The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management (CGSM), also known as Consortium MBA, is a mission-driven nonprofit consisting of 22 top business schools and over 80 corporate partners.
The mission of the Consortium is to increase b-school enrollment of under-represented students, who self-identify as Black, Hispanic/Latinx, or Indigenous, by 30% by 2030.
The long-term aim is to improve representation in business schools and corporate leadership.
By applying to an MBA program via the Consortium, you can save time, money and potentially boost your chances of admission.
Overview Of Consortium MBA Benefits
There are several key benefits of applying to a Consortium business school for your MBA:
- You only have to complete one application to apply to up to six Consortium MBA schools.
- You get a deeply discounted application rate.
- Applications are open to everyone meeting minimum qualifications (it’s not race-based, but mission-driven).
- You get the opportunity to apply for a Consortium fellowship (merit-based, full-tuition scholarship).
- You get added mentorship and networking opportunities.
Plus, MBA admissions consultant Barbara Coward says that applying through the Consortium can help your application stand out from the crowd.
“While it's no guarantee of being accepted, I’m sure that admissions committees take an even closer look at a candidate who applies through the Consortium.
“These types of partnerships take time, effort (and, yes, money), so if a school believes it's a valuable channel for recruitment, then they pay greater attention to the pipeline it provides.”
The most recent addition to the Consortium, Stanford Graduate School of Business will begin accepting Consortium applications from August 2022.
Stanford’s dean, Jonathan D. Levin, says the school joined the Consortium so professionals get access to the same opportunities regardless of their backgrounds.
“We believe in attracting and supporting outstanding students from diverse backgrounds to enhance the learning environment at Stanford, and ultimately, to contribute principled and purposeful leadership to organizations around the world,” he says.
Consortium MBA Schools: Which Business Schools Are Members Of The Consortium?
The 22 Consortium business schools are:
University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business
University of California, Los Angeles, Anderson School of Management
Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business
Columbia University, Columbia Business School
Cornell University, Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management
Dartmouth College, Tuck School of Business
Emory University, Goizueta Business School
Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business
Indiana University-Bloomington, Kelley School of Business
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Ross School of Business
New York University, Stern School of Business
UNC Chapel Hill, Kenan-Flagler Business School
Rice University, Jones Graduate School of Business
Stanford Graduate School of Business
University of Rochester, Simon Business School
USC, Marshall School of Business
UT Austin, McCombs School of Business
Washington University in St. Louis, Olin Business School
University of Virginia, Darden School of Business
University of Washington, Foster School of Business
University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin School of Business
Yale University, Yale School of Management
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Consortium Application: How Do You Apply For A Consortium MBA?
To apply to an MBA program via the Consortium, you have to apply for program admission and Consortium membership at the same time.
You may only apply for Consortium membership at up to six member schools. However, you may also separately apply for admission to other programs within the Consortium, so this need not be limiting if you wish to apply to quite a few MBA programs.
There are three separate components of a Consortium application:
1. Acceptance at the business school(s) you apply to via the Consortium application
2. Acceptance into the Consortium itself
3. Acceptance into the Consortium fellowship
You may receive acceptance into zero, one, two, or all three of these opportunities.
According to Janice Wells-White, vice president of program administration for the CGSM, candidates must meet three basic criteria in order to apply:
1. Be a US citizen or US permanent resident of any race or ethnicity at the time of application.
2. Demonstrate a commitment to The Consortium’s mission of helping to reduce the serious underrepresentation of African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans in both our member schools’ enrollments and the ranks of management.
3. Hold a four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in the US or an equivalent degree from a college or university outside the US.
Note that you do not have to be a member of an underrepresented minority group in order to take advantage of the Consortium’s common application and reduced application rate.
Consortium Application Deadlines
The Consortium forwards your Common Application to the member programs on your list, so deadlines are often different for individual admissions offices and the Consortium application.
You will want to check individual program deadlines, as well as Consortium deadlines, in order to keep everything straight.
2022 Consortium Application Deadlines:
- Application Available: August 15, 2021
- Early Application Deadline: October 15, 2021 (11:59 p.m. EST)
- Traditional Application Deadline: January 5, 2022 (11:59 p.m. EST)
- Admission Deadline: Depends on business school
- Fellowship Notification: No later than March 2022
CGSM Application Fees
Applying to six business schools in one application saves both time and money. The Consortium sets application fees based on the number of member schools to which you apply. The rates range from $150 to $300.
Number Of Schools In Application
Consortium MBA Application Process
Once you’ve created an account on the Consortium’s website, you may begin your application.
The application includes all the typical MBA admissions requirements (personal information, academic information, employment history, résumé, recommendation letters, school-specific essays) plus:
- An essay demonstrating your commitment to the CGSM’s mission*
- A recommendation letter vouching for your commitment to the mission*
- Required core essay. Prompts are available on the Consortium’s website
- Optional core essay
*Note that these mission-focused supplemental documents will only be used to determine Consortium membership after you’ve been accepted to one or more business schools on your list. Individual admissions committees will not read these supplements.
Conversely, the core essays will be shared with admissions committees.
How Do You Get A Consortium Fellowship?
At the end of your Consortium application, you will be asked to rank the schools on your list. We recommend ranking in order of preference. However, it might be worth doing some research into Consortium ranking strategy before you submit your application.
The programs to which you apply will have the option to offer you a Consortium fellowship, which covers tuition and fees, and may include a stipend.
After you’ve been admitted into a program (or programs), admissions offices will see how you ranked them on your application.
Consortium Fellowship Rankings
Your highest ranked school will have the first opportunity to offer you a Consortium MBA fellowship. If they do, then no other school will have that same opportunity—even if they admitted you.
If the highest ranked school (that admitted you) chooses not to offer you a scholarship, then the next program on your list gets the opportunity and so on and so forth.
Scholarships are not transferable, but you may opt to decline the financial award and attend another program without it. Earning a Consortium fellowship does not exclude you from receiving additional scholarships at member institutions.
As long as you are a Consortium Member, you can still benefit from perks such as networking events and mentorship opportunities. These benefits are separate from the Consortium Fellowship.
Say you applied to six Consortium MBAs and were accepted into two, which you ranked as follows:
University of Wisconsin MBA Consortium
University of Texas Online Consortium MBA
The UW MBA Consortium has the first opportunity to offer you a fellowship, and they pass. University of Texas now has the opportunity to offer you a fellowship, and, congratulations, they do!
You now have the opportunity to attend either CGSM MBA program as a Consortium member, but you only have a fellowship at Texas.
What Is The Consortium MBA Acceptance Rate?
According to the Consortium, they typically receive over 1,100 applications for Consortium membership each year, and admit approximately 500 students—making the Consortium MBA acceptance rate less than 45%.
The Consortium awards over 400 full-tuition merit scholarships annually, making the Consortium fellowship award rate less than 36%.
Is A Consortium MBA Right For You?
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I passionate about the CGSM’s mission, and can I demonstrate this passion?
- Do I wish to apply to one or more programs on the Consortium’s member list (and is there a chance I could get in)?
If you answered 'yes' to both of these questions, then a Consortium MBA could be an outstanding opportunity for you!
To wrap up, let’s review some Consortium MBA pros and cons.
Consortium Membership Advantages:
- Saves time: One application for up to six b-schools
- Saves money: discounted application fees
- Extensive alumni network, mentorship opportunities, and internship opportunities
- Access to corporate sponsors
- Consortium Fellows receive a full-tuition scholarship
- You play a role in improving representation in business
- Admissions committees may take a closer look at your application, because the Consortium is a valued recruitment method
Consortium Membership Disadvantages:
- You have to rank the schools on your application list
- Additional application essays
- Additional recommendation letter
- Different application dates to track
- US schools only
Consortium membership is competitive, but so is admission into the top business programs that comprise their membership list.
If you have demonstrated a commitment to the mission, and are interested in membership, the Consortium welcomes your application.
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