Graduate Business Schools up the Ante

After years of law schools and medical schools directing their attention and resources to attracting women applicants, business schools are now seeing the reaped rewards from these same efforts of enticing more women into MBA programs. Historically, women enrollees have been considerably lower than their male counterparts. That’s changing, though. More business schools are bringing out the heavy artillery in their efforts, says A. Harrison Barnes, career coach and founder of EmploymentCrossing.com. Private parties, all expense paid trips and other incentives – such as cooking classes, of all things, are successfully wooing more women.

Some of the best business schools in the country are already reporting impressive growth from women applicants; sometimes up to 2 percent. This means more women are going to be entering their business careers higher up the corporate ladder than in previous years. The overall image is changing too, says the EmploymentCrossing.com founder. “Women aren’t as likely to be intimidated when faced with a tepid response in a classroom comprised of mostly men”.

A University of Michigan at Ann Arbor study revealed the main reasons the numbers have always been low have to do with a lack of female role models, a lack of encouragement by their employers and the belief business jobs would mean they would have to make more compromises in terms of marriage and family. Women have been becoming brilliant physicians and attorneys for decades, now the gap is closing in business, as well. A. Harrison Barnes says there’s one more reason women have sometimes steered clear of MBA programs that’s rather surprising: the quantitative capabilities are sometimes off-putting for women. Still, the report found that more than eighty percent of women business school grads agreed the MBA contributed significantly to their careers and that the challenges were well worth the anxiety and efforts.

One school, the University of Indiana’s Kelley School of Business, offered cooking classes as part of its enticement methods. Enrollment immediately increased by eight percentage points. This is indicative of women who want it all – and believe they can achieve it. From the results of this study, they’re right. From the boardroom to the kitchen to the school plays, today’s contemporary woman is realizing there’s a balance to be had – and they’re defining it to fit their needs.

Women have long since known they can incredible medical and legal careers and now, they know an MBA is within reach – and they don’t have to make the sacrifices those before them might have faced. The Stern School of Business, located in New York, has traditionally had the highest proportion of female students and it’s now reporting ratios of forty percent and growing. With more careers opening up, as evidenced by the trends on EmploymentCrossing.com, it’s clear there’s a new trend and for many, not a moment too soon.

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