Why gender parity makes the classroom experience better for MBAs

Article by Naomi Blackwell, Assistant Director of the MBA at Alliance Manchester Business School

business inequality, woman and man climbing the career ladder, gender inequalityGender parity is a key issue that virtually all businesses must be striving for, and business schools are no different.

Latest figures released in GMAC’s The Global Diversity of Talent – Attainment and Representation report show that globally, 44.8% of Business Masters degrees are held by women, yet in Europe that number is only 38.4% – a damning figure.

At Alliance Manchester Business School for example, 46% of a our class of 111 students are female in the 2023 Full-time MBA. This is not unusual for us as we regularly recruit over 50% female students at our China centre. Recruiting strong female candidates is very important for us and we actively work with Forte Foundation, a community of motivated and inspiring women who are transforming leadership in every field that business touches. 

We’ve also offered scholarships worth over £250,000 to female applicants through this partnership, and another attractive scholarship for one fully paid place for an outstanding female MBA candidate through the 30% club funded by Professor Fiona Devine’s Dean’s office. 

It’s incredibly important that business schools try to find ways to empower women in business. Adding to our recruitment strategy we are keen to share the stories of individual female students in the hope to inspire other female professionals to come forward and consider an MBA at Manchester. We have found that some of our talented female MBA students have been role models for others, due to what they have achieved on their MBA and throughout their career. 

Of course, it’s clearly incredibly important for both women and wider business in the long-term to have more female business leaders, but what is the benefit to those in the short-term, in the classroom, to having a gender equal cohort?

Gender equity in the classroom plays a significant part in preparing our MBAs for future leadership roles around the world. Having this diverse dynamic in their MBA group work provides a strong platform to refine their leadership abilities for greater impact when they return to mid- to senior- level roles managing and influencing diverse teams, especially in terms of gender splits. 

It is also important for women to share their experiences and challenges as a woman in business and/or as a female MBA student so we encourage openness and working together as a support network within the class. 

Having a strong number of females in the class can also break down the stereotypes of what it is to be a woman in business alongside being a mother or having other additional responsibilities. The experiential nature of our programme gives women the chance to leverage opportunities in industries that were traditionally male dominated. Where companies are improving their diversity and also in industries that have until recently been perceived to have a weaker work life balance, such as the consulting field or seen to have a glass ceiling in terms of seniority of female leaders. 

More and more women are looking to MBAs to transform their career with an MBA and AMBS is proud to be part of this.

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