graduateshotline logo
Last Updated: August 10, 2021

MBA and Women

The fields of business and management have been predominantly dominated by men over the decades. But this pattern has been changing with an evident surge in the number of female applicants for MBA in even the top business schools. According to the Forte Foundation, women who have completed their MBA will be able to avail themselves of better opportunities with a 55-65% increase in their salaries.

In order to increase the enrollment rate of women into professional degrees like MBA, a lot of measures have been suggested and implemented over the years. This includes providing a safe space for women within the field of business along with the measures of creating awareness regarding the course. Though the measures have been in place for a few many years, the percentage of women in MBA courses has risen only up to 39% which implies that there is still a long way to go.

Measures to Increase Women Enrollment in MBA

Women-Centric Recruitment Events for MBA

It is common knowledge that despite the surge in female applicants for programs like MBA, there still has to be a significant rise in the number for a minimum level of equality to exist within the space of business and management. Around 58% of full-time MBA programs have implemented methods like women-centric recruitment platforms to reach a 50% mark for women enrollment. But this has been proving to be challenging due to the ways in which such events can be planned.

Instead of merely setting up and organizing such events, schools have been stating that the careful planning and strategy that goes into the creation of such events are focused on providing an individual-centric experience to the applicants rather than making it seem like they are being recruited because they are women. Most schools bring in alumni for inspirational talks and focus on the quality of the women who have enrolled for the course rather than making them feel like they are mere statistics. A few examples for this would be the Virtual Women’s Visit hosted by Harvard Business School and the way in which UNC-Kenan Flagler (Carolina) is offering career development opportunities for women through their Women in Business event.

Women-Centered Scholarships for MBA

One of the reasons for the low number of female enrollments for MBA programs is that of the finances involved in completing the course. While women might not be able to invest 3 to 5 years for a part-time course, it is possible for them to opt for full-time courses that can be completed within 2 years. While this runs true, it is also evident that the cost of attendance, loss of income for the duration of the course, additional expenses incurred, etc. will be hard to cover without the right financial aid.

It is to mitigate this issue that there has been a rise in the number of scholarships awarded to women based on both merit and need so that they will be able to do the course without taking up a significant financial burden upon themselves. Candidates who receive scholarships will not have to rely on student loans that can leave them in debt upon the completion of the course.

Scholarships that are specifically for women are often provided by the schools they study in, by non-profit organizations, and other corporates. The scholarships that are offered by non-profit organizations and corporates are often clubbed together with different universities that enable candidates to apply for and receive the aid smoothly.

Scholarships Offered for Women Pursuing MBA


This scholarship is provided to women and is provided under different titles based on which the amount offered varies. The aid provided can range between $8000 to $25,000. The scholarships offered have titles like the Groupe Galeries Lafayette Endowed Scholarship and the INSEAD MBA’68 Scholarship for Women. One of the applicants will also be chosen for the Judith Connelly Delouvrier Endowed Scholarship which is based on merit. In order to apply for this scholarship, candidates will have to fill in the Diversity Scholarship Application and submit it before the deadlines. Deadlines vary for each scholarship provided under INSEAD.

Forte Fellows Program

The Forte Fellowship is provided to candidates who have enrolled in business schools the Forte Foundation has partnered with. This includes over 50 institutions including Wharton, INSEAD, Harvard Business School, etc. This fellowship is based entirely on merit and requires the candidates to have a specific grade for their GMAT and as their GPA. The amount that is offered is estimated to be around $20,000. Candidates will not have to specifically apply for the scholarship as they will be automatically considered for it if they have enrolled in schools that have partnerships with Forte Foundation.

Women’s Scholarships by the Darden School of Business

This scholarship is awarded to candidates who have been admitted to the Darden School of Business and offers an amount that is variable depending on the candidate. Candidates are not required to apply separately for the scholarship since they will be evaluated for the available scholarships as soon as they enroll in the course.

Popular MBA Programs Chosen by Women

According to the statistics collected by GMAC for the years between 2008 to 2018, there are 5 main programs under MBA that women have mostly opted for and excelled in. Apart from the MBA programs, women mostly chose programs like Master of Accounting, Master in Management, and Master of Finance. While almost 54% of women opted for Master of Accounting, 50% opted for Master in Management, and 43% chose Master of Finance.

When compared to these courses, the applicant pool for MBA is less in number but nevertheless shows an increase in the number of female applicants for MBA. Around 40% of female candidates opted for Professional MBA whereas 38% of candidates opted for a Full-Time MBA. The data with respect to online MBA and Executive MBA does not show a high female applicant pool as of now.

MBA Programs with Highest Percentage of Women Enrollment

According to the data collected by Forte Foundation in 2014, the highest proportion of women who enrolled for MBA with respect to universities are as follows-

Popular Industries Women Pursue After MBA

While having an MBA allows candidates to pursue their field of interest, there is a certain order of preference of industries among men and women that tend to vary according to the work benefits and working conditions they will have to be in. Though personal interests play a huge role in the choice candidates make, it is also dependent on factors like working hours, pay, flexibility, etc.

According to the survey conducted by GMAC, most women who enroll for MBA find their preferred industry during the duration of the course. Around 45% of women state that they ended up working in an industry they did not know of before joining the course. Since most women choose to do an MBA for a career switch unlike men who mostly use the degree for career enhancement, the idea of finding a field they previously did not know about but suits their interests is a welcome change.

The industries that women have been choosing mostly after completing a full-time MBA are-

MBA 2022

MBA Programs

Admissions and Exam Prep.