ESADE Business School has been ranked the best European business school for professional women, and number 11 worldwide in the Financial Times’ 2018 Top 50 MBAs for Women.
The school ranked third in Europe for female salary increase, fourth for career development and 10th for international mobility. The school was also ranked third in the world for the percentage of women on the faculty.
At present, women account for 32% of students on ESADE’s full-time MBA and 40% of the Executive MBA—something the school is striving to further increase.
Sophie Van Gool, current ESADE MBA student and president of the ESADE Women in Business Club, works with the school to create initiatives to increase the number of women in business schools. She hopes to influence the pool of future leaders to understand and appreciate the important of gender diversity in business.
“ESADE is supporting female students with specific scholarships and by being part of the Forté Foundation, which promotes women in business schools,” Sophie explains.
“The Women in Business Club has launched a campaign about female leadership, hosted a webinar to answer questions from prospective female students, and we are working with the careers team to bring female leaders to campus.”
ESADE Business School is involved with women’s leadership programs such as Promociona—promoted and developed by the Women’s Institute for Equal Opportunities and the Spanish Confederation of Employers’ Associations. So far, over 400 women have taken part in the project.
Still, globally, gender equality at business school continues to be an issue—while women make up the majority of university graduates worldwide, the percentage of female students who decide to then pursue an MBA or another type of post-graduate management degree remains low.
What’s standing in the way for female applicants?
“Most men and women do an MBA to accelerate or change their careers, and to develop themselves,” says Sophie. “But research shows that one key reason that women do not do an MBA is lack of funding.
“Women’s choices for a specific business school are also impacted by the atmosphere. If I see that a school is making an effort to create a diverse and inclusive environment with female faculty, women in business clubs, and specific initiatives, I feel much more at home.”
GMAC’s 2018 Women and Business School report shows that four out of five recent female full-time MBA grads agree the skills they developed in b-school advanced their careers, and two in three part-time MBA alumnae agree they received more promotions than peers without their degree. The value of graduate management education then is clear to see.
It also goes a long way to tackling work place gender inequality and the lack of women in senior roles, as Sophie explains: “business schools must attract more female students, as their graduates form the talent pool for leadership positions.
“Business schools can create a safe environment in which men and women can discuss issues of gender inequality and how to tackle this—students can take this to their future workplaces and make a positive impact in all of their countries.”
ESADE Business School is doing just that.