculty-led learning and facilitated peer conversations about leading within biased systems.

First-year MBA students now focus on implicit bias and dialogue across differences in their initial orientation. They also go through a re-orientation in their second year, focusing on DEI in industry and future DEI leadership role opportunities. EMBA students emphasize collective learning, fixed versus growth mindsets, and the differences between being informed versus being right. MFin and MBAn students have industry-specific content, while Sloan Fellows focus on cross-cultural awareness.

Bryan Thomas | Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Many of our students would love to connect with alumni for mentorship. In addition, if any alumni are interested in serving as speakers in the classroom, they can join our speaker database, which we created to help faculty identify diverse speakers to share their insights in their classes.

The DEI Office launched the inaugural DEI Awards alongside their DEI capstone, The ComMITment, which is designed to help MIT Sloan students learn from leaders about how to address systemic inequality and solve related challenges. The keynote speaker in early 2022 was Segun Idowu, Boston’s inaugural chief of economic opportunity and inclusion. Jordan Dominguez, MBA ’22, Courtney Jacobovits, MBA ’22, and MBA candidate Christina Peña received the first DEI Awards.

This new community-based civic space is an Institute-wide initiative to empower conversations across MIT’s population and channel these voices to influence decision-making through a new type of open, nuanced communication infrastructure. Departments, labs, and centers across the Institute are encouraged to constructively shape MIT’s effort to create a living values statement, and MIT Sloan was a part of the program’s pilot group in 2021. RealTalk rolled out for MIT Sloan stakeholders during the 2022–2023 academic year. A larger rollout is planned for 2023.

Since the inception of the Endowment for Enduring Diversity and Inclusion, the school has raised and committed over $25 million for DEI fellowships and continues to cite alumni as one of its most powerful resources. Austin Ashe (Senior Associate Director, Belonging and Culture) explains, “MIT Sloan alumni are emblematic of the concept of ‘Smarter Together.’ When they were studying here, they advocated for change and found ways to partner with MIT Sloan staff, faculty, and senior administration.” Additionally, alumni groups like the MIT Sloan Affinity Group Alumni Council have been helpful toward DEI efforts and will be needed in the future.

For more info Bryan A Thomas Assistant Dean, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (617) 715-2921