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Making A Difference

Giving Minorities a Playbook for Corporate Success

John Rice (MBA 1992)

John Rice (MBA 1992) founded Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT), a national nonprofit organization, to equip underrepresented minorities with the skills, coaching, and relationships they need to become high-impact leaders in corporations, nonprofits, and entrepreneurial ventures.

According to a 2016 report on corporate diversity, black men and women account for only 4.7 percent of executive team members in the Fortune 100, although African Americans make up 13.2 percent of the US population. And only 1 percent—that’s five people—are CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. That lack of diversity, and the resultant lack of minority role models, is what prompted Rice to develop MLT while still a student at HBS. He realized just how close he had come to missing the opportunity for a career in business, because, despite coming from a relatively privileged background, going into business or to business school hadn’t really occurred to him.

Today, MLT offers a multistage program that provides advice, mentorship, and information from college through mid-career for more than 1,000 people annually. The nonprofit’s achievements are impressive: 95 percent of Fellows in its Career Prep program receive job offers prior to completion and 95 percent of its MBA Prep Fellows are accepted by at least one top-25 business school. For those already in the workforce, 75 percent of professionals who participated in MLT’s mid-career advancement program receive promotions within one year of completing the program.

“I think what success will look like in the next 10 years is to build a critical mass of diverse talent in the leadership pipelines of the major institutions that are driving our economy,” Rice explains. “We have the opportunity to help these institutions solve the problem of getting a more diverse workforce.”

(Published April 2018)

Find HBS alumni at Management Leadership for Tomorrow