Women and the Executive MBA

Posted By SWatts on Mar 29, 2014 | 0 comments

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Women and the Executive MBA

Women are still the minority in nearly all MBA programs, and the gender stratification is accentuated even more so in executive MBA programs. Despite several years of campaigning pushes to recruit more women to EMBA programs, the average enrollment of women continues to hover around 23%. Out of the top 10 EMBA programs, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania reports the highest number of enrolled women, with a ratio of 30% female/70% male enrollees, while the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago reports the lowest ratio at 12% female/88% male.

This could be good news for you if you are a female applicant looking to apply to a top EMBA program. Top schools want to diversify their student population, and diversification most definitely includes gender diversity. However, this does not mean that schools will be more lenient in admissions requirements for women than they are for men. Women are still required to obtain excellent recommendations and have an impressive track record of academic and professional performance. What it does mean is that, placed side by side with another candidate of similar credentials, the female may appear to be more competitive.

So why are there so fewer women than there are men in EMBA programs? For starters, EMBA programs target higher-level executives and managers, generally ages 30 or above. This tends to coincide with the time that many women choose to start a family, putting a gap in her professional career.

But, regardless of the woman’s family or personal life, the incentives to pursue an EMBA are plentiful. First, EMBA schedules have been tailored to accommodate a work-life balance, most often offering classes on weekends or evenings. This allows women to spend time with family while also balancing work and school. Second, many women report having difficult access to executive female role models. With an EMBA program, what better way to access a networking association of high-power women than with a large alumni network? In addition to this, EMBA programs allow women to practice their leadership skills, build confidence, expand their network globally, and break through the glass ceiling. Women who have pursued EMBAs report that the experience was not only worth it, but that it put them on an equal playing field with their male counterparts and allowed them to build the confidence needed to move upward in their careers.

See the table below to compare how the top 10 EMBA programs measure up in the reported percentage of women enrolled.

Executive MBA Ranking (U.S. News & World Report)


Reported % Enrolled Women

1 WhartonSan Francisco campus

Philadelphia campus



2 Booth 12%
3 Kellogg 23%
4 FuquaGlobal EMBA 20%
5 ColumbiaFriday/Saturday class 25%
6 Stern 30% average
7 Ross 21%
8 Anderson 28%
9 Haas 27%
10 Kenan-FlaglerEvening EMBA

Weekend EMBA

Global OneMBA




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