Why Women Should Consider Pursuing an MBA
The proportion of women earning professional degrees has increased drastically over the past few decades. From 1960 to 2000 alone, the percentage of bachelor’s degrees awarded to women increased to 57 percent, up 20 percentage points in a 40 year span1
Today, women earn almost 60 percent of all undergraduate degrees, and 60 percent of all master’s degrees. However, even though women’s educational attainment continues to rise, women still only account for 36.2 percent of full time MBA students.2
For women in professional fields who have a strong desire to elevate their career opportunities, are considering a career change, or have goals of reaching high level management positions in global corporations, earning an MBA is the first of many steps to achieving that goal.
Below, we explore a few of the many reasons women should continue their education and pursue an MBA.
Earning an MBA Gives Women a Competitive Advantage in Advancing to the C-Suite
According to reports by CNN, corporate America has an alarmingly low number of female CEOs, and the pipeline of future women leaders is thin.
According to their analysis, only 14.2 percent of the top five leadership positions at the companies in the S&P 500 are held by women. Furthermore, only 24 of those 500 companies have female CEOs.3
Although the gender imbalance in top companies is a widely accepted fact, fixing the imbalance will be difficult without a pipeline of qualified and educated female professionals with an MBA background.4
According to Elissa Ellis Sangster, executive director of the Forte Foundation, women are far more likely to be qualified to enter management positions if they first pursue their MBA. She points out that over 50 percent of female CEOs have earned their MBAs, indicating that the pipeline of women MBAs is a critical component of getting more women into the C-suite.
“Once you get more women at the top, it becomes easier to fix other problems with the modern-day workplace, including, say, the gender pay gap, the lack of women in other leadership and strategic roles, a culture that favors men…etc,” writes Huffington Post contributor Emily Peck. “It’ll also help funnel more women into corporate boardrooms–another place they’re MIA.” 5
Companies Benefit from Female Leadership
Companies that hire women in leadership roles consistently perform better financially.6 New studies by the Washington-based think tank Peterson Institute for International Economics, prove that there is a “positive correlation between the proportion of women in corporate leadership and firm profitability.” 7
This newfound profitability could stem from a number of factors, including more diverse perspectives and the quality of female managers. What is made clear, however, is that the presence of women in upper management benefits firms by contributing to a diversity in skillsets.
The study also notes that companies benefit from hiring women in all levels of management, not just at the very top, again confirming that a pipeline of female leadership will help companies increase profits and grow.7
MBAs Can Give Women More than Just Professional Advancement
For many women, earning an MBA is about more than just their future earning and occupational potential. In fact, there are a number of valuable benefits of an MBA that are overlooked. Many choose to pursue an MBA out of a desire to expand their skillsets, and achieve a degree of personal accomplishment.
Earning an MBA can provide value to women in a number of professional and personal ways, including but not limited to:
- A way to build credibility and advance credentials
- A means of enhancing their personal brand
- A means of meeting and networking with other professionals with similar career goals
- Expanding their management techniques
- A means of reflecting and adjusting career goals
- Finding mentors
- Exploring entrepreneurship without fully committing to a high risk endeavor 8
The number of women pursuing advanced degrees has increased drastically over the past few decades. Still, gender discrepancies in MBA attainment continue to exist, which has led to a large gap in women’s achievement in the business world.
For women interested in progressing in their career path, expand their skillsets, and find a sense of personal accomplishment, earning an MBA from Marylhurst University Online will ensure that they are placed on a positive trajectory to accomplish their career and personal goals.