Women Now Make Up 40% at Many Elite MBA Programs

New data released this week by the Forté Foundation shows that the number of women in top business schools is slowly inching upward. The organization, which is dedicated to launching women into successful careers through access to business education, noted an increase of nearly 4% since 2011.

Businesspeople in meeting

This momentum is further supported by the findings that females make up 40% or more of students at 12 Forté member business schools in the U.S. this year, compared to 2014, when just five schools were able to make that claim.

Also, 16 elite business schools reported having 35% female enrollment, a dramatic increase over a decade ago in 2005, when only three schools hit that target.

Top-ranked U.S. Forté Foundation member schools with 40% or more female enrollment include:

  • Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business
  • Harvard Business School
  • MIT Sloan School of Management
  • Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management
  • UC Berkeley Haas School of Business
  • Chicago Booth School of Business
  • The Wharton School
  • Yale School of Management

Notable Forté member schools with female enrollment at 35% or more:

  • Columbia Business School
  • Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business
  • Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business
  • University of Maryland’s Robert H Smith School of Business
  • London Business School

Forté Foundation has introduced many initiatives to help build the female MBA and business leadership pipelines since its creation in 2001. Its most recent pilot initiative called “Rising Star” launched in September 2015 on 10 U.S. campuses, and is geared toward helping undergraduate women become better informed about their career options in business, and to compete for top jobs.

“There is some evidence that earning an MBA is a ticket to the top as 41% of Fortune 100 CEOs have an MBA, according to our research. While we’re asking women to lean in, we need to also consider the education gap at business schools,” says Elissa Sangster, Executive Director of the Forté Foundation.

“In 2011, less than a third of MBA students were women. Today we’re inching closer to 40% in the U.S. and working to close the gap significantly in another five years. Every percentage point is not only hard earned, but something to celebrate, and should go a long way in building the senior leadership pipeline at companies and on boards,” Sangster says.

Image credit: Flickr user Penn State (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)


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