FT Attempts To Rank Best MBAs For Women

The 2015 Johnson (JGSM) Women’s Welcome Reception.


“This new ranking gives tremendous affirmation to our efforts to expand women’s voices in Olin’s MBA program,” said Taylor in a statement. “It also challenges us to continue the momentum. It’s about fairness, but it’s also about diversity. Diversity drives innovation and appreciating diversity is a core value for Olin.”

While the ranking essentially celebrates the best MBA programs for women, it also more openly shows schools that are severely lagging their peers on key performance measures. Among the 50 ranked programs, the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business is dead last among U.S. schools for having the lowest percentage of female faculty: Just 16%.

That is half of Harvard Business School’s 28% level and well below the 32% at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business. Edhec Business School in France leads all the ranked schools on this metric, with 40% of the faculty female.


The ranked school with the lowest percentage of both female students and faculty? IMD in Switzerland. Though ranked 47th on the best list for women MBAs, the FT reports that only 13% of IMD’s faculty and 23% of the school’s students are women.

The FT data shows that women actually are making more money than their male counterparts at five schools: Jiao Tong University, where female alumni make 101% of what the men make; UC-Berkeley Haas, where women make 103% of the male alumni; the University of Rochester’s Simon School of Business (111%), and Copenhagen Business School (127%),

The biggest gender pay gaps among the schools ranked by the FT? Imperial College Business School in London, where female alums make only 63% of what the male alums make three years after graduation; Edhec (64%), Oxford Said (67%), Durham University Business School in the United Kingdom (69%), and Yale University’s School of Management (69%).


The Yale numbers are likely the result of a disproportionate share of women entering the non-profit and government sectors where pay is considerably lower than it would be at mainstream MBA employers in consulting, finance, tech and consumer marketing. SOM places more students in the social sector than peer schools.

Ultimately, it’s hard to boil down to numbers an MBA culture that is welcoming and supportive of women merely by piggybacking on data collected for something else entirely.

Determining the best MBA programs for women comes down to more fundamental questions: Has a school been successful in recruiting and enrolling a high percentage of female students that is close to gender parity? Has it succeeded in creating the conditions that allow all of its students to flourish, regardless of their gender or their ethnicity? Has it forged a culture that embraces and celebrates diversity?

Those questions aren’t answered by how much a alumna makes or how big her salary increase has been three years after graduation. They are answered by the unwavering commitment of an administration to inspire and lead others in creating a truly inclusive culture for all.

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