The news is excellent, and it’s spreading quickly. WashU Olin’s first-year MBA enrollment this year is 49% female–putting Olin ahead of other elite business schools.
In other words, Olin is the closest school to achieving gender parity, according to Forté Foundation, a nonprofit focused on women’s advancement and gender parity in business school.
The Financial Times (subscription required) notes that for several years, Olin has run a women’s ambassador program, equipping students and alumni to encourage other females to apply. Olin also markets MBAs as a tool for getting an edge in interviews over male candidates without the degree.
“It is that extra qualification that will help to smash the glass ceiling,” Olin Dean Mark Taylor said.
As applications to US business school decline, the percentage of women enrolled in full-time MBA programs continues to rise, climbing this fall to an average of 39% at more than 50 of the top programs in the US, Canada and Europe, Forté Foundation’s new data show.
While Olin came closest to an even split between male and female students, others with high percentages of female students include the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. Each had 45% or more women enrolled.
Nineteen Forté schools reported 40% women or more, up from 13 schools five years ago.
“Every year we see women’s enrollment inch up at business schools,” Elissa Sangster, CEO of Forté, said in a press release. “The progress over five-year intervals, in particular, demonstrates a significant shift in gender parity at top business schools.”