Survey of undergrads and MBAs finds work/life balance, opportunities to provide service and extend education, higher priority than just making money

By the IMDiversity Career Center Staff


A comprehensive survey by Universum Communications provides a new glimpse into the career aspirations and employer preferences of Native American college undergraduates and MBA students, contrasted with those for other ethnic groups including African Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, South Asian Indian Americans, and Latinos.

A sneak preview of the report, “IDEAL Employers 2006 – Diversity Edition”, was recently published in THE BLACK COLLEGIAN Magazine, a publication of multicultural publisher IMDiversity, Inc., which also produces the Native American Village Online website and the Career Center.  The full report, to be distributed on college campuses nationwide in December, is the result of the multinational research organization’s survey of more than 12,800 diverse students pursuing higher degrees at both the undergraduate level and in MBA concentrations.

The annual survey asks students to share their views and experiences regarding employers in all sectors, as well as personal topics such as their career goals, work values, perspectives on recruitment approaches, favorite websites, and feelings about the concept and value of diversity.


Definitions and Values Samples

Asked to define “diversity”, majorities in all survey groups, MBA and undergraduate, most frequently associated “ethnicity” with the term. This association was strongest for American Indian/Alaska Native MBA students (89%) and least commonly selected by Asian-Indian MBA students (67%).  “Gender” was the second most common association across the board for all survey groups. Among the groups, it was selected most frequently by American Indian/Alaska Native MBA students (78%) and least frequently by Asian-Indian undergraduates (43%).

Comparative highlights from other definitions: Latino/Hispanic undergraduates were most likely among all survey groups to associate “diversity” with “language skills” (15%); Asian-Indian undergraduates most frequently selected “religion” (16%) and “nationality” (48%); and American Indian/Alaska Native undergraduates most frequently selected “Age” (35%).

Asked to define the preferred industry suiting their career goals, American Indian/Alaska Native students were the only group whose majority preference lay in public service and educational sectors rather than in the financial or management arenas.  Even factoring the MBA responses in with those of undergraduates, the AI/AN group reported an overall preference for careers in either the Government/Public service (23%) or Healthcare (23%) sectors. Tied for second place among their preferences were careers in Education/Teaching (15%) or Academic Research (15%).

Asked what elements were most valuable to their career decision-making process, the greatest number of AI/AN undergraduates said they prioritized “Work/life balance” (51%), followed by a “Good career reference” (49%), “Competitive compensation” (47%), “Clear advancement path” (45%), and an opportunity to “Pursue further education” (45%).


Diversity Outreach

Asked what kinds of advancement opportunities and employer outreach were most attractive, a large majority of AI/AN students said they most valued “Scholarships,” as reported by 50% of MBAs and 47% of undergraduates.  After this, the UG and MBA groups’ preferences diverge in surprising, almost opposing ways.  For example, while Native MBAs reported assigning the lowest priority to “Mentoring Programs,” responses among the undergraduate group show them to be relatively important, following only Scholarships and Internships.

A more detailed breakdown:

For MBAs, the next most valuable aspects, from highest to lowest priority, were: “Participation in diversity-targeted career fairs” (38%); followed by other diversity-targeted events, co-op programs, and internships (all 25%); then funding of diversity organizations, networking events, and on-campus presentations (13%); and mentorship programs.

For UGs, however, internships (42%) were the second highest priority after scholarships, followed by: mentorship programs (24%); on-campus presentations (19%); diversity-targeted events (16%); co-op programs (13%); with the rest answering networking events, participation in diversity-targeted career fairs, and funding of diversity organizations (the lowest priority, at 8%).


Focus on Employers

In other parts of the reports, composite figures from all groups’ responses were calculated for over overall rankings of the nation’s employers according to different careers- and diversity-related criteria.  For example, this year’s overall top diversity employer spot went to Google; Johnson & Johnson was ranked “The Most Ethical” by MBA students; and the greatest number of undergraduates said their favorite website for careers information was that of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

For more information about the IDEAL Employers 2006 – Diversity Edition report, see the sneak preview at THE BLACK COLLEGIAN Online at

For information about the annual survey, see


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