USC Marshall School of Business, an early member of the Consortium, this year celebrates 50 years of inclusion

When Bill West (USC Marshall MBA ’79) left Indiana University with his undergraduate degree in 1976, he had never even heard of The Consortium for Graduate Student Study in Management.

“Which is ironic,” the now retired president of Mays Chemical Company of Indianapolis said. “Because it was one of the first schools to join The Consortium. Imagine that opportunity, right under my nose.”

The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management was founded in 1966 by Sterling H. Schoen, a professor of management at Washington University in St Louis, as a way to enable African American men to attend business school and acquire the skills needed for success in American corporations. Indiana University -Bloomington and University of Wisconsin-Madison were among the first to join as Consortium member schools. That year, 21 African American men were named as “fellows” and were offered full-tuition scholarships to MBA programs at these institutions.

Soon after, USC’s newly created graduate school of business administration, then led by Robert R. Dockson, became the first West Coast university to join. The year was 1968.

“It was a time of great cultural and societal shifts, and the business school was far ahead of the curve when it came to issues of inclusivity and diversity,” says James G. Ellis, dean of USC Marshall. “Dean Dockson had true visionary foresight.”

That vision continues today as USC Marshall celebrates its 50th anniversary as a member of the Consortium. The School continues to recruit promising MBA students through its status as one of 18 member schools, and today boasts more than 700 MBA Consortium alumni. There are 18 Consortium members in the USC Marshall full-time MBA class of 2020

In 1977, when West got to USC, there were 13 other Consortium Fellows. Those classmates connected him to the larger Consortium network, as well as to the Trojan Family network. They also became lifelong colleagues and friends.

“The value has been in the relationships,” he said. “You just can’t put a price tag on that.”

It was a Consortium alumnus who lured him back to Indianapolis – Bill Mays, president and CEO of Mays Chemical Co. – to run the finances of his new company. West and Mays remained involved in Consortium for years, and have given back to the group in service and resources.



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