HBCU Money™ B-School: 14 Little Known Facts About The Federal Reserve

federal-reserve

Just 14 things that you may or may not know about the Federal Reserve Bank that were shared by FederalReserveEducation.org’s outreach to teach citizens more and more about how and what the Federal Reserve role actually is in their day to day lives. Our Editor-In-Chief William A. Foster, IV got 10 out of 15 correct on their quiz. Looks like he may need to go back to business school and take a few refresher courses.

  1. The profit (revenues in excess of costs) of the Federal Reserve is given to the U.S. Treasury.
  2. Managing the federal deficit is NOT a function of the Federal Reserve.
  3. The Board of Governors, the governing body of the Federal Reserve System, is set up to consist of 7 members.
  4. Congress is the organization that established the Federal Reserve System.
  5. 38 percent of commercial banks in the U.S. are members of the Federal Reserve System.
  6. 12 districts make up the Federal Reserve System.
  7. The San Francisco Federal Reserve district serves the largest number of states.
  8. Member banks are NOT required to hold stock in Reserve Banks.
  9. Federal Reserve head offices each have a 9 member board of directors. 
  10. Federal Reserve Bank employees are NOT considered to be government employees.
  11. State Advisory Council is NOT an advisory council to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.
  12. Each Federal Reserve District president reports to the board of directors. 
  13. The Federal Reserve is the 3rd attempt at our nation’s central bank.
  14. The Federal Reserve’s primary source of income is interest on government securities. 
About these ads

Black Enterprise Fails To Lead With Journalistic Integrity After Not Crediting HBCU Money Article On Ann Kroenke

By William A. Foster, IV

No man ever yet became great by imitation. – Samuel Johnson

2_NO BE

I was in second grade when I did my first book report. The class went to the library during the day and picked out our books and I chose Fraggle Rock to do my report on. Upon arriving home my mother as was customary had me and my sister sit down at the table to do our homework while she prepared dinner. I was excited about my book report, but there was just one problem – I had no idea what a book report entailed. Not bothering to ask I just started copying the book verbatim and I was about halfway through the book when my mother came to check on my progress. My mother asked me what I was doing and I of course told her my book report. Realizing I was just copying every word in the book she realized that perhaps I had not been properly instructed or did not understand exactly what a book report was. She talked to me about plagiarism or in second grade comprehension “copying” other people’s work and how it was not allowed. This was as they say a learning moment because beyond just explaining plagiarism to me she also talked to me about integrity, ethics, and the hard work that both the author and illustrator put into the book, and that it is always important to acknowledge people’s efforts. My mother being who she is had me to complete my first works cited page.

HBCU Money is a startup financial journalism multimedia company. There are no full-time writers and the site itself is still currently in a blog style format. I secure guest writers and try to be very creative producing original content like The HBCUpreneur Corner, one of the site’s more popular series that interviews HBCU entrepreneurs. The site is largely financed through bootstrapping and reinvesting the pence that the site currently receives through ad revenue. A primary reason for the blog style format is that its free and an extensive site overhaul has not been in the budget. Focusing on quality content has been. HBCU Money will not even turn three years old for another four months. While the site recently achieved the 100 000 views milestone, HBCU Money is by no means busting at the bandwidth in terms of readership. Our social media presence is limited to less than 1 000 followers and the Facebook page has less than 200. Despite all these resource limitations my mother’s lesson is soundly within me with all content that is produced. Sources are extensively fact checked and credit is always given when quoting others work. The fundamentals or basics you learn in high school english 101 and as a college freshmen in your english composite class. Things that I believe will be in this company’s DNA as it grows and a culture I will fight fiercely to ensure are well rooted into anyone who comes to work for this company.

Recently, I was working on a piece on education demographics of America’s 100 wealthiest and I happen upon Mrs. Ann Kroenke. Her Forbes profile listed her school as Lincoln University. As you may or may not know there are three Lincoln Universities in the United States and two are HBCUs. I could have just assumed that she went to the Lincoln University in Missouri because she lives in Missouri. Instead, I decided to do what you were suppose to do and that is contact a credible source. I did so by contacting the registrar’s office at LUM, which I chose first because most signs pointed to it being the most likely one. I received verification from the school that yes I had the right person.  This is a huge story. In fact, the morning I was breaking this story a fellow journapreneur Jarrett Carter, owner and publisher of HBCU Digest, said to me, “I hope your server is tight. I am sure this post will go global. Don’t let your site melt.”  I knew the story was big. For decades, Oprah Winfrey had been held up as HBCU’s wealthiest and only billionaire HBCU alumn. Now, I was about to tell HBCU Nation that was incorrect and the true wealthiest HBCU alum is a Walton, owners’ of the Walmart Empire, and an European American woman. I felt fairly certain that the HBCU Digest would pick up the story as one of its primary objectives is to operate as a curation resource for HBCU news and information. However, I never had any doubts that Jarrett and his staff would acknowledge our role in breaking the story. As the picture below shows that is exactly what they did and have always done when curating any of HBCU Money’s articles. Are they required to do this? No, but it is about journalistic integrity. Unfortunately, everyone does not seem to share this sense of integrity.  The next day, I decided to do a social media check on twitter just to see how well the article was spreading. Well, it was spreading alright, but it was not spreading from us. One of Black Enterprise’s writers decided to parrot our article and link its source back to Forbes as you see in their picture below, but at no point acknowledge who actually broke the story. Obviously, Black Enterprise has a much larger reach than we do so for all intents and purposes to most consumers it looks as if they broke the story. Again, well within their legal rights to report it as they did, but completely lacking any integrity along the way. HBCU Money is a small print compared to Black Enterprise, Bloomberg, and Forbes in the financial journalism industry. What would it hurt Black Enterprise to give credit to the little guy who put in endless hours to research and break such a story?

HBCU Digest curation of HBCU Money’s article on Ann Kroenke. (below)

Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 12.39.41 PM

 

Black Enterprise’s parroting of HBCU Money’s article on Ann Kroenke. (below)

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 8.03.53 PM

This situation speaks to the cancer that is in journalism today. The desire to be first or grab whatever story is driving traffic is crumbling the fundamentals of journalistic virtuosity today. You can see it when you watch CNN, Fox, and other major media outlets. Breaking original stories is no longer a priority or building on the established story. Black Enterprise could have interviewed HBCU Money and talked to us about what it was like to break such a story, but they did not. Given they have many times my resources they could have gone to Missouri and potentially interviewed Mrs. Kroenke about our story. Both would have been building upon the story that was out and still have been original on their part. Instead, they chose the apathetic and unimaginative option of parroting our story and driving traffic to their site. Black Enterprise could be helping to cultivate a new generation of journalpreneurs like HBCU Digest, HBCUstory, and HBCU Money. It is after all, a company that was founded and owned by an HBCU graduate. Unfortunately, behavior like this makes it questionable that beyond their own limited resources what if any lessons they could share. It also comes across to me as a company attempting to fruitlessly protect its monopoly on African American financial journalism and speaks to an interview Ken Auletta had with Charlie Rose in 2010 where he discussed an interview with Bill Gates. He asked Gates what he was worried about and to Auletta surprise, Gates answer was not being the obvious competitors that Microsoft had at the time, but he said, “I worry about someone  in a garage inventing something I’ve never thought of.” It almost begs the question has journalism as an industry completely lost its way with the advent of blogging. Journalist and news companies are now operating more as bloggers and not as journalist; not looking to produce original stories like that of HBCU Money’s Ann Kroenke or even attempting to research, investigate, and report something that could be among the Brookings Institute’s Ten Noteworthy Moments In U.S. Investigative Journalism. There is an abyss of stories in African America and Diaspora business world that goes uncovered and that not even one company with all its might could cover alone.

Nas came out with an album entitled Hip Hop Is Dead speaking to his frustration of the absence of quality and originality of content within the music genre ten years ago. However, hip-hop was not dead, but the ability to find artist and the accompanying music that had a depth of constitution required a deeper inquiry than in previous generations. As is the case today with journalism it appears; and that is regrettable given how important information and different angles or points of view are to our society. The need for more media ownership in this country goes without saying, and that is especially true for African America, but I believe it to be true for every community. Every community needs to be able to express their point of view and relay information about things that are intimately impacting them. However, with that ownership comes a great responsibility to the pillars that my mother instilled in me at our dinner table that night and that is integrity, ethics, and hard work. If we do not have them as an industry, then we will be relegated to a society of informationally embalmed people instead of the vibrant, progressive, and inquisitive society that we believe we want and should be.

HBCU Money™ Business Book Feature – How To Start A Vending Business

mQNt_9s_ORXPWmYV5DDbYaQ

How to Start A Vending Business provides information and advice about starting a bulk vending route, covering how to buy a route, how to run a route, candy choices, vending machine brands and related topics. Here is what you will discover in this book. How to find cheap vending machines with these 3 simple techniques. 3 little known, yet simple ways to find locations for your vending machines. Secrets of expert bulk vendors that few people ever know about. 3 proven steps to a successful vending route. 2 simple keys (that are right in front of your eyes) to finding the cheapest candy for your route. Warning: 3 things you should never do when it comes to bulk vending, how to not pay commissions to your vending locations, when to buy a vending route from someone and how to do it. 7 everyday, but often overlooked tips and tricks for getting free locations. How often to change your candy and keep track your expenses. The once famous but forgotten secret that instantly allows you to double your vending route in months. Antoine Cameron actually runs a vending business; this is not some theory book with a whole bunch of fluff, this guy knows his stuff.

HBCU Money™ Dozen 10/20 – 10/24

images

Did you miss HBCU Money™ Dozen via Twitter? No worry. We are now putting them on the site for you to visit at your leisure. We have made some changes here at HBCU Money™ Dozen. We are now solely focused on research and central bank articles from the previous week.

Research

Big Data Digest: Rise of the think-bots l CIOonline trib.al/HFrbRVl

Management of drought-stressed hay fields l KY Equine Research ow.ly/Djhaj

Sen. Hatch calls high-skilled worker shortage ‘a crisis’ l Computerworld
ow.ly/Djhhu

Secretive funding fuels ongoing net neutrality astroturfing controversy l Networkworld ow.ly/Djhkq

Research funding available to improve nonuse valuation methods to better evaluate water quality l EPA Research go.usa.gov/GCzz

4 Startups That Are Changing Productivity l CIOonline trib.al/1CLbknr

Federal Reserve, Central Banks, & Financial Departments

Could government-financed health insurance be a life-saver for India’s poor? l World Bank wrld.bg/DeZ3J

Where was Angry Birds invented? Best start-ups beyond Silicon Valley l World Economic Forum wef.ch/1s1UkTN

See why food price fluctuations in China and the U.S. have become more correlated l St. Louis Fed bit.ly/1p1JBGc

How affordable is broadband? Take a look at this regional breakdown l World Bank wrld.bg/DeOmt

Do African Children Have an Equal Chance? A Human Opportunity Report for Sub-Saharan Africa l World Bank http://wrld.bg/DhGr3

Bidder offers $3.2 million for 6,000 Detroit foreclosures l Housing Wire http://hwi.re/7Jdq21

Thank you as always for joining us on Saturday for HBCU Money™ Dozen. The 12 most important research and finance articles of the week.

The HBCU Money™ Weekly Market Watch

Our Money Matters /\ October 24, 2014

A weekly snapshot of African American owned public companies and HBCU Money™ tracked African stock exchanges.

NAME TICKER PRICE (GAIN/LOSS %)

African American Publicly Traded Companies

Citizens Bancshares Georgia (CZBS) $8.45 (2.87% DN)

M&F Bancorp (MFBP) $4.96 (0.00% DN)

Radio One (ROIA) $2.61 (0.00% UNCH)

African Stock Exchanges

Bourse Regionale des Valeurs Mobilieres (BRVM)  241.43 (0.29% UP)

Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE)  9 570.74 (0.05% DN)

Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE)  2 226.37 (3.78% UP)*

Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE)  159.22 (N/A)

Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) 47 879.45 (0.47% DN)

International Stock Exchanges

New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) 10 582.62 (1.39% UP)

London Stock Exchange (LSE)  3 418.09 (0.43% DN)

Tokyo Stock Exchange (TOPIX)  1 242.32 (0.81% UP)

Commodities

Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 5.22.35 PM

 

Who Is The Wealthiest HBCU Graduate? Hint: It Is Not Oprah Winfrey

By William A. Foster, IV

“The only thing that should surprise us is that there are still some things that can surprise us.” – Francois de La Rochefoucald

ann-walton-kroenke_416x416

Pictured Above: Ann Walton Kroenke, Lincoln University (MO) – Class of 1972

In a recent article for HBCU Money, I was researching the educational demographics for America’s 100 wealthiest. Naturally, as I was looking through their profiles I was seeing the names of your typical Harvard, Yale, etc. as colleges attended. Knowing that Oprah Winfrey, who is not among America’s 100 wealthiest, has long been the only African American billionaire and was an alum of Tennessee State University it seemed fairly certain she was then the wealthiest HBCU graduate. You know A + B = C type stuff. Well, you know what happens when you assume. I stumbled across the profile of one Ann Walton Kroenke and saw the name Lincoln University, but the profile did not specify which Lincoln University. If it turned to be true, then Ann Walton Kroenke would actually be the wealthiest HBCU alum. Mrs. Kroenke’s $5.1 billion net worth according to Forbes makes her 76 percent wealthier than Oprah Winfrey.

Wait, what? Can that be right? Is there another Lincoln University other than the two HBCU Lincoln Universities? Turns out there is one in California so the investigation was on to verify exactly which Lincoln University she attended. After some digging and further research the answer would indeed be she attended and finished from the HBCU known as Lincoln University of Missouri. According to Lincoln University (MO) school records, “Ann Marie Walton received an Associate of Applied Science majoring in Nursing Science on May 14, 1972. She attended Lincoln University from August 1970 to May 1972.” Yes, the Walton name you see is actually her maiden name; and yes it is those Waltons to which she is related and derived most of her wealth from. She is the daughter of James “Bud” Walton who co-founded the Walmart empire with his brother and more well-known Sam Walton. James and Sam Walton spent their formative years being raised in Missouri by their parents. According to the Historical Society of Missouri, the majority of Walmart’s initial store openings would happen in Missouri and Arkansas. The pair originally got started owning Ben Franklin variety stores after Sam Walton obtained a $20 000 loan from his father-in-law in 1945. An amount that would be equivalent to $260 000 in today’s dollars. Walmart would come into being after the two brothers decided to expand into rural communities in the early 1960s. Although the company is well known as having its headquarters in Arkansas; the family’s roots have been firmly planted in Columbia, Missouri since the 1930s.

A fascinating prospect if ever there was one given Missouri’s own paradoxical racial history despite not being considered “south” geographically, but having much of the cultural nuances of it. Mrs. Kroenke, would have been a fresh 21 year old at the time of her arrival in the fall of 1970. The Nursing Science program itself would be just a year old at Lincoln having been launched in 1969. America’s backdrop in 1970 would be fresh off the heels of Malcolm X’s assassination in 1965, Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in 1968, the signing of the Civil Rights Act in 1968 by President Lyndon Johnson, and the Black Panther Party in 1970 would see the apex of its membership and power. Walmart as an incorporated company is not even a year old, when the then Ms. Walton would be entering Lincoln University’s (MO) program. America’s wealthiest family to be was by no means poor, but her father and uncle were also leveraging all of the family’s resources to strike out on their own and build their company. The possibility that Mrs. Kroenke at the time needed a fallback could have certainly been plausible, but why Lincoln University (MO)? Given the backdrop of race relationships, civil rights, and her family’s resources it is inherently fascinating how the family and/or she decided to send her 40 minutes down the road to Jefferson City, Missouri to attend an HBCU.

The discovery of Mrs. Kroenke as a Lincoln University (MO) alumni is no small happenstance. Not only is she worth $5.1 billion herself, but she is married to one Stanley Kroenke who is billionaire real estate developer himself worth $5.6 billion. The couple owns professional sports teams in every professional sport, except baseball. Their roster includes the NBA’s Denver Nuggets, NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, NFL’s St. Louis Rams, MLS’s Colorado Rapids, and English soccer club Arsenal. A $50 million donation from Mrs. Kroenke for the endowment would instantly catapult Lincoln University (MO) to the number six slot in terms of HBCU endowments. It would also become the largest gift ever to an HBCU and it would not even be 1 percent of her wealth and less than 0.5 percent of the couples combined wealth. Yes, you read that correctly.

It would be interesting to see how the HBCU community would receive the donation quite honestly. There would be more than a bit of mixed feelings certainly. Given the new push for cultural and ethnic “diversity” (despite European Americans always being welcomed at HBCUs since their inception while vice versa was not true) at HBCUs as presidents have seemingly given up on how to increase the HBCU share of African American high school graduates going to HBCUs which currently sits at 10-12 percent, and instead focused on recruiting all other groups as a way to deal with tuition revenue shortfalls from dropping student populations and to sell themselves as more “American”. This despite many older HBCU alumni believing that these students are even less likely to give back to an HBCU than the traditional core demographic. There is no data to say one way or the other. Unfortunately, this is not something HBCUs can afford to be wrong on given the amount of resources they seem to be throwing at recruiting other communities. If the payoff is only a short-term fix for a long-term problem, then we are simply continuing to put a band-aid on a bullet wound. There is also the psychological impact of the largest donation (albeit from an alumni) still coming from someone that is European American much in the way when the valedictorian of Morehouse some years ago was European American and the fallout it caused. A wound, that in talking to some Morehouse alums still runs deep. However, Lincoln University (MO) seems to lack any endowment of note or at least has refused to publish the number anywhere in my research for it.

The old adage that beggars can not be choosy may apply here as HBCUs have continued to lack in obtaining transformative donations, those that are of the eight and nine figure variety, and in general struggle with consistency in alumni giving rates as a whole. America’s wealthiest family at the writing of this article was worth north of $150 billion combined by the three surviving children of Sam Walton, the widow of Sam Walton’s fourth child, and the two daughters of James “Bud” Walton, one of which is Mrs. Ann Walton Kroenke. The family also has a bittersweet HBCU connection when in 2012 the Tennessee Supreme Court allowed Alice Walton, the only daughter of Sam Walton and founder of Crystal Bridges Museum in Arkansas, to purchase a 50 percent stake in Fisk University’s George O’Keeffe art collection for $30 million as Fisk dealt with financial issues. It goes without saying that the Walton family clearly knows about HBCUs, but whether or not HBCUs and more specifically Lincoln University (MO) can leverage that into something transformative is another story. I would go so far as to say I would set up an office in Columbia, Missouri if I was LUM’s administration and dedicate development staff solely to the purpose of achieving that donation.

Honestly, finding out Oprah Winfrey is not the wealthiest HBCU graduate almost feels like the moment as a child you figure out Santa is not really real. To find out there are two HBCU graduates who are billionaires is always good news. That one of those billionaires is a member of the Walton family is almost too hard to wrap my own mind around at the moment, but as my favorite HBCUstorian Dr. Crystal DeGregory famously says, “HISTORY is the story of great men; HERSTORY of great women. HBCUstory is the story of HBCU greatness. That’s our story!” And I have to say our story never ceases to amaze me.

Does Graduate School Matter? America’s 100 Wealthiest: 44 Percent Have Graduate Degrees

By William A. Foster, IV

Our most widely known scholars have been trained in universities outside of the South. – Dr. Carter G. Woodson

go-to-grad-school-early-300x300

Probability is defined as how likely something is to happen. Most events can not be predicted with absolute certainty. The best we can do is to say how likely something is to happen using the theory of probability. We all know that education is important, but how much education is needed has always been up for debate. Let us be clear, all education is not created equal. Howard University  and the University of Phoenix are in different pantheons of education despite both offering undergraduate and graduate degrees. A large portion of college, be it undergraduate or graduate is about the network you are plugging into and the proverbial “ownership” that institution serves. For instance, Notre Dame clearly is “owned” by the Catholic community. Its social, economic, and political DNA all flows through its Catholic roots and papal connection from its founding and is rooted in all that it does today. It goes without saying that a Catholic at Notre Dame will be afforded a higher probability of certain opportunities and access to its network’s power, something that non-Catholics attending Notre Dame would not be afforded. This institutional ownership can be based on religion, ancestry, gender, etc. All of these things must be factored in and complicit when analyzing, but that does not change the overarching reality that just an undergraduate degree is enough information intake anymore to break through into the pantheons of America’s wealthiest.

Out of the 100 wealthiest Americans 44 percent have graduate degrees. The normal assumption is of course they all have MBAs, which is well represented certainly, but by no means was the MBA the dominant degree that even I assumed it would be. Overall, 74 percent of the wealthiest 100 have at least a bachelor’s degree, 13 percent attended some college and dropped out, and the rest some mixture of high school or unknown education. You could argue that the country does not just say education matters, it practices it and rewards it. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that over a 35 year span those with master’s, doctoral, and professional degrees will earn $100 000, $215 000, and $240 000 more than those with just a bachelors, respectively. That is not even taking into account the potential of those additional earnings being transformed into investments, which is often the catalyst for becoming among America’s wealthiest. Unless you are coming into a family inheritance, then you will need all the extra capital you can get to increase your probability of economic success. Again, all education is not created equal and whom you are being educated by matters, but to see that education is prevalent among the country’s economic elite does speak volumes to community values. The breakdown of the graduate degrees was also surprising. Yes, MBAs led the way, but as aforementioned the gap was not as large as I assumed it would be. MBAs constituted 43 percent of graduate degrees, MA/MS were next with 32 percent, law degrees or JDs were third with almost 23 percent, and PhD/MDs comprised almost 16 percent. With this type of information it further reinforces HBCUs need to build their graduate school ecosystem and network from within.

HBCUs best and brightest undergraduates continue to be cherry picked by HWCU/PWIs in an institutional brain drain of the HBCU ecosystem. This impact allows for a justification of a disproportionate amount of research funding to be steered away from HBCUs. We also know that graduate schools are responsible for the likes of creating companies such as FedEx and Google. A report by the Kauffman Foundation on MIT’s alumni founded companies alone shows the school’s alumni have created economic impact equivalent to the eleventh largest country on Earth and employs almost 2 million people. If HBCUs were to even match half of that employment number it would drop African America’s unemployment rate to under 6 percent and create jobs for every HBCU graduate. At current, the gap between HWCU and HBCU research spending is startling to say the least with the top 20 HWCU research institutions spending $40 to every $1 in research that the top 20 HBCU research institutions spend. As noted in our article on public HBCU athletics, HBCUs are spending $0.80 on athletics for every $1.00 of research, while our counterparts are spending $0.14 on athletics for every $1.00 of research. If graduate schools matter and research matters in the climb up the economic ladder in America (and arguably around the world), then HBCUs and their alumni have to stop treating their graduate schools like places for their undergraduate alumni to holdover while they figure out life or wait to get a job offer after graduation.

There are 43 HBCU (including Chicago State University and Charles Drew University) with graduate programs, five HBCU law schools, and four HBCU medical schools. Currently, the only full service HBCU, those with graduate programs, law school, and medical school, is Howard University. No public HBCUs have a medical school which means HBCUs are missing out on public funds directed toward medical research. Again, research is typically the forerunner to products being developed and companies being founded. Having access to public funds is often vital to that development. Another way to look at it is that African Americans are paying into the tax base for medical research, but not able to extract any of it through our public institutions. It is not only STEM though that we must be concerned with. The social sciences and humanities are areas where there is a vital opportunity to present to the world an African Diaspora point of view through research. Yet, when it comes to something as simple as African Studies we are anorexic in our presence in the field. The Root a few  years ago pointed out, “only Howard and Clark Atlanta universities offer master’s programs. Howard is also the only HBCU to offer a doctoral program in African studies, which is offered by eight traditionally white institutions.” How will African American businesses be able to do business in Africa if we do not have a cultural understanding of the diversity within our own Diaspora? One would imagine that someone with graduate level studies could form a consulting company that sells services that help businesses transition products and services for optimal success on the continent. The continent by the way with the fastest growing economies in the world.

The MBA on the other hand is an animal upon itself. One in which of late a number of HBCUs have decided to offer. The MBA long served as a tool of training tomorrow’s CEO’s and upper level management. It usually required a minimum of five years working experience, the GMAT, and sacrificing your social life for two years due to the intensity and demand of the nation’s best programs. I once had a classmate try to work 15 hours per week as a waiter while we were in business school and it almost killed him. Truly great MBA programs will tell you that between good grades, social life, and sleep you are only going to achieve two during your two years. It is one of those degrees, as noted by the percentage aforementioned, that if you are going to offer you better offer it right. Unfortunately, most HBCUs are offering an MBA program that is barely a notch above the University of Phoenix’s MBA program. It is questionable whether it is worth the paper it is printed on and does little more than add tuition revenue to the school’s coffers and debt to the student’s bottom line. They are usually not unique in any kind of way other than accessibility which is really not the point of an MBA. I moved to Boston to do part of mine in a program that required a semester abroad at usually the visiting country’s top MBA program. A traditional MBA that is going to have brand recognition is not going to be part-time. To get the benefits there is sacrifice required not convenience. I say that to say HBCUs that are offering MBAs just to offer them will never be able to recruit the top talented HBCU undergraduates or professionals because they are just one in a pile. Instead, what many should have been doing is offering specialized MBAs in fields like agriculture, computer science, government, philanthropy, or even an MBA for education professionals like Rice University does. Even more like Brandeis University that offers an MBA in Jewish Studies. Why are there no HBCU MBAs that teach HBCU graduates how to run and manage African American owned organizations and businesses? We face unique challenges in starting and building organizations and businesses and yet, HBCUs largely ignore this as an opportunity.

It is clear that in this, the information age, that knowledge matters. Knowledge always has been to some degree, but even more so now – power. Quality knowledge across a great spectrum is vital to developing tomorrow for our communities, institutions, and families. We teach students in undergraduate the basics of that knowledge, but it is in graduate school where they learn the nuances, develop, and hone the skills of putting that knowledge to use. Is graduate a guarantee to riches? Certainly not. Nothing in life ever is. However, what we do see is that if we plan to close the wealth gap both individually and institutionally; it will be done through harnessing more knowledge not less. As the requirements for high skilled jobs and entrepreneurship skyrocket, then we are increasingly getting further and further behind the curve by not innovating within our own graduate schools and ecosystem. Often doing more reactive and symbolic gestures than substantive ones. Of the 1.8 million full-time students enrolled in graduate programs in the United States, 12.1 percent are African American according to the Council on Graduate Schools. Nationally, graduate students comprise 14.3 percent of the combined undergraduate and graduate school population. Conversely, African American graduate students comprise only 6.9 percent of the combined African American undergraduate and graduate school population. Most likely due to many African American undergraduates choosing to go straight to work immediately upon graduation, unable to forgo an additional number of years of earnings despite the aforementioned long-term economic benefits.

America’s wealthiest come from a myriad of different industries. They have all made their wealth in a vast spectrum of different ways. The constant to their stories is graduate level education tilts the odds in their favor to achieve economic independence and wealth for  almost 1 out of 2. In other words, like the motto of the HBCU Endowment Foundation, an organization with a strong emphasis on HBCU graduate school development, – “Sacrifice today, so tomorrow may prosper.”