11 Feb 2017
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Harvard Business School Makes a Case for Diversity


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Photo by Russ Campbell

As central as case studies are to research and learning at Harvard Business School, they’ve been missing one major feature, says senior lecturer Steven S. Rogers (MBA 1985): diversity. Notably, the stories of African-American business owners and leaders.

In a lengthy feature in the Boston Globe last week, Rogers said that less than 1 percent of the roughly 10,000 HBS cases focus on a black executive, even though 9 percent of American companies are black-owned. Rogers, who has been teaching at HBS for five years, has set out to reverse that trend, writing 14 case studies focused on black protagonists.

“We’re showing the true spectrum of the business world,” Rogers told the Globe. “We are now righting this wrong and being more inclusive.” And he’s using many of the cases in his own class, Black Business Leaders and Entrepreneurship.

The driving force being Rogers’ efforts aren’t just to shrink the diversity gap. He notes that, with a 35 percent increase in the number of US black-owned firms over the past decade and with black-owned business seen as the largest employer of black workers after the US government, it is essential that business schools educate and encourage more black entrepreneurs.

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