A global survey of 184 current, former and prospective Master of Business Administration (MBA) students with disabilities showed widespread barriers across the MBA experience. One in 3 faced disability-related barriers in the application process, 2 in 3 needed accommodations while in the program but over 25% of them never requested any, over 60% experienced difficulties with social gatherings, and half had a negative perception of on-campus recruiting.

This study shows that barriers exist for MBA students with disabilities right from application to graduation. Recognizing that the MBA degree is a gateway to leadership roles, this creates added barriers for people with disabilities seeking leadership roles.

After entering an MBA program, 57% of the respondents faced barriers and frequently cited overly demanding schedules, and inflexible evaluation and testing policies. For example, one respondent was not given an extension despite having a seizure, while another was asked to make a graded presentation from the hospital. Students’ recruiting experiences were also affected, and half of the respondents cited bias, stereotyping, ableism and inaccessibility during on-campus recruiting.

The Access to Success Organization partnered with Graduate Management Admission CouncilTM and researchers from the University of Winnipeg and University of Toronto on the world’s first report on disability inclusion in MBA programs.

The full report is now available at https://accesstosuccess.ca/report/.

An opportunity for a more accessible and inclusive MBA

Despite the challenges, there are bright spots. Most respondents reported a high level of satisfaction with their campus Career Centers and the overall MBA experience. Those who requested accommodations generally reported the results to be positive and beneficial.

Respondents identified 25 key actions to improve accessibility of MBA programs – of which 15 do not cost anything to implement. Topping the list of requests were building awareness about accommodations among faculty and administrators, creating resource centers for students with disabilities, waiving standardized testing, and implementing anti-bias and disability awareness training for peers and recruiters.

“We cannot address what we do not know,” said Varun Chandak, Founder and President of Access to Success Organization. “So far, no data existed on the experience of MBA students with disabilities. Now, we hope this report can serve as a launchpad for systemic change for improving inclusion of people with disabilities in MBA programs.”

The report’s authors, Dr. Katherine Breward and Dr. Dan Samosh will discuss the study and their findings in a virtual event on April 12th at 12 pm EST. Registration for the event is now open.

Note: The researchers and select students are available for media interviews upon request, in addition to the presentation of the findings at the scheduled event.

Access to Success Organization (www.accesstosuccess.ca) was launched in 2016 to support the development of future leaders with disabilities and assistive technology. The Access to Success Fellowship provides annual scholarships of up to C$90,000 to MBA students with disabilities. Access to Success also helps organizations become more accessible for people with disabilities through inclusive design.

SOURCE Access to Success Organization