The Mouse and the Elephant is excited to announce a new partnership with Washington University in St. Louis’ Olin Business School.
Starting in August, the company will deliver a customized version of its “Designing an Inclusive Culture” program for all incoming students in Olin Business School’s full-time MBA Class of 2017.
“Our new MBA students are embarking upon a tremendous period of professional and personal development,” says Sarah Miller, Assistant Dean and Director of Graduate Student Affairs for the Olin School. “We believe that a crucial part of developing into an outstanding leader is learning to recognize, appreciate, and empower the wide-ranging perspectives and life experiences of the people around you.”
The partnership will mark the first time The Mouse and the Elephant has trained university students.
“Up to now, we’ve worked with senior leaders and established managers,” says Eric Ratinoff, principal and co-founder of the training company. “Most of them had limited exposure to diversity and inclusion principles before we worked with them, and for many it was a challenge to put these new ideas into practice. For these students to get a grounding in this work at this stage in their careers, before they reach the leadership ranks, is going to be a real advantage for them—and also for the companies that hire them.”
The program will feature three modules spread over the course of the fall semester. Topics will include social identity, power and privilege, unconscious bias, stereotype threat, the myth of colorblindness, microaggressions, dynamics of diverse teams, and inclusive communication.
“There are no right answers in diversity and inclusion work,” says Dr. Kira Hudson Banks, principal and co-founder of The Mouse and the Elephant. “There’s no formula that says, ‘Whenever this happens, do this.’ Instead, we focus on developing awareness and understanding, so they can see what’s happening in their work environments more objectively, and can ask better questions about team dynamics and organizational culture. We then layer that awareness and understanding with specific skill development, so that wherever they go, they’ll be prepared to lead more inclusive teams—teams that innovate, communicate, and perform better.”
“Companies are increasingly recognizing that there is a solid business case for valuing diversity and inclusion,” Miller says. “Students must be in this mindset right from the beginning of the program so that they view their Olin experience through this lens.”
Kurt Dirks, Senior Associate Dean of Programs and Bank of America Professor of Managerial Leadership, says part of what motivated the Olin School to partner with The Mouse and the Elephant was that, “They address both the human side and the business case. Dr. Banks brings a practical approach with a research background. As a university, both were important to us to ensure that our students could use the material, but also that it had a strong foundation.”
Miller looks forward to the impact the program can have. “We hope that students will be armed with a foundational framework to apply to their Olin MBA experience and one that they will continue to develop during their subsequent career path,” she says. “We also hope that any students who come into the program feeling that diversity and inclusion training is simply cultural awareness or sensitivity training will be convinced of its importance to the operation of businesses.”
While diversity and inclusion training is gaining momentum in the corporate world, similar initiatives are much less common among MBA programs. “The Olin School is demonstrating leadership and forward thinking by making this kind of commitment to diversity and inclusion,” says Banks. “We’re excited to have them as our partner.”
Dirks agrees. “This is a very unique package that has potential for delivering maximum impact on this important topic.”
About The Mouse and the Elephant
Going beyond typical “lunch and learn” or even half- or full-day diversity workshops, the Mouse and the Elephant delivers a modular diversity and inclusion training program that integrates experiential activities, small-group discussion, applied theater, interactive games, journal reflection, films and online videos, and assigned readings, with a focus on real-world application. Designed for leaders who appreciate the business case for diversity and inclusion, the Mouse and the Elephant’s program trains participants to thrive in the workforce of the future. Learn more at mouseandelephant.com/.
About Olin Business School
Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis, established in 1917, is one of the country’s leading business schools. From a four-year undergraduate program to multiple MBA programs, specialized masters and doctoral level degrees, Olin’s community is collegial and collaborative. Small class size allows for interactive learning and team-focused work. The flexible curriculum allows for career-oriented experiences every semester like consulting projects in the U.S. or abroad, internships and board fellowships, plus study options on six continents. Entrepreneurship courses and competitions foster a thriving startup environment. Olin alumni lead with purpose, integrity and critical thinking skills required to succeed in the global economy. Learn more at http://www.olin.wustl.edu/.