Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Mind the Gender Gap: MBA Parity at Royal Holloway, University of London

The Pareto Effect, the ratio of 80 to 20 has an unusual prevalence in describing customers and revenue share, and often this numerical rule of thumb becomes etched firmly in the minds of many Business School graduates.  However, in the world of gender breakdowns for MBAs the special number appears to be 70:30.   In 2011/12 the AMBA (one of the leading MBA accrediting bodies) statistics for UK MBA programmes suggested a 70% male, 30% female gender breakdown. 



The Economist Which MBA ? survey for 2011/12 full time programmes showed that the majority of leading UK Univeristies had female MBA gender per centage balances in the twenties.  Just three had around a third women and just one with 45%.  AACSB (another global accreditation body for Universities with a strong US base) data shows that overall masters programmes have an even spilt of the sexes, thus pointing at the MBA as being perculiarly more popular with men globally.

Thirty percent seems to be a magic number - with this FT.com blog entry flagging that a number of world leading MBA institutions targeting this level, and suggesting that exceeding this level was problematic.

Perhaps because Royal Holloway has a human scale campus or because of its proud Victorian heritage as the UK's second Higher Education institution for women, whatever the reason for a second year running equality very much rules on The Royal Holloway MBA, with both a growth in total numbers and also an increase in the female gender share, with now a small majority (54%) of the MBA class of 2012/13. 

When interviewing prospective MBA candidates the question of gender and nationality split is often raised.  According to Justin O'Brien, MBA Director at Royal Holloway "From my interaction with applicants it seems females, in particular, are perhaps keen not to be be signing up for a year long experience to find themselves in a tiny minority and are often pleasantly surprised to learn of the close to parity gender split on The Royal Holloway MBA." 

Once again the RHUL MBA demonstrates its truly international credentials with a highly diverse cohort of over 35 candidates hailing from 21 different countries.  One of the attractions of this MBA programme is the opportunity to study for the MBA in a truly multi-cultural context, with extensive opportunities to learn about a wide range of global cultures.