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New Forté Foundation Data Shows Encouraging Jump in Women’s U.S. Full-Time MBA Enrollment

16 U.S. Member Schools Report 35% or More Women Enrolled—a Record High

enrollment-2015Forté Foundation recently reported women’s full-time enrollment in MBA programs at 36 U.S. member schools climbed to 36.2% on average for students enrolled in the fall of 2015. This is up from 32.3% in 2011, a 3.9 percentage point jump over this period.

In another sign of momentum, 12 Forté Foundation U.S. member schools reported 40% or more women enrolled compared to last year’s high of five schools reaching this milestone. In addition, 16 U.S. schools have 35% or more female students, along with London Business School outside of the U.S., compared with just three schools hitting this mark a decade ago in 2005.

“There is some evidence that earning an MBA is a ticket to the top as 41% of Fortune 100 CEOs have an MBA, according to our research. While we’re asking women to lean in, we need to also consider the education gender gap at business schools,” said Elissa Sangster, Executive Director of the Forté Foundation. “In 2011, less than a third of MBA students were women. Today we’re inching closer to 40% in the U.S. and working to close the gap significantly in another 5 years. Every percentage point gain is not only hard earned, but something to celebrate, and should go a long way in building the senior leadership pipeline at companies and on boards.”


Check out Forté Foundation’s full infographic for a quick look at women’s full-time U.S. MBA enrollment percentages since fall 2011; the schools hitting 35% or more women enrolled and how this has changed over the past decade; and the percentage of Fortune 100 CEOs with MBAs, overall and by gender.

ICYMI: Related News Coverage

Many top news outlets recently included Forté data in stories spotlighting the encouraging increase in women’s MBA enrollment in the U.S., along with additional information about initiatives at Forté, business schools, and beyond helping to move the needle. Following is a sampling of this coverage:

Forté’s Efforts to Close the Gender Gap

Forté Foundation has introduced a number of initiatives since its launch 14 years ago to close the gender gap in pursuing careers in business and an MBA. Examples include the Forté MBA Women’s Leadership Conference, attended by hundreds of women MBAs and top companies annually, and the Forté College to Business Leadership Conference, designed for undergraduate freshmen and sophomore women to introduce them to career opportunities and top companies that offer summer internships and entry-level opportunities for college graduates. Scholarships awarded to Forté Fellows have also been key to increasing the number of women MBAs, climbing from 33 scholarships in 2003 to over 800 scholarships for the incoming class of 2015. Since 2003, Forté Foundation sponsor schools have awarded over $85 million in scholarships to Forté Fellows.

In recent years, Forté Foundation has also introduced new initiatives to help build the female MBA and business leadership pipelines. Its “Rising Star” pilot initiative, launched on 10 U.S. campuses in September 2015, is geared to help undergraduate women become well-informed about their many career options, including in business, and compete for top jobs. Last year, benefitting women specifically interested in exploring financial careers, the Forté College Fast Track to Finance Conference was launched. Another signature effort is its MBALaunch, a hands-on 10-month program that provides guidance, resources, and ongoing feedback on the business school application process, including monthly webinars, peer group meetings, and feedback from experienced advisors.

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