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2018 Forté Foundation Data Reveals Women’s MBA Enrollment at 38%

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2018 was a big year for female MBA students. According to the latest membership school data from the Forté Foundation, women’s enrollment at full-time MBA programs reached 38 percent on average. In addition, one Forté school reached gender parity (50 percent male/female enrollment) for the first time, and more than one-third of schools reached 40 percent enrollment.

“While the number of Fortune 500 women CEOs has declined in the last year, it’s heartening to see women’s enrollment in business school continues to increase, albeit at a slower pace than last year,” Elissa Sangster, Forté Foundation CEO, said in a press release. “We continue to aim for 40% women’s enrollment by 2020 at our member schools as an MBA provides an economic mobility engine for women, and helps build the pipeline of women leaders. And countless research shows that having more women in senior leadership improves corporate financial performance.”

Key Forté Foundation Statistics

  • Over the last five years, from 2014, female MBA enrollment at Forté schools has steadily risen with 19 out of 52 schools reaching the 40 percent mark this year. That’s a significant improvement from just three schools at 40 percent in 2014.
  • The USC Marshall School of Business was the first Forté school to achieve gender parity this year with 52 percent women. Three other schools got close: Northwestern Kellogg (46%), Dartmouth Tuck (45%), and Imperial College Business School (45%).
  • More than half of Forté schools (29 schools) reached 35 percent female MBA enrollment.

A Few Surprises

Interesting enough, some of the Forté numbers were a reversal of last year mainly when it came to international MBA programs. While the U.S. school enrollment went up by close to 1 percent (38.7 percent in 2018 from 37.8 percent in 2017), the opposite was true for Forté schools abroad. Those schools saw a decline of a little over 1 percent (going from 36.2 percent last fall to 35.1 percent this fall). Whereas last year, international schools saw considerable gains in female enrollment with an almost 3.5 percent increase. However, overall, female MBA enrollment in the U.S. and abroad increased slightly to 37.8 percent from 37.4 percent last year.

To learn more about what’s going on at the Forté Foundation and to see how it’s impacting female MBA enrollment around the globe, read the original press release.

Kelly Vo
Kelly Vo is a writer who specializes in covering MBA programs, digital marketing, and topics related to personal development. She has been working in the MBA space for the past four years in research, interview, and writing roles.