The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School has made remarkable strides in boosting the number of women admits. Now, for the first time in its 140-year history, women will comprise more than 50% of the incoming first-year class of MBA students.
At nearly 52%, the percentage of women in the MBA Class of 2023 represents a 10% increase over last year. These achievements came because of a years-long effort to promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) throughout Wharton. Today, the school is led by Dean Erika James and Deputy Dean Nancy Rothbard, both of whom are the first women ever appointed to their respective roles.
MBA Class of 2023 Snapshot
“This landmark achievement demonstrates Wharton’s commitment to providing a diverse and representative community for our students,” said Dean James. “As a female leader, I understand firsthand the significant impact that experiencing meaningful gender representation can have on women as they chart their careers.”
Even in 2021, women still command a small percentage of leadership positions in the corporate arena. If industry truly desires its organizations—and the leadership within them—to reflect the world around us, we must improve the diversity of the pipeline of future business leaders.—Dean Erika James.
Wharton builds and promotes gender representation in its MBA program through numerous initiatives. These include a partnership with the Forté Foundation, fellowships for outstanding women students, on-campus visit days for women, and conferences and networking opportunities via student clubs such as Wharton Women in Business. Students of any gender can also take courses like “Leading Diversity in Organizations” and engage with faculty researching DEI topics.
A Welcoming Environment for All
“As we do every year, we made a conscious effort to ensure female applicants felt wanted and welcomed at Wharton, and showed them the many resources and communities in our program where they can connect, collaborate and feel supported,” said Maryellen Reilly, Deputy Vice Dean of the Wharton MBA Program.
“Diversity, equity and inclusion are central to our efforts, and while we are extremely proud to welcome this record number of women to our MBA community this year, we do hope that equitable gender representation soon becomes the norm among business schools, rather than the exception.”
In addition to attaining more than 50% women admits, two other Wharton MBA records were broken: the Class of 2023’s 733 average GMAT is the highest ever for an incoming class and LGBTQ+ representation reached 7%, also an all-time high.
The class totals 897 students, including 36% international students and 35% Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). You can view the complete Wharton MBA Class of 2023 profile here.