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Best IIMs In India For Women? Gender Diversity Shifting At Top Indian B-Schools

Record female enrollment at several Indian Institutes of Management suggest a growing shift in cohort gender diversity. So, which are the best IIMs in India for women in 2024?

Mon Jul 8 2024

Five Indian Institutes of Management have recently announced record female enrolments into their MBA programs, indicating a shift in cohort diversity within the country's business school classrooms. 

While some global b-schools have made headlines in recent years for reaching gender parity—most notably The University of Oxford Said Business School which reported a record percentage of 51% female students in 2023—business education still remains resoundingly male.

Just 13 business schools from the 2024 Financial Times MBA Ranking reported a female ratio of 50% or more. Out of these, only one (Wharton) was ranked in the global top 10. 

So, given the lack of female representation in business education, what are the best IIMs in India for women? 

Best IIMs in India for women: schools reporting record female enrollment

Most significantly among the Indian Institutes of Management reporting record women representation so far in 2024, IIM Sambalpur announced a 76% female cohort for its 10th batch of its flagship MBA program. This figure meant the number of women in the class was more than three times higher than their male counterparts.  

IIM Sambalpur is widely known for setting standards for gender representation and diversity, having surpassed industry norms with its 60% female MBA cohort last year. 

IIM Rohtak reported a similarly high proportion (73%) of women in its 15th batch this year. New students represented in the cohort came from a variety of backgrounds including architecture, journalism, and badminton. 

The school's high representation of women in 2024 marks a stark jump from 2017, where just 7% of the school’s MBA cohort were women. By 2022, this figure increased to 61%, then reaching 69% by 2023. 

IIM Kozhikode (IIM-K) also created history by announcing a female cohort of almost 60%. However, this isn’t particularly new for the progressive school. IIM-K first made headlines back in 2013, after counting a record batch of 53% female students, and again in 2021, when it also crossed the 50% benchmark. 

One of India’s newest IIMs, IIM Mumbai (formerly the National Institute of Industrial Engineering or NITIE) has started with a bang when it comes to gender diversity. The school reported a female cohort of over 47% for 2024, more than double the 21% recorded at NITIE in the previous year.

IIM Kashipur also joined the ranks of gender diversity record-breakers in 2024, with 42% women students enrolled in the 2024-26 flagship MBA cohort. This was a significant jump compared to the 35% female students who enrolled last year.

Why is female enrollment on the rise at IIMs? 

Reports indicate that the steep rise in female MBA enrollments is due to efforts being made by IIMs to increase gender equality in their programs. This includes measures such as adding weight to gender diversity in their admissions policies. 

This is also a reflection of growing demand for female managers among top corporations in India, which recruit each year from the cohorts of IIMs. 

Speaking in a recent interview with the Economic Times India, Narayanan Ramaswamy, national leader of Education and Skill Development at KPMG India, said: “On the demand side, there is a pull for more women managers. On the supply side, there are more women getting into the higher-education ecosystem. All this is reflecting in improved diversity numbers in MBA classrooms."