The Rising Number of Women in Business School Explained

A harsh reality concerning the business world is that women face many disadvantages in their effort to bridge the gender gap.

Despite making up slightly more than half the population, women rarely appear on the list of top business leaders. This disparity likely traces its roots to the smaller proportion of women in business schools compared to men.

Does this mean the business world is really a man’s world?

Certainly not.

That’s why the tide is gradually turning, particularly in business schools.

For instance, the Wharton Executive MBA acceptance rate for women surpassed the historical 50% admission milestone for the first time in the school’s 140-year history.

Moreover, business schools such as Quantic School of Business & Technology employ several strategies to equalize their MBA gender ratio.

Quantic has established a niche as an exceptional business school that links MBA education to positive career outcomes.

Here’s what a former student had to say about the opportunities and education she received at Quantic:

A review by a satisfied alumni of Quantic School of Business & Technology

The increasing female acceptance rates in MBA programs can be attributed to numerous factors, as we shall explore shortly.

Women’s Leadership in Business

Increasing the ratio of women in leadership can help an organization thrive in unprecedented ways.

Compared to organizations with fewer women leaders, those with more women in leadership have seen significant improvement in terms of:

  • Openness
  • Inclusivity
  • Creativity
  • Enhanced company reputation

Throughout a week-long Quantic conference, we also asked some of the leaders in our Quantic community to share their inspirational thoughts on female leadership.

Here are some of those highlights:

These benefits can help an organization boost its revenue, profits, and market share.

Despite the many benefits, women remain primarily excluded in many of the best companies in the US. For instance, women hold only 53 out of the 500 CEO positions in Fortune 500 companies in 2023. It broke 10% for the first time in 2023, which is still paltry in comparison to the number of men in those roles.

The number of women in influential business positions is still low, but it’s a significant improvement from a few decades ago.

The first woman to assume a CEO position in a Fortune 500 company was Katherine Graham, who headed the Washington Post in 1972. Since then, the number has been rising slowly to reach 37 in 2020 and an all-time high of 53 in 2023.

The same trend can be observed in:

So, what’s the connection between MBA degrees and good leadership—or at least the perception of a good leader?

Having an MBA degree will go a long way in nurturing your overall personality. This qualification can also make you a better leader by:

  • Improving your knowledge about business and leadership so you can advance your career
  •  Instilling you with confidence
  • Teaching you entrepreneurial skills
  • Boosting your social skills
  • Helping you think strategically
  • Enhancing your risk management skills

As more women attain MBA degrees, they acquire knowledge, skills, and the confidence to apply for and take up leadership skills.

Therefore, we’re likely to see the tide against women in leadership turn soon and perhaps even favor women leaders in the future.

An excellent way to determine the role that women will play in business in the future is to examine their enrollment numbers in the most influential business schools.

M7 Business Schools (Enrolment Figures)

The phrase “M7 Business Schools” refers to the world’s top seven business schools. Depending on who you ask, the ‘M’ in M7 may refer to ‘magnificent’ or ‘magic.’

Some time ago, the deans of renowned and prestigious private business schools banded together to form the M7 network.

Why is there so much clout around these schools?

With hundreds of applications each year, the M7 MBA programs are among the most elite and challenging business schools to get into.

M7 MBA programs have strong ties with recruiters in high-paying industries, including consulting, finance, and technology—which are preferred among business school graduates.

M7 MBA programs have produced some of the world’s most illustrious MBA graduates, including presidents and CEOs.

Also, M7 MBA graduates receive some of the highest MBA earnings, with salaries easily reaching six figures within three years after graduation, depending on one’s business school.

Thus, if more women enrolled in M7 MBA programs, more women would be better positioned to take up leadership positions in top organizations.

Let’s now examine the number of women enrolled in these prestigious business schools over the years.

School% of Women Enrolled in 2000% of Women Enrolled in 2010% of Women Enrolled in 2020
Harvard Business School263844
Stanford Graduate School of Business30.34447
Wharton Graduate School of Business304547
MIT Sloan School of Management303847
Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management284246
Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago353842
Columbia Business School303541

A noticeable trend in all the M7 Business Schools is that the number of women joining MBA programs has been rising gradually.

From the table above, the percentage of women enrolled in M7 schools in 2000 was about 30%, but this percentage approached the 50% mark in most M7 schools by 2020.

Going by the milestone established by Wharton in 2021, it’s only a matter of time before women dominate MBA classes in M7 Business Schools.

This trend, as we shall see shortly, continues outside the M7 Business Schools.

MBA Gender Ratio

Several business schools across the world have been increasing the female acceptance rate for their MBA programs.

However, just a few of them admit close to an equal number of male and female MBA students. Others have crossed the 50% mark and now admit more women than men into their MBA programs. 

The Stanford, Wharton, and MIT gender ratios are among the most balanced among M7 Business Schools.

Although the Wharton EMBA acceptance rate rarely goes beyond 10%, it’s one of the few business schools where admissions of women exceed those of men.

Reasons More Women Are Enrolling in Business School 

Several factors are responsible for this trend that has seen an increasing number of women show interest and even secure admission in business schools. They include:

The Coronavirus Pandemic

Being a female company employee or business owner in a society largely dominated by males is difficult enough.

The coronavirus pandemic has made things much more difficult.

Many women experienced layoffs, furloughs, and decreased work hours due to the pandemic’s disruption of workplaces, education, and childcare facilities. 

To overcome these hurdles, it seems that more women are turning to business education as a means of re-entering the workforce.

The Coronavirus pandemic necessitated online learning, which saw many business schools launch online MBA programs.

The convenience of attending online classes encouraged more women to enroll in MBA classes.

Online MBAs Offer Flexibility

Some time ago, you had to take unpaid leave from work to commute to a business school for your MBA. The launch of online and mobile MBA programs has changed this, and now you can attend classes and sit for your examinations from anywhere.

Quantic offers you some of the most flexible programs that you can come across from top accredited institutions. Not only does the program take a relatively shorter time to complete, but you can even take the first course via your mobile phone.

Have a look at how Quantic’s program compares to that offered by top business schools.

A table comparing MBA degree programs from various institutions

The Increasing Number of MBA Scholarships for Women

Scholarship programs that target women have contributed to the rise of women in MBA programs.

Many business schools and not-for-profit organizations offer scholarships to help women overcome financial barriers to their business ambitions.   

Some of these scholarship programs target specific female groups such as:

  • Women from minority communities
  • Women who own companies
  • Women who work in specific job fields

Others are conventional scholarships with a fresh emphasis on admitting more female candidates.

MBA Programs Offer an Expanded Program Portfolio

More than before, business schools today provide a broad range of master’s degree programs. 

The wide variety of programs allows you to discover and select one that best suits your needs. For instance, most business schools have added master’s programs such as Master of Accounting, Master of Finance, and Master of Management.

These additional programs provide you with new paths to full-time MBA programs, including  delayed admissions programs.

Moreover, they encourage candidates to apply while still enrolled as undergraduates.

Best MBA Programs in the USA

You can get your MBA degree from various business schools across the US.

However, if you want to stand out, you must go for the best programs that will equip you with real-world skills to excel in business.

Here are the top five business schools in the US.

1. Stanford University 

The MBA degree from Stanford ranks at the top because it’s one of the most recognized school names in the world. Thus, having a Stanford MBA makes it easy to penetrate any job market across the world.

2. University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)

An MBA from Wharton will help you secure employment quickly, given the high demand for Wharton graduates in the business world. This university also has one of the largest alumni networks in the world.

3. University of Chicago (Booth)

Chicago Booth is the country’s second-oldest business school and the first to offer the Executive MBA degree program in the US. It’s also the first business school in the world to have a Nobel Laureate on its staff. 

Chicago Booth is also known for its academic rigor, emphasis on analytics in all sectors, and proficiency in finance, economics, and marketing.

4. Harvard University

Harvard Business School (HBS) is one of the world’s most prominent business schools and provides its students with a wealth of options.

During your stay on campus, you’ll have the opportunity to meet a varied set of peers from all over the world due to the large student base. There are also student groups and elective courses to suit a wide range of interests.

5. Quantic School of Business & Technology

Quantic focuses on attracting the smartest and brightest brains and providing them with the contemporary skills and knowledge they need to improve the world.

Many online instructors have open or permissive admittance rules, which, although well-intentioned, ultimately harm students enrolled in the program, as indicated by low graduation rates and poor results.

Quantic operates differently.

Its goal is to link students to a global ecosystem of top experts and foster an atmosphere where they can communicate, cooperate, and solve difficult business challenges.

As a student, you’ll feel like you’re a member of a close-knit community of learners who can assist, encourage, challenge, and learn from one another.

Quantic isn’t part of the M7 (for now), but the affordability and flexibility of our online MBA programs make it among the best institutions to pursue your MBA.

What’s even better is that you don’t have to sacrifice your other obligations to pursue an MBA at Quantic.

In the words of Melanie (our student), Quantic’s program is designed to fit into your busy lifestyle, not the other way around.

A review by a satisfied Executive MBA student

What’s more, Quantic believes in equal opportunities for all—both female and male. You can contribute to the changing tide today by contacting us and signing up for our next MBA intake.

Indeed, some students, such as Erin, who attended prestigious, expensive business schools, wish they’d come across Quantic before enrolling.

A Quantic alumni’s review of the online learning platform

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Quantic’s MBA Program Accredited?


Quantic’s program is approved by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), the recognized accrediting organization by the US Department of Education. Quantic’s ‘Active Learning’ technique, developed by academics from top MBA institutions, is used to give tuition via an interactive app.

How Long Does It Take to Complete an MBA at Quantic?

It will take you 15 months to complete an MBA at Quantic, about half the time you’ll take to complete an MBA in other top accredited business schools.

What is Quantic’s Selection Rate?

Quantic doesn’t have a selective target rate. The business school aims to accept as many applicants as possible without compromising the quality and consistency of its overall learning experience.


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