Deans At The World’s Top Business Schools Are Overwhelmingly Male, White & Old — But That’s Changing

Deans At The World's Top Business Schools Are Overwhelmingly Male, White & Old

From year to year, business schools continue to make progress — gradual but measurable — in achieving gender parity in the enrollment of women in MBA and other master’s programs; in the hiring of women faculty and adjunct faculty; and in women’s advancement in leadership positions. So it is for B-school deans as well, according to a new report by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

AACSB’s report, Leading Today’s Business Schools: Insights From Deans, released February 26, finds that women continue to make gains in rising to the top of the leadership ladder at the world’s business schools. From 2020-2021 to 2023-2024, AACSB reports, the percentage of women deans globally increased from 26% to 30%; since 2008, women deanships have increased by 43%, from 17% a decade-and-a-half ago to nearly 1 in 3 today.

A separate analysis by Poets&Quants of leading B-schools — those ranked in P&Q’s top 50 in the United States and The Financial Times’s top 100 outside of it — reveals that women deans are a small but significant population at elite institutions, as well — and that there are more women leaders at the top 50 U.S. schools than there are at 56 leading schools in Europe, Asia, and elsewhere outside the U.S.


Deans At The World's Top Business Schools Are Overwhelmingly Male, White & Old

AACSB President and CEO Lily Bi: “I don’t think anyone is expecting 10% difference year over year, but the gradual change shows that society is giving more space and that women are probably being more assertive in their leadership”

AACSB is a business education network and global accreditor. Its 2023-2024 Insights From Deans report surveyed 434 deans and 36 interim deans across 64 countries; the report also includes responses from 143 senior business school administrators — vice deans, associate deans, department chairs, and others — spanning 23 countries.

In addition to finding that women have growing representation at the pinnacle of B-school leadership, the report describes an ongoing evolution in deanship diversity:

  • Among today’s women deans, 69% are in their first deanship, compared to 57% of their male counterparts;
  • 21% of female deans have ascended to their positions from interim dean roles, compared to only 12% of male deans; and
  • Just 13% of female deans have advanced from the department head/chair role, whereas 25% of first-time male deans came from this role.

“If you just talk about the dimension of female versus male, that’s encouraging,” Lily Bi, president and CEO of AACSB, tells Poets&Quants. “I don’t think anyone is expecting 10% difference year over year, but the gradual change shows that society is giving more space and that women are probably being more assertive in their leadership. You have to be assertive to be visible, right? So that’s very encouraging.” She adds that the 30% of women as deans among the 470 respondents includes 28% in non-accredited B-schools and 32% in accredited B-schools — “so accredited schools have more female leadership than non-accredited schools.”


Source: AACSB


Progress for women at the highest echelons of business school leadership may be measurable, but it is not yet equal, and AACSB’s new report is only the latest illustration of this fact. The accreditor’s 2022-23 Staff Compensation and Demographics Survey, released in September 2023, showed that women make up 40.3% of tenure-track faculty, “but that’s where their progression stalls”: In addition to only 30% of deans being women, only about a quarter (25.7%) of full professors are women, as well. “This underrepresentation at the highest levels affects all aspects of the business school milieu: the diversity of our students, the dynamics of our MBA classrooms, the quality of advice we offer to organizations, and the signals we send to donors and other stakeholders,” the report’s authors write.

However much women have advanced in B-school leadership in the last 15 years, deanships still plainly skew male — and the journey of male deans is a significantly different one than those of their female counterparts. In AACSB’s latest survey, half of male deans ascended from either associate dean or department head/chair positions, and about one in four served as interim deans or vice deans. In contrast, 21% of women used the interim dean position as a launchpad — significantly more than the 12% of their male counterparts — and only 13% rose from department head/chair roles, “underscoring a distinct divergence from the male trajectory (25% of first-time male deans).”

B-school deans aren’t just mostly male — they are overwhelmingly white and older, too. However, this is shifting as well, albeit slowly. AACSB’s latest report shows that in addition to 70% of current deans being male, 65% are non-Hispanic white, down from 79% in 2018; and the average age is 57, down from 58 in 2021-2022. 


Women deans are in bold.
P&Q 2024 MBA Rank School Dean
1 Stanford Jonathan Levin
2 Harvard Srikant Datar
3 Dartmouth Tuck Matthew Slaughter
4 Columbia Costis Maglaras
5 Yale SOM Kerwin Charles
6 Duke Fuqua Bill Boulding
7 Cornell Johnson Vishal Gaur
8 Virginia Darden Scott Beardsley
NR Virginia McIntire** Nicole Thorne Jenkins
9 Michigan Ross Sharon Matusik
10 NYU Stern Raghu Sundaram
11 Chicago Booth Madhav Rajan
12 Northwestern Kellogg Francesca Cornelli
13 UCLA Anderson Antonio Bernardo
14 MIT Sloan David Schmittlein
15 UC-Berkeley Haas Ann Harrison
16 Carnegie Mellon Tepper Isabelle Bajeux-Besnainou
17 Washington Foster Frank Hodge
18 Rice Jones Peter Rodriguez
19 Texas-Austin McCombs Lilian Mills
20 UNC Kenan-Flagler Mary Margaret Frank
21 Vanderbilt Owen Thomas Steenburgh
22 USC Marshall Geoffrey Garrett
23 Emory Goizueta Gareth James
24 Georgetown McDonough Paul Almeida
25 Florida Hough Saby Mitra
26 Rochester Simon Sevin Yeltekin
27 Georgia Tech Scheller Anuj Mehrotra
28 Washington Olin Mike Mazzeo
29 Georgia Terry Benjamin Ayers
30 Notre Dame Mendoza Martijn Cremers
31 Wharton Erika James
32 BYU Marriott Brigitte Madrian
33 Texas-Dallas Jindal Hasan Pirkul
34 William & Mary Mason Todd Mooradian
35 Arizona State Carey Ohad Kadan
36 Boston Carroll Andrew Boynton
37 Indiana Kelley Ash Soni
38 Michigan State Broad Judith Whipple*
39 Maryland Smith Prabhudev Konana
40 UC-Irvine Merage Ian Williamson
41 Boston Questrom Susan Fournier
42 George Washington Vanessa Perry*
43 Texas A&M Mays Nate Sharp
44 Minnesota Carlson Jamie Prenkert
45 UC-Davis H. Rao Unnava
46 SMU Cox Matthew Myers
47 Northeastern D’Amore-McKim Hugh Courtney
48 Babson Olin Ken Matsuno
49 Rutgers Lei Lei
50 Ohio State Fisher Anil Makhija

**NR for P&Q’s MBA ranking; ranked 4th in Poets&Quants For Undergrads’ 2024 ranking
Source: P&Q analysis


An analysis of the deanships at the top 50 U.S. B-schools as ranked by P&Q (see table above) finds that 28% (14 of 50) are held by women; however, two of those are currently interim deans: Judith Whipple at Michigan State Broad College of Business and Vanessa Perry at George Washington School of Business. Subtracting the interim deanships drops the percentage to 24%. The top-ranked B-school with a woman dean is Michigan Ross School of Business, ranked No. 9 this year, which is led by Sharon Matusik.

Looking at European, Asian, Canadian and Australian B-schools ranked in the top 100 of The Financial Times’s most recent global MBA ranking (see table below), 21% (12 of 56) are women; however, two are retiring and being replaced by men: Wendy Loretto at the University of Edinburgh Business School in the UK and Sharon Hodgson at Western University Ivey Business School in Canada. There are also two interim deans on the list, including Nanyang Business School in Singapore, the highest-ranked international B-school with a woman dean: Wai Fong Boh. Without the retirements and interims, only 14% of international schools can currently boast women deans.

Lily Bi, who became AACSB’s president and CEO in June 2023, says rankings aside, the overall picture of accredited B-schools shows Europe actually ahead of North America in gender diversity for deans. She says AACSB’s research shows that of 42 European B-schools, 16 currently have women deans, or 38%; compare that to 66 women deans at 210 B-schools in the U.S. and Canada: 31%.

Bi credits the growing number of women in MBA and other master’s programs, as well as Ph.D.s, over the course of the last few decades for the gradual growth in women faculty, senior leadership positions, and deanships at business schools.

“I think that overall, if we look at the number of female students in MBA programs, you don’t see a sudden change in one or two years, you see gradual change in the number of females in higher ed over decades,” she says. “The female deans obviously come from that pool — so when you have more female students going into higher education, then the pool is getting bigger to select female leadership for business school deans.”


Women deans are in bold.
Financial Times 2024 MBA Rank School Dean/Director/President
2 INSEAD Francisco Veloso
3 SDA Bocconi Francesco Billari
5 IESE Franz Heukamp
8 London Business School Sergei Guriev
12 HEC Paris Eloic Peyrache
17 Esade Joan Rodon
20 IE Business School Lee Newman
21 CEIBS Frank Bournois
24 Shanghai University of Finance & Economics Sun Zheng
25 ESCP Leon Laulusa
26 Oxford Said Soumitra Dutta
27 National University of Singapore Andrew Rose
27 Fudan Lu Xiongwen
29 Cambridge Judge Gishan Dissanaike
31 Indian School of Business Madan Pillutla
32 Nanyang Wai Fong Boh*
35 HKUST Kar Yan Tam
36 IMD Jean-François Manzoni
37 Peking Guanghua Qiao Liu
39 Imperial Peter Todd
41 IIM-Ahmedabad Bharat Bhasker
45 HKU Business School Hongbin Cai
46 Alliance Manchester Ken McPhail
47 IIM-Bangalore Rahul Dé
54 Essec Vincenzo Vinzi
57 Edhec Emmanuel Metais
57 EmLyon Isabelle Huault
60 Warwick Andy Lockett
61 Rotterdam Werner Brouwer
62 Queen’s Smith Wanda Costen
63 WHU-Beisheim Christian Andres
63 Sydney Leisa Sargent
65 St Gallen Reinhard Jung
66 Trinity Laurent Muzellec
67 IIM-Calcutta Manish Thakur
68 Bayes Andre Spicer
70 Toronto Rotman Susan Christoffersen
72 Singapore Lee Kong Chian Bert de Reyck
73 Mannheim Joachim Lutz
74 Lisbon Catolica Filipe Santos
75 CUHK Business School Lin Zhou
77 Audencia Christophe Germain
78 Durham Cathy Cassell
79 AGSM at UNSW Nick Wailes
80 Cranfield David Oglethorpe
83 McGill Desautels Yolande Chan
85 IIM-Lucknow Neerja Pande
89 Sunkyunkwan Eric Shih
90 Western Ivey Sharon Hodgson**
91 Dublin Smurfit Anthony Brabazon
92 Edinburgh Wendy Loretto**
94 Eada Jordi Diaz
95 Copenhagen Inger Askehave*
NR ESMT Berlin Jorg Rocholl
NR Frankfurt Stefan Kadelbach
NR Vlerick Marian Debruyne



Source: Financial Times 2024 Global MBA Ranking/P&Q analysis


Other findings in AACSB’s new report:

  • “Deans prioritize a mix of interpersonal skills and tangible, market-relevant expertise in their roles. They express a desire to enhance their abilities in fundraising, communication, and strategic planning, with fundraising particularly emphasized by deans from Northern America. Respondents chose student recruitment and retention as a critical priority, whereas they ranked government and political engagement lower on their priority lists and areas for skill development, despite acknowledging it as an increasingly significant challenge.”
  • “Deans struggle with work-life balance and finding time for professional development. While only 8% of deans report having enough time to pursue professional development and juggle the diverse demands of their role, an impressive 83% still find their work rewarding and feel optimistic about their career progression. Despite public perception of educational leadership as a brutal job, the average tenure of business school deans has slightly decreased over the past three years.”
  • “Central to the experience of new deans is receiving mentorship and exchanging best practices with colleagues. Resources related to staff/faculty management and fundraising expertise are particularly sought after by first-time deans at the beginning of their tenure. In Latin America and the Caribbean, over half of dean respondents indicated a need to better understand what their role would entail, significantly higher than deans in other regions. For deans in Asia, meeting accreditation standards is highlighted as a critical area where additional support and preparation could greatly assist those new to the position.”
  • “Notably, a higher percentage of female deans (54%) emphasized strategic planning/thinking compared to male deans (48%). Also, fewer female deans than male deans highlighted faculty/people management as a top competency.”

Source: AACSB

Read AACSB’s report, Leading Today’s Business Schools: Insights From Deans, here.


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