Opportunity Is Knocking and More Women Are Answering the Door

Aug 18, 2011
Tags: Admissions, Applications, Business School, Women in B-School

Women are increasingly choosing graduate management education as their preferred pathway to success. How do we know this? The numbers tell all.

More women than ever took the GMAT exam for graduate b-school in Testing Year 2010—a total of 105,900 exams—shattering the record set just two years prior. Of these, nearly half (46%) are younger than 25.  All told, women now account for more than 40% of upcoming graduate management students. Women pursuing graduate management education are also finding their path made easier by b-schools actively recruiting and enrolling more women into their programs. [Hint: Create a GMASS profile  to get on the radar of these schools.]

Findings from the 2011 GMAC survey of b-school graduates give us a snapshot of the career goals and employment outlook for women in graduate business programs:

  • First off, 4 out of 5 women agreed their MBA degree prepared them to meet the challenges of the job market.
  • More than half of women had received a job offer by graduation, including 54% of MBAs (from two-year programs), 63% of quantitative masters (e.g., accounting), 50% of executive MBA grads, and 43% of part-time MBAs.
  • Across industries, women received an average of 2 job offers—about the same as men.
  • The top industries in which women prefer to work were products and services (56%), finance/ accounting (43%), and consulting (52%). They had their greatest success securing at least one job offer in manufacturing (67%), consulting (64%), technology (59%), finance or accounting (56%), and health care (43%), however.
  • Most of these new graduates entered the market into mid-level positions following graduation, but about 87% of women who completed an executive MBA held the key to senior or executive level jobs.
  • In terms of pay, women boasted an average expected salary increase of 61% over their pre-degree earnings.

The data highlight just how versatile a graduate management degree is to prepare women for career advancement in a broad range of fields and industries. These stats are a far cry from the opportunities afforded to women in the United States just 91 years ago when women first received the right to vote—an event that many will be celebrating this month as part of Women’s Equality Day on August 26.

Evidence of the ever-expanding contributions made by women in the United States and around the globe is everywhere. As of this year, there are an estimated 8.1 million women-owned businesses in the United States alone that generate nearly $1.3 trillion in revenues and employ nearly 7.7 million people.1 And a recent report estimates that the proportion of women on the boards of the top European companies has grown to 12% in 2010 from 8% in 2004, and is expected to reach parity with men in 16 years.2 Globally, initiatives abound to increase the number of women in business holding leadership positions or sitting on governing boards.

Are you ready to open the door to opportunities in business?  Click here to learn more about the GMAT exam and see profiles of real women achieving their educational, career, and personal objectives with a graduate management degree.

1 (2011, March). The American Express OPEN State of Women-Owned Businesses Report. Retrieved July 22, 2011 from https://c401345.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/pdf/WomanReport_FINAL.pdf

2 (2010, October). European Professional Women’s Network Press Release. Retrieved on July 22, 2011 from http://www.europeanpwn.net/files/4th_bwm_2010_press_release.pdf.


-Research Center at GMAC