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Statistics Should Not Deter Women From Applying to Business School



By Chris Hassan
Posted March 17, 2013 01:00 PM

Women should not be deterred from attending business school.
Women should not be deterred from attending business school.

It is no secret that in many business school lecture halls, men outnumber women. Still, this should not discourage female students with business aspirations from pursuing a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or similar graduate degree.

Based on various business school statistics, women may assume there is no place for them in MBA degree programs, but that is simply not the case. There is plenty of evidence that suggests many women are very interested in advancing their business knowledge and skills. At the same time, business schools are ready to accept degree seekers, no matter what their gender happens to be.

Female Deans Provide a Welcome Environment

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, several women have assumed the role of dean at various institutions in recent years. For example, Amy Hillman is the first woman to oversee Arizona State University's Carey School of Business, while Alison Davis-Blake serves as the dean for the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business. These women, and other female deans nationwide, show female students that they are not alone in having an interest in advanced business education.

"When you're dealing with any underrepresented group, they want to see role models for themselves in the organizations they walk into," Sarah Gardial, dean of the University of Iowa's Tippie College of Business, told Businessweek. "The more we can make that happen, the more we'll be able to attract diversity. All other things being equal, who's at the helm is important."

Sri Zaheer is the current dean at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management. She told Businessweek that when a male dean was overseeing the school from 2003 to 2005, between 23 and 26% of applicants were female. Since 2006, however, Carlson has had two female deans, which has raised the number of female applicants to about 33%.

Women's Interest in the GMAT on the Rise

Recent research from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) reveals that an interest in pursuing an MBA degree is not limited to American women. According to a press release, of the 286,529 Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) exams taken around the world in 2012, women completed 43%, which is a record for the third consecutive year.

Based on GMAC research, the number of female test takers was especially high in countries such as China, Russia and Vietnam.

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