One-year specialized MBAs driving surge in women applying to business school

March 8, 2012

Fuelled by interest among young females in one-year specialized master's degrees, graduate business schools that have struggled for years to attract women are observing a slow but steady increase in their numbers, reports the Graduate Management Admission Council. After 6 years of modest increases, women last year accounted for 41% of those taking the GMAT, up from 34% in 1983. Women represented nearly two-thirds of test takers in China, and 39% of the total in the US. Many female applicants are in their early 20s and drawn to one-year MBAs in areas such as accounting, finance, and management, whose attractions include a faster start on a professional education and the allowance for an easier work-life balance for women who are planning families. The fact that women in China far outnumber men in seeking graduate business degrees could be partly "a legacy of communism," says the council's director of research communications. "There isn't as much a perception of a glass ceiling that women in other countries may grapple with." The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) | Women and Graduate Management Education (slides) | Women and Graduate Management Education (data sheet)