For the first time ever, the Wharton School's MBA program will enroll more women than men in its incoming class.
The country’s oldest business school announced that nearly 52% of its incoming MBA students will be women. This is a 5% increase in the number of women enrolled since the program's most gender-equal Class of 2021.
“Oftentimes it really just takes committed leadership to diversity. It’s a continued focus on diversity as a part of thinking about how we want to create a portfolio of students,” Wharton Dean Erika James told the Wall Street Journal.
This makes the Wharton School the first of the “M7” — a group of the seven most prestigious business schools in the United States — to admit more women than men into the MBA program, the Wall Street Journal reported. Women make up only 44% of the MBA Class of 2022 at Harvard, another school in the M7.
In a written statement to The Daily Pennsylvanian, rising Wharton senior and Wharton Women President Namrita Narula said she is proud of the strides Wharton has made and the precedent that this milestone sets for future classes and other top MBA programs.
"Equitable gender representation [in] business school should be the norm. As an aspiring female leader in business, it is encouraging to know that more women are gaining the tools that they need to reach senior leadership positions — titles that come after the MBA experience," she wrote.
Institutions in the United States have consistently seen more women than men earning degrees over the last thirty years, with more women than men earning bachelor's degrees every year since 1982, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. However, business schools have continued to be dominated by men who, on average, make up 61% of MBA students.
Wharton accelerated past other MBA programs when its 47% of its Class of 2021 admits were women. Likewise, Dean James made history in the summer of 2020 when she became the first Black woman to lead one of the country’s top 25 business schools.
The new class at Wharton embodies the vision of Dean James.
“While my focus has to be primarily and predominantly on ensuring that we take the country’s first, biggest, and best business school and make it even better, that only will happen if we ensure that we have the right kind of talent in the right positions — and I believe that talent exists everywhere, and comes in all colors and packages," she said.