Women prefer business master to MBA

Globally business master’s programmes, such as marketing, accounting and management are dominated by women. Women, however, are still underrepresented in MBA classrooms in the United States and around the world according to a new white paper by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC).

The paper tried to identify drivers of this continued lack of gender parity in MBA programmes, analysed challenges women face in the business school application process and the differences between men and women in their motivations to pursue graduate business degrees. “Women have made phenomenal progress in attaining business masters degrees, yet they have not yet caught up with men in the share of MBAs earned,” said Sangeet Chowfla, president and CEO of GMAC.

The white paper found several important underlying factors:

  • Women are more worried by the high financial investment of an MBA.
  • They consider graduate management education as undergraduates already, so considerably earlier than most men.
  • Women are more pragmatic and outcome-focused in their approach, therefore often applying to a specific school because it offers flexible programme 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.

“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. 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.”

The paper’s key findings draw upon insights collected 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.

To download the GMAC white paper, What Women Want: A Blueprint for Change in Business Education, visit: http://www.gmac.com/womeninbusinessschool

Barbara Barkhausen
Picture: Lumina Images / fotolia

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