It’s no secret that the top business schools in the U.S. have been aggressively recruiting and enrolling more women in their MBA classes. Last year, the Wharton School and Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business topped out among top 25 business schools, each enrolling 44% women in their incoming classes. It’s still early for schools to release profiles for the Class of 2020, but so far, at least two prominent schools have already beaten last year’s mark. The University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business announced late last month their Class of 2020 will have 52%. And today (August 7), Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management announced that women will make up a record 46% in its Class of 2020 — an increase of four full percentage points from last year’s incoming class.
The record has been achieved as Kellogg Dean Sally Blount, the most prominent female dean of the highest ranked business school in the world, prepares to leave office on Aug. 31. When Blount became dean in July of 2010, the paucity of women in MBA programs was a major concern. Few schools were above the one-third mark, even though women in medical and law schools represented close to half the students. In higher-ranked business schools, in fact, women’s numbers had failed to rise above 30%. At Kellogg, only four years ago, in the Class of 2016, women represented only 38% of the full-time MBA class.
“We’re incredibly excited,” says Kate Smith, Kellogg’s assistant dean of admissions and financial aid. “We’re going to be welcoming a diverse, top-quality group of students here at Kellogg in just about a month as they start orientation. As we build out our class every year, our goal is to create a strong community that gives students from every background a distinct voice and representation at every stage of the student lifecycle at Kellogg,” adds Smith, acknowledging that the new 46% mark is a record for Kellogg’s full-time MBA program. “I fundamentally believe that Kellogg is the best place for a woman to pursue her MBA.”
Kellogg’s incoming class will maintain the same average GMAT of last year’s class at 732, which bested every major school last year with the exception of Stanford’s Graduate School of Business with its 737 average (see Average GMAT Scores At The Top 50 Business Schools). It’s the first time in five years the school hasn’t increased its average GMAT, though the average has jumped 16 points in the past five years. The range of GMATs for the incoming class, meantime, has widened. Last year’s class had a GMAT range of 600 to 780. And this year, the range dropped to 590 for at least one entering student, but also rose ten points at the top end to 790. Average GPA has remained the same for the past five classes at 3.6.
“While it is a competitive GMAT average, I think it is in line with the caliber of our peers,” Smith says.
U.S. MINORITIES ALSO REACH FIVE-YEAR HIGH
In terms of other diversity metrics, Kellogg will enroll 34% international students — a dip from 40% three years ago and 35% last year. U.S. minorities reached a five-year high at 27%, which is a slight uptick from last year’s 25%.
“As we do every year, we look for leaders that are focused on collaborating to create impact and lasting value wherever they go,” Smith says.
The average age of this year’s incoming class is 28 and they average about five years of work experience. The middle 80% range of work experiences is three and a half years to seven years of work.
“Leaders at Kellogg are what we dub high impact and low ego,” Smith says. “And the DNA of a Kellogg student is very reflective of being broadly motivated to make a difference in the world in whatever area of interest the students pursue.”
NEARLY A QUARTER OF CLASS COMES FROM CONSULTING
Some 24% of the class is coming from consulting. The next highest industry — financial services — takes up 19% of the class. Technology is the next most prevalent industry represented at 13%. Government, education, and nonprofit follow with 9%. And consumer products rounds out the top five most popular industries at 6%. Half the class (50%) has an economics or business degree. Some 29% has a degree in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) background. And 26% have a humanities degree.
For applicants concerned about meeting Kellogg’s high GMAT average, Smith emphasizes their holistic approach to evaluating applicants.
“I always encourage applicants to put your best foot forward and apply to schools that make you most excited about attending.”