Harvard MBA Class Breaks Record for Enrolling Women

Women on the steps of Widener Library at Harvard University Photograph by Lou Jones

Harvard Business School expects to enroll a record percentage of women for its incoming MBA class, continuing progress it has made on female admissions in recent years.

The school reports that women make up 41 percent (PDF) of this year’s incoming class, according to preliminary data released on June 3, up from 40 percent last year and 35 percent in 2003. Women made up 42 percent of last year’s incoming MBA class at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and 35 percent at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. Wharton and Stanford are expected to release fall enrollment figures later this year.

HBS also became a slightly more selective this school year, admitting 12 percent of MBA applicants, down from 13 percent last year. Applications to the school rose 3.9 percent to 9,315, up from 8,963 last year (PDF), a smaller increase than other top schools reported. The school expects to enroll 941 students this fall, compared with 913 last year.

HBS celebrated its 50th anniversary of admitting women MBA students during the 2012-13 academic year and published a report (PDF) of the careers of its female alumni to mark the occasion. That report found that HBS’s women graduates are less satisfied with their careers and that many believed the decision to prioritize family over work was a barrier to career advancement. The school has produced a number of women corporate stars, including Hewlett-Packard Chief Executive Officer Meg Whitman, Fidelity Investments President Abigail Johnson, and Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg.

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