A recent Financial Times article, published Jan. 17, suggests that the traditional gender gap in MBA programs might be shrinking. Citing the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the article claims that women now account for 37 percent of the student body at traditional MBA programs in the U.S. This is up from just 30 percent a decade ago. Proudly, The MBA Exchange has helped hundreds of women applicants from various backgrounds to gain admission over the past 13 years. In fact, our admissions consulting team of top MBA grads and former admissions officers is 60% female.
Highlights from the Financial Times Article:
Historically, business schools have been thought to have ultra-competitive, male-dominated environments, and be applicable only for Wall Street or consulting careers. Additionally, traditional four-to-five year work experience requirements have acted as an obstacle to women trying to balance career and family goals. Because of this, more women have historically applied to other post-graduate courses: law and medicine, for example, that don’t have a strong focus on work experience.
But as the tide shifts, many MBA programs have shifted focus in an effort to attract more female applicants. The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania has begun recruiting MBA candidates at the undergraduate level, and providing promising recruits with student mentors to answer basic questions about the application process. Some top b-schools even have designated members of the admissions staff standing by to help female applicants decide if an MBA education is right for them.
The Tuck Business School at Dartmouth sponsors its annual Women in Business conference where future applicants can engage directly with current students, faculty, administrators and alumni on topics of mutual interest.
In 2007, Harvard instituted a deferred acceptance program called “2 + 2,” in which students from non-business backgrounds can apply before graduation from their undergraduate courses and be guaranteed placement contingent on successful graduation and completion of two years of approved work experience. The “2 + 2” program has, in fact, helped increase the number of female applicants to the Harvard MBA program.
From Harvard and Wharton programs pushing for earlier applications, to NYU Stern’s networking nights and “supportive community,” these measures seem to be working. Applications from women are on the rise. France’s INSEAD has seen the number of female applicants double in recent years, leading to a corresponding increase in female students since 2000.
Other Resources for Applicants:
And for female professionals curious about what it takes to apply for and be accepted into a top MBA program, there are numerous resources. Female-centric groups like The Forté Foundation work to educate and direct women toward leadership roles in business. Similarly, The MBA Exchange provides one-to-one services to help prospective MBA students navigate the application process. We offer support in the early assessment and planning phases, as well as providing coaching and guidance for applicants throughout the admissions campaign.
Earning an MBA degree is a challenge, but navigating a course to an MBA program doesn’t have to be as difficult. The rewards are undeniable. Start by getting a free evaluation of your MBA candidacy.