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Here's How Kellogg, Tuck And Wharton Are Driving Opportunities For Women In Business

Top-ranked US business schools are launching initiatives to push more women into leadership roles

By  Anne Dolan

Tue Apr 3 2018

Why are women less likely to attend full-time MBA programs in the US? The subject has been a frequent topic of debate, spurred by disconcerting reports that women make up as little as 15% of students at select US business schools.

The answer lies in an uncomplicated network of theories.

As long as women receive lower wages than men, it makes sense that an MBA price tag would appear less desirable.

Not to mention, political and business leaders have proven that society hasn’t yet moved beyond outdated stereotypes that portray woman as less assertive or authoritative.

Earning an MBA degree doesn’t always close the gender pay gap. Forbes’ recent ranking of best business schools found that after receiving an MBA degree, there is still a significant difference in starting salaries for men and women. This ranges from 3% in...

ndustries, to an eye-watering 36% in management roles.

Given the circumstances, many top MBA programs have begun creating necessary infrastructure for current and future female students. The following schools boast some of the highest percentages of women and are implementing a variety of programs for those that venture into MBA terrain.

Tuck School of Business

Tuck’s Women in Business club provides a notable array of events to unite and motivate women in business. Some efforts are as simple as facilitating coffee chats with prospective students. Others are large-scale events.

“44% of Tuck’s class of 2018 and class of 2019 are women,” notes Jessica Nuñez, co-president of the Tuck Women in Business club.

“This stat is impressive, not only because it ties for the largest percentage of women in a top MBA program [in the US], but it also builds on Tuck‘s commitment to encourage greater diversity in the program,” she continues. “This community is something special—the culture and impact it fosters is unparalleled."

That culture extends to an array of initiatives at the school. Earlier this year, Tuck hosted the first ever ‘Men as Allies’ symposium. Students from NYU Stern and Indiana University Kelley School of Business discussed male allyship in the workplace alongside their peers at Tuck.

On April 19th 2018, the Initiative for Women Symposium kicks off too. The opening night’s keynote speaker is Joanne Lipman, former chief content officer and editor-in-chief for USA Today, and panel discussions include ‘Analyzing Drivers of Women’s Ambition in the Workplace’.

Wharton School of Business

Wharton claimed third place in a recent Financial Times study on the Best MBA Programs for Women. Compared to business schools globally, women graduating from Wharton tend to land higher starting salaries than their counterparts, at an average of $172,489. The student body is also 44% women.

The hallmark of Wharton’s programs for women is the Wharton Women in Business (WWIB) organization, which facilitates leadership and networking opportunities for current MBA students, alumnae, and prospective students. According to co-presidents Kristin Stenerson, Linda Xu, and Anne-Marie Firth, WWIB’s goal is to “support all women in personal, professional and leadership endeavors”.

One of the most innovative components of WWIB’s efforts is a group called the 22s, an all-male club of feminists. The 22s missions it to work in tandem with WWIB and other organizations dedicated to eradicating disparities that ultimately lead to gender inequality.

Kellogg School of Management

Kellogg features a healthy roster of programs for its high percentage of female students (42%), as well as prospective students and alumnae.

The school’s Women’s Business Association runs bi-weekly events, from discussions with professors to self-defense workshops.

In boardrooms across America women are severely underrepresented. Kellogg’s Center for Executive Women aims to advise senior-level women on how to advance to board and top executive roles. This is taken further by the school’s Executive Development Program, an innovative curriculum aimed at helping organizations equip themselves with empowered, top-performing managers.

Kellogg’s programs are unique in that they bring a holistic, longitudinal approach to career advising and mentorship.

“Kellogg is committed to accelerating the careers of high potential women at all stages of their career,” says Ellen Taaffe, clinical assistant professor of leadership and director of Women’s Leadership Programs. “The program recognizes that forward-thinking training doesn’t stop once a student receives her MBA degree.”

Armed with the knowledge that part-time MBA programs historically receive higher percentages of women students, Kellogg offers alternative programs for those who have opted out of the full-time MBA experience. 

The Executive Development Program caters to working professionals—corporate officers and female executives—looking to secure a position at the highest level of their organizations.

The program meets quarterly over the span of 12 months for workshops that aim to deepen participants’ understanding of business disciplines and strategies for empowerment.