PepsiCo Supports Diversity Efforts Across Stanford GSB

PepsiCo established the PepsiCo Diversity Fellowship Fund, enabling five participants from a range of backgrounds to attend the Summer Institute for General Management.

July 15, 2007

What started with PepsiCo’s interest in recruiting MBA students has grown into a multi-faceted relationship that now spans across Stanford GSB including involvement in the school’s Center for Leadership Development, sponsorship of student events, and the creation of a new fellowship fund to support the school’s summer program in general management. True to their initial focus, the company recently hired four members of the MBA Class of 2007.

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(From left) Darcy Heppenstall, GSB; Julie Fuller, PepsiCo Inc., Joia Pardo, MBA ’07, PepsiCo recruit; and Celia Harms, GSB.

(From left) Darcy Heppenstall, Stanford GSB; Julie Fuller, PepsiCo Inc., Joia Pardo, MBA ’07, PepsiCo recruit; and Celia Harms, Stanford GSB.

By establishing the PepsiCo Diversity Fellowship Fund, PepsiCo enables the school to provide tuition for five participants who represent a wide range of backgrounds to attend the Summer Institute for General Management. This four-week residential Stanford GSB program offers college juniors, seniors, and recent graduates a unique opportunity to build critical business skills. The program also exposes them to the possibility of becoming MBA students—a plus for Stanford GSB, which is dedicated to cultivating a student body that is both excellent and diverse in terms of culture, socio-economic status, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, skills and interests, and work and life experiences.

“These fellowships provide the opportunity for students from a variety of backgrounds to enter a top business program and then to move on to be highly successful professionals in global businesses,” says Kathryn Shaw, the Ernest C. Arbuckle Professor of Economics and director of the summer program. “In a time of rapid globalization, it is more critical than ever that businesses strive to understand different cultures through diversity in the workplace.”

This is a concept that many companies, including PepsiCo, embrace as a cornerstone of their operations.

“PepsiCo is focused on generating healthy financial returns while giving back to the communities the company serves,” says Tom Vitro, vice president, executive development & talent management. “This includes supporting our employees through a diverse and inclusive environment that recruits and retains world-class talent. Our focus on people is a key to our success.”

Later this year, executives from PepsiCo will be filmed for video cases produced by the Center for Leadership Development and Research. By describing their leadership challenges, the issues they grappled with, and how they ultimately handled each situation, they will help bring leadership lessons to life. The videos are designed to challenge students to react quickly to a given situation as it unfolds, and they are encouraged to put themselves in the leader’s shoes, often through role-playing exercises.

PepsiCo is also a key supporter of the School’s diversity efforts with its sponsorship of events held by the Black Business Students Association, the Hispanic Business Students Association, and Women in Management. Thanks to PepsiCo’s commitment to Stanford GSB, the school is able to offer opportunities that prepare future business leaders to lead in an increasingly diverse world.

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