FT Creates New Ranking of Top MBA Programs for Women

best bschools for women

The Financial Times, whose MBA ranking focuses on return on investment for alumni three years after graduation, has released a brand-new ranking based exclusively on the outcomes for women—and the results differ significantly from the Global MBA ranking released earlier this year.

Top Ten MBA Programs Where Women Perform Best

  1. Shanghai Jiao Tong University: Antai, China (34 in Global MBA ranking)
  2. Stanford Graduate School of Business (1 in Global MBA ranking)
  3. UC Berkeley Haas School of Business (10 in Global MBA ranking)
  4. Washington University’s Olin Business School (50 in Global MBA ranking)
  5. Harvard Business School (5 in Global MBA ranking)
  6. University of Hong Kong (33 in Global MBA ranking)
  7. Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business (16 in Global MBA ranking)
  8. Renmin University of China School of Business (39 in Global MBA ranking)
  9. University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School (3 in Global MBA ranking)
  10. Nanyang Business School-Singapore (22 in Global MBA ranking)

After analyzing the data, Financial Times has ranked three Chinese business schools in the top 10. This may come as some surprise to Western readers, but Mantian Wang, director of top-ranked Antai’s International MBA program, tells the FT that, “Although Chinese society encourages women to start a family at an early age, women are also offered equal opportunities at work — and they grab them.”

As a female MBA and entrepreneur and businessperson, I know that women can more than handle business school just as well or better than anyone. Women considering business school should know the MBA degree truly is the one of the best ways to transform their career by giving them the skills and knowledge necessary to be successful.

Professor Laura Tyson, who served as the first female dean of the UC Berkeley Haas School from 1998-2001, said the school has worked hard to enroll more women in its MBA program, and to support women in and out of the classroom.

“Our talented alumnae now earn the second-highest average salaries for women MBAs in the US; our gender pay gap has finally closed as female salaries have grown,” Tyson said. “This is exciting news and we look forward to increasing our support of our female MBA students, alumnae, our women on the faculty.”

The Methodology Behind the Ranking

Per Financial Times: In the methodology, alumna salaries three years after graduation — both the absolute figure and increase — were given a weight of 15 percent each.  FT considered other criteria, such as gender balance among students and faculty, and the extent to which female graduates say they achieved their goals.

But success for women is also about the difference in pay after graduation. FT also measured the average female graduate salary as a proportion of the average male salary after three years in the workplace, and gave that criteria equal weight.

New Ranking May Spark Debate Over Accuracy

“None of those measures tell you anything about how female friendly or welcoming a business school culture might be to women,” writes John A Byrne of Poets & Quants in his assessment of the ranking. “Much of the variation in these numbers is more likely the result of a confluence of factors, including school brand, industry choice, job location, or the purchasing power adjustment to the numbers which tend to inflate salaries in Asia.”

Nevertheless, notes Byrne, “The ranking itself may very well cause business school deans to more consciously advocate changes that would make their school cultures, long dominated by men, more receptive to women and more welcoming to them.”

MBA Scholarships for Women

Women are still in the minority at top business schools, but MBA programs seek to attract female applicants with targeted financial assistance. Here’s a list of full-time MBA scholarships for women only, offered by some top-ranked business schools for the 2018 intake.

Image credit: Flickr user IamNotUnique (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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