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A team of Kellogg students won $2,500 at the Ernst & Young Diversity Case Competition hosted by Notre Dame.

Diversity case competition

Deeper-level diversity

Kellogg students place with case that builds on organizational diversity

By Paul Dailing

3/4/2014 - Too often, diversity initiatives stop at getting people in the door, said Juliana Merola ’14.

“I just found that a lot of the initiatives that brought people on board weren’t the same ones that would keep you there,” Merola said.

She later found that classmates Zoila Jennings and Samara Mejia, both ’14, had similar experiences from their time in the banking world.

“Banking is really known as an old boys club and we’re all women – and women of color,” Jennings said.

The three, along with Daniel Davidson ’14, teamed up to represent Kellogg on Feb. 1 at the Ernst & Young Diversity Case Competition hosted by Notre Dame.

The team, the first from Kellogg to enter the yearly competition, took second place from the judging panel of Ernst & Young executives. The students won $2,500 for their plan to increase diversity not only of race and gender, but of skill and performance potential.

“What we also wanted to do in that same vein of adding surface-level diversity is adding deeper-level diversity as well,” Jennings said.

Deeper diversity

The team outlined not only plans for diversity recruitment, but for retention and promotion as well.

“We address diversity as a lot of different levels,” Merola said.

They also looked at diversity of work style as well.

“What we suggested was go for people who had high performance but maybe not so much potential, so they can drive the business, and people who had high potential and mediocre performance, so they can really grow into the role,” Jennings said.

Although the rules of the competition prohibit judges knowing which students are from which school, Jennings said people started guessing which school the team represented from the lateral thinking their presentation exhibited.

“That creativity piece, they said ‘Oh, they had to be Kellogg,’” Jennings said.