The number of women as a percentage of students enrolled in MBA programs around the country slowly reached record numbers this year. This record came despite a difficult year of uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The business school which ranked among the top 20 according to Bloomberg Businessweek’s ranking that came the closest to parity for women with men was the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. They announced that 49% of the entering class was female, while the Stanford Grad School of Business was not far behind with 47%.
Not all schools were able to achieve such good results. For instance, the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon has a student body of new MBA students made up of only 25% women. A bit better were Cornell’s SC Johnson and the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler, each made up of 31% women.
The measurements were done by taking Businessweek’s top 20 schools in 2019-2020 and looking at those same schools over the past five years.
The schools with the highest percentages of women were:
Until the election of Donald Trump to become the US president beginning in early 2017, US business schools were a desirable option for students from overseas looking to earn an MBA. Now some of these prospective students are reconsidering US business schools as an option.
“I want to be able to work in the country where I study after graduation,” one marketing executive from India said. “So it is important to be in a place that is immigrant-friendly.”
US business school deans are hopeful that this prospective student is not the sign of a trend.
Douglas Skinner, dean of the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business says he is “cautiously optimistic,” about the backlash from a Trump presidency. He pointed out that even if the economy was to stall, (something he does not think will happen,) domestic demand for MBA places would rise, since that is the trend when jobs are more scarce.
But Skinner is afraid that the threatened proposals to immigration will seriously effect enrollment in his school’s MBA program. More than one-third of the full-time students attending the Chicago Booth School of Business come from overseas.
“If there was a restriction on visas to students that would clearly be somewhat harmful to us,” Prof Skinner says. He adds that other schools are even more dependent on students from abroad than Booth is.
The Financial Times has released their assessment of the best MBA programs in the United States for 2016, the second time they have released such a survey.
Coming out on top for the second straight year is Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business for its MBA programs for entrepreneurship.
In second place is Babson College’s FW Olin Graduate School of Business. In the show position, the Darden School of Business of the University of Virginia.
In the fourth through seventh positions were:
Dartmouth’s Tuck school
Anderson of UCLA
UC Berkeley’s Haas
The Wharton School of Business
The schools’ rank was decided using several criteria, including the percentage of a school’s MBA’s went on to launch companies, and how many of those new businesses sere still around by the end of 2015.
It would be hard to argue that having and MBA from a well-respected graduate school is not helpful in a businessman’s climb up the corporate ladder, it seems such a degree is not always necessary.
One startling example is the head of Amazon, Jeff Bezos. He has consistently taken his company higher in the rankings of the famed Fortune 500, without hair nor hide of an MBA. With just a BA from Princeton Bezos founded and nurtured Amazon to the rank of 35 on the Forbes list, not to mention making Amazon a household name-brand.
Also lacking an MBA is the CEO of Plains GP Holdings, Greg L. Armstrong. The company owns and operates storage facilities for natural gas and manages other businesses. Armstrong has directed his company to the 70th position on the Forbes 500.
Amazingly it turns out that less than half of the CEOs at the top 100 companies on the Forbes list actually have MBAs.
“To actually get in the C-suite, it’s a little bit like winning the lottery. Especially for a Fortune 100 company,” says David G. Rohlander, author of The CEO Code: Create a Great Company and Inspire People to Greatness with Practical Advice from an Experienced Executive. “A pattern of successfully accomplishing your goals and an optimistic mindset are two of the most important traits for becoming a CEO,” he says.
Having an MBA might not guarantee a place at the head of a company, but it can certainly help an ambitious person to get ahead. Rohlander, who has an MBA in finance from California State University’s business school, says that earning an MBA is definitely “going to give you a better capability of thinking.”