MBA programs in China and Hong Kong are, on average, closest to gender parity in the world, according to the Association of MBAs Application and Enrollment Report published earlier this week. The report tracked data from more than 200 member schools around the world and found that overall, 38% of students enrolling in 2019 identified as women. But at schools in China and Hong Kong, the female-to-male ratio for students entering during 2019 was an even 50-50 split.
Following China with the highest percentage of women enrolling during 2019 are schools in Oceania with 45% of students identifying as female. North America and the Caribbean had 41% identify as female, as did Asia and the Middle East, excluding China, Hong Kong, and India.
Speaking of India, that country had the lowest rate of females enter MBA programs in 2019 at just 19%. Europe (excluding the UK) and Latin America had the next lowest rates, each at 33%.
2019 PERCENTAGE OF WOMEN IN MBA PROGRAMS HIGHEST EVER, BUT ALSO FLAT COMPARED TO 2018
Overall, the percentage of women in AMBA member programs is at its highest ever, but also flat compared to 2018 when 38% of enrolling MBAs identified as female. That 38% is six full percentage points reported in 2013, but only three full percentage points higher than the 35% reported in 2014.
After that year, the rate dipped back down to 34% in 2015 before slowly and steadily ticking back up to 38% in 2018 and 2019.
The percentage of women applying to MBA programs, however, did hit a record in 2019, when the participating AMBA programs reported an average of 40% of applications to their programs coming from applicants identifying as female. That is a seven percentage point increase from 2013 and a one percentage point uptick from 2018.
GLOBAL NUMBERS STILL MAINLY TRAILING TOP U.S.-BASED MBA PROGRAMS
The overall rates of women enrolling in MBA programs are similar or slightly lower than top U.S.-based MBA programs. Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, for example, enrolled classes with 47% women in 2019 and 2020, which have been its highest percentages ever and a big surge from 40% in 2017 and 41% in 2018.
Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business also set a record this fall, enrolling a class with 49% identifying as female, up from 42% in 2019. Some 11 of Poets&Quants’ top-15 ranked MBA programs enrolled at least 40% women in 2019. That rate dropped to 10 in 2020, however.
Between 2016 and 2020, many top-25 U.S.-based MBA programs have seen significant increases in women enrolling into their programs. Duke’s Fuqua School of Business had an 11 percentage point increase during that time, from 35% to 46%. Rice’s Jones School of Management also saw an 11 percentage point jump, from 24% to 35%. New York University’s Stern School of Business, the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business, and the University of California-Los Angeles Anderson School of Management all increased their percentage of women enrolled by eight percentage points.
APPLICATIONS UP, ENROLLMENT DOWN AT PARTICIPATING AMBA SCHOOLS
Overall, applications increased by an average of 5% among participating schools between 2018 and 2019, the report says. That didn’t translate to increased enrollment, however, as enrollment dropped by about a percentage point between 2018 and 2019.
While the trends are interesting, they might not mean much since they don’t include data after the Coronavirus pandemic began. If U.S.-based MBA programs serve as an indicator, these schools should see more major increases between 2019 and 2020. (See: Covid-19 Puts B-Schools’ MBA App Plunge Firmly In The Past.) After a few years of decreasing applications, MBA programs have seen a recent surge in applications. Rice’s Jones School, for example, saw a 63% increase in application volume during its last cycle. The University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business had a 25% application increase. And The Wharton School saw a 21% application surge.
The entire AMBA report can be found here.