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Stanford B-School Dean Jonathan Levin on Diversity, Jobs, and Covid

The school’s case studies will have more Black protagonists, and a few pandemic-inspired innovations will stay.

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Illustration: Michael Deforge for Bloomberg Businessweek

Levin is an economist best known for his work on contracting relationships and the design of market rules. Education-finance reporter Janet Lorin caught up with him via Zoom to discuss the coronavirus, jobs, and the diversity initiative introduced last year by Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, where he’s been dean since 2016. Here’s an edited version of their conversation.

Has your diversity push involved changes to the case studies you use to illustrate the issues business leaders face?
We set a goal that we would try to have all of the cases feature protagonists who in some broadly defined way expand diversity. In particular, we wanted to increase the number of cases with 100% minority protagonists. We got a lot of help from alumni, particularly our Black alumni, who helped us find interesting protagonists. About 19 are completed or in progress. Two years ago, about 1% of our cases featured Black protagonists. Next year it will be 6%.