“The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum,” is one of the official 2013 themes for International Women’s Day that we celebrate this month, and it’s a fitting description for the growing numbers of women who are jump-starting their careers by going to graduate business school. An incredible 122,843 women sat for the GMAT exam last year for admission to business school—a new record number of women and the FOURTH year in a row that women broke the 100,000 mark.
This growing demand for MBA and master’s degrees in management, accounting, and other specialized business fields shows the determination of women around the globe eager to gain a strong start or boost in a business career to open opportunities in the workplace.
Early Career Start
Women are entering the pipeline for graduate business and management programs at younger ages and a faster pace than men: More than half—58%—of women who sat for the GMAT exam in the 2012 testing year were younger than 25. Women also spent less time in the decision-making process en route to business school and entered their b-school programs a full 16 months sooner, on average, than men, from completing their undergraduate degrees to submitting an application.
Making Outcome-Driven Decisions
What’s driving these women? A greater percentage of women cite career prospects when surveyed about their motivators for pursuing a graduate management education. These included: increased job opportunities (73% women vs. 64% men), higher salary potential (68% women vs. 66% men), and opportunities for more interesting and challenging work (59% women vs. 54% men).
Women Represent Internationally Diverse Talent Pool
At 46,000, women from the United States accounted for the largest female talent pool for the GMAT exam last year. However, male test takers still outnumber female test takers in the US by more than 1.5 times. In other areas of the world women are the majority: Proportionally, women from East and Southeast Asia (59%) and Eastern Europe (53%) have greater representation in their regions.
Aspirations and Achievements Are Universal
No matter what their individual goals, women universally credit their degree programs for career preparation and advancement. Review the full-size graphic below
for a sampling of the impact management degrees have had on women across the globe.
Put a Business Career on Your Agenda
Get started on your path towards a career in business or management with these smart steps:
- Register for and prep for the GMAT exam, your first step toward a career with impact.
- Explore the vast array of graduate management programs available to you.
- Connect with schools to find a program that best suits your goals.
- Network with career-driven women with MBA or other management degrees and those currently enrolled in a graduate business program through groups such as the Forté Foundation that sponsor events and programs for women interested in business careers.