Women comprise the majority of students who earn graduate degrees—except when it comes to MBAs. While Forté Foundation reported that women’s enrollment at full-time MBA programs reached 38 percent on average in 2018, the figure hovered closer to 30 percent women on average just a few years ago. The absence of women in MBA programs ricochets out into the boardrooms, as women hold far fewer positions of power within the business world than men.
MBA programs have recognized this problem and begun making efforts to change the narrative. Although some programs like Northwestern Kellogg (46 percent), Dartmouth Tuck (45 percent), and Imperial College Business School (45 percent) got close, only one has achieved actual gender parity in its incoming class: USC Marshall School of Business. The Class of 2020 at the Marshall School of Business is 52 percent women.
In addition to the gender equality success, USC Marshall has made strides in other areas of diversity. The Class of 2020 is 21 percent minority students, which is a 5 percent increase over the Class of 2019. Although every school has been suffering from decreases in the number of international students, USC Marshall has kept their numbers fairly steady at 30 percent of the current first class, seeing only a 1 percent decrease from the previous year.
The average GMAT score has improved slightly from the previous year, rising from 703 to 705. The new students’ average GPA has also increased slightly, from 3.48 to 3.50. A quarter of Marshall’s Class of 2020 had majored in business/commerce as undergraduates. The next largest percentage, 18 percent, of students had studied engineering/computer science. Seventeen percent had pursued the humanities, while 16 percent studied economics and another 13 percent majored in the social sciences.
USC Marshall looks for that rare combination of talent, moxy, and foresight. The five students we profile here are clearly dynamic individuals who will go on to successful executive careers. Let’s hear their stories about how they got to business school and, more importantly, how they got to USC Marshall.