Record Numbers of Women Are Attending B-School. But How Many Are Doing MBA Specializations? |

Record Numbers of Women Are Attending B-School. But How Many Are Doing MBA Specializations?

By Linda M

Updated November 23, 2020 Updated November 23, 2020

A record number of female candidates haves been admitted to top-ranked US business schools during the coronavirus pandemic, according to research by Bloomberg Businessweek.

Data revealed that many of the world’s most prestigious business schools – including the Tuck School of Business, Stanford Graduate School of Business, The Fuqua School of Business and Harvard Business School – achieved a nearly equal gender distribution within their class of 2022.

While this is undeniably a positive trend, how likely are women to enter some of the world’s most competitive MBA specialization cohorts? And how well are female MBA graduates represented in some of the biggest industries on the planet like tech and consulting?

TopMBA analyzed exclusive data from the recent QS MBA by Career Specialization Rankings 2021 to find out.


Consulting is one of the most popular career choices for MBAs worldwide, with firms such as Boston Consulting Group (BCG), McKinsey & Company, Strategy&, and Bain & Company often recruiting graduates fresh out of b-schools.

The Wharton School’s consulting MBA has the highest proportion (46 percent) of female students out of the top 10 schools for a consulting specialization. Closely following suit are Michigan Ross School of Business (45 percent), The Kellogg School of Management and The Fuqua School of Business (43 percent), and MIT Sloan School of Management (41 percent).

On the other hand, three out of the four top schools for consulting have the lowest numbers of admitted female MBA candidates: INSEAD and London Business School,  ranked first and second, admitted 35 and 31 percent women respectively; while Columbia Business School – ranked fourth – recruited 38 percent.


Entrepreneurship is another competitive field for MBA graduates, with 20 percent of businesses failing during the first two years of being open.

Stanford Graduate School of Business – ranked as the best school in the world for specializing in entrepreneurship, takes the crown with the highest number of women in its specialized MBA course: 47 percent. Following closely are The Wharton School (46 percent), Saïd Business School (44 percent), Harvard Business School (43 percent), and MIT Sloan School of Management (41 percent).

With the exception of Oxford Saïd, European business schools appear to be behind US schools for gender representation, with no remaining schools on the list – including Copenhagen Business School, Judge Business School, Imperial College Business School, IESE Business School and IE Business School – surpassing the 40 percent threshold of admitted female MBA candidates.


The financial sector has grown significantly in recent years thanks to AI and digital investments. While it remains one of the most popular fields for MBA graduates, experts have recommended doing a finance specialization to stand out in the candidate pool.

Out of the top 10 schools for a career in finance, half surpassed the 40 percent threshold of female MBA students this year: Stanford (47 percent), Wharton (46), Saïd (44), Harvard (43) and MIT Sloan (41).

Other schools closely following suit including Columbia (38), The University of Chicago Booth School of Business and NYU Stern (37), and Cornell SC Johnson College of Business (36).


Next is marketing, another incredibly popular field for MBAs and in the specialization rankings.

Marketing also appears to be one of the most popular specializations for women, with most schools in the top 10 admitting more than 40 percent of female candidates onto their cohorts. The schools with the highest percentage of female marketing students are: Stanford (47 percent), Michigan Ross (45), Fuqua and Kellogg (43), Marshall School of Business (42) and  McCombs School of Business (40).


Technology, one of the world’s most competitive and innovative sectors, also appears to be a popular choice for women.

Out of the top 10 b-schools for a technology specialization, seven surpassed the 40 percent threshold for admitting female MBA candidates. These include Stanford (47 percent), Wharton (46), Michigan Ross (45), Oxford Saïd (44), Harvard and Kellogg (43), and MIT Sloan (41).

All other schools on the list – including Haas School of Business, Cambridge Judge and UCLA Anderson School of Management – recruited between 33 and 37 percent of female students.

Big schools pave the way

From the data, it appears that bigger, more prestigious business schools such as Stanford, Wharton, MIT and Harvard are paving the way for gender representation, by continuously surpassing the 40 percent threshold. Nevertheless, no school in our top 10s has yet achieved an equal gender division within their specialization cohorts.

It will be interesting to see how the coronavirus pandemic and changes to the application process will impact admissions figures in future years.

This article was originally published in November 2020 .

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Written by

Linda is Content Writer at TopMBA, creating content about students, courses, universities and businesses. She recently graduated in Journalism & Creative Writing with Politics and International Relations, and now enjoys writing for a student audience. 

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