Wharton’s EMBA Diversity and Inclusion Officer Jessica Guerrero is committed to helping to “close the gap” between capabilities and opportunities for underrepresented minorities.

In Wharton’s EMBA program, students learn just as much from our faculty as they do from each other. Diversity brings different perspectives, influences, and values, which add significantly to the learning for everyone. While the program is exceptionally diverse in terms of professional and geographic backgrounds, we are committed to increasing recruitment of talented women as well as Black, African American, Hispanic, Native American and Latino applicants to our cohorts. 

To support our efforts in these areas, Jessica Guerrero, our diversity and inclusion officer, is helping to create, articulate, and operationalize a diversity, belonging, and inclusion strategy. She strives to deliver a data-driven approach to diversity recruitment for historically underrepresented communities so that they can apply to and be successful in Wharton’s EMBA program.

“As an African American woman growing up in South Philadelphia, I was very aware that people’s level of resilience, intellectual capabilities, and aspirations didn’t always equal their level of success. I want to close that gap between capabilities and opportunities,” she said.

In Wharton’s EMBA program, Jessica supports both the Philadelphia and San Francisco campus with recruiting events geared toward increasing diversity. “I want them to understand that they have a place in our community and connect them with other students and alumni. For example, prospective students from marginalized communities may want to ask questions specifically geared towards what it is like to hold a particular identity in a space. I would connect those candidates to EMBA students or alumni who hold the same identity, in order for them to share their experiences that only they can speak about,” said Jessica.

Jessica noted that the question of “What is it really like here?” is very common among prospective students of color. “I explain that you might be one of a few people who share the identities that are salient for you. However, our staff are sensitive to the systemic issues and barriers that students of color face in general and are very supportive. I also encourage them to reach across lines of difference and be comfortable with self-advocacy to ask for help. Wharton’s resources and support are unmatched and can help you succeed in this program.”

She added, “I tell them, ‘Even if no one else looks like you, you can successfully navigate here based on the supportive structure of the program.’”

Jessica also talks to prospective applicants about the “cultural capital” they bring to the program. She explained, “Each student has a particular perspective and experience and that makes their voice that much more valuable.”

To better understand how to present the strongest application possible, Jessica encourages applicants to reach out to her. “I can provide advice on their candidacy and help them to put their best foot forward in their application,” she said. “There are many applicants from underrepresented communities who would benefit from this program, but they may not believe that it’s a path for them or have the support to guide them through the application process. I am here to provide information and support to these communities.”

— By Meghan Laska

Posted: October 1, 2020

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