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Why Are Women Under Represented In MBA Programs?

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Why Are Women Under Represented In MBA Programs?

Postby Anula » Fri Mar 10, 2017 3:56 pm

This is discussion about News article "Why Are Women Under Represented In MBA Programs?"

All over the world, women have a greater share of the applicant pool than men in many of the business master’s programs, such as marketing, accounting and management. However, they are still under represented in MBA classrooms in the United States and around the world.

“What Women Want: A Blueprint for Change in Business Education” is a new white paper from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) that identifies drivers of this continued lack of gender parity in MBA programs.

The paper explores the biggest challenges women face in the business school application process and the differences between men and women in their motivations to pursue graduate business degrees. It was issued in recognition of International Women’s Day celebrated globally on March 8 and National Women’s History month in the United States.

Financial Concerns

“Women have made phenomenal progress in attaining business master’s degrees, yet they have not yet caught up with men in the share of MBAs earned,” said Sangeet Chowfla, president and CEO of GMAC.

“Our extensive global segmentation research and market intelligence looked at several important underlying factors that contribute to this growing participation of women in business master’s and lack of parity in MBAs, with financial concerns being the number one issue cited by female applicants.”

The paper’s key findings draw upon insights drawn from GMAC’s Global Graduate Management Education Candidate Segmentation Study conducted in 2016 in partnership with IPSOS, a global market research firm. The survey sample included a total of 5,900 female and male applicants representing 15 countries worldwide.

Motivations and Approaches Differ Across Regions

Women in Western countries differ in their motivations and approaches to the application journey from women in emerging economies like China and India. The motivational profiles of western women also differ noticeably from their male counterparts. Interestingly, in India and China, women’s motivations and application behaviours more closely resemble those of male applicants from these countries.

Early Planners and More Outcome-Focused

Women are more likely than men to begin considering graduate management education as undergraduates, the white paper says. Overall, women are more pragmatic and outcomes-focused in their approach to pursuing graduate business education. They are more likely than men to apply to a specific school because it offers flexible program formats and its graduates get better job opportunities.

Especially in Western countries, women are more likely than men to be motivated by the desire to advance more quickly and earn more money.

Funding, a Significant Barrier

Globally, 29% of female survey respondents cited financial issues as the key reason for not having yet accepted their admissions offer to graduate business school. Seeking scholarships and financial aid were on top of their mind. Men, on the other hand (33%), cited that they were waiting for an offer from additional schools as their reason for delaying acceptance.

The greatest gender difference on this issue was seen in the U.S. More than a third (38%) of female survey respondents cited financial reasons as their number one reason for not yet accepting their admissions offer compared with 20% of male respondents.

Yet, obtaining funds to pay for schools is a bigger challenge for men than for women in both India (8% Indian women vs. 14% Indian men) and China (9% Chinese women vs. 11% Chinese men).

MBA Still Relevant to Women

Women are already achieving parity (52%) in master’s programs such as Master of Marketing, Master of Accounting, and Master in Management, and the number of these programs has grown exponentially in recent years.

The share of women in MBA classrooms, however, has consistently remained well below parity with men at 37%. Despite greater share of women choosing non-MBA master’s programs over MBA programs, the data show that women hold the MBA degree in higher regard than men, and view the degree as a passport to wider career advancement.

“It’s easy to make the mistake of thinking of women as a monolithic block and to view their lack of parity in MBA classrooms as a failure on the part of business schools,” said Chowfla.

“The insights in this white paper clearly reveal that women are distinct from men in what they are seeking from their business education experience, and their behaviours differ between countries and behaviour types. In our opinion, business schools have made great strides in inclusivity and shaping their recruiting and admissions processes to ensure a diverse classroom,” he added.

“We hope that equipped with this paper’s data and insights, business schools can develop even bolder strategies for increasing the number of women in their classrooms and achieve the gender parity seen in other sectors of graduate education,” Chowfla said.

The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) is a non-profit organization of 220 leading graduate business schools from around the world actively committed to advancing the art and science of admissions. The Council provides the solutions necessary for business schools and candidates to discover and evaluate one another to ensure that talent never goes undiscovered. GMAC owns and administers the Graduate Management Admission Test® (GMAT®) exam, used by more than 6,500 graduate programs worldwide, as well as the NMAT by GMAC™ exam, used for entrance into graduate management programs in India.

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