Women and graduate business education: The Lauder Institute at the University of Pennsylvania

Marcy R Bevan, University of Pennsylvania


Over the past decade, there has been an expression of concern that there are not enough women in business schools. This sentiment has been expressed in administrative meetings, at graduate school consortia, in boardrooms and in literature. This is an understandable concern: the percentage of women at business schools in the United States has hovered around 30% for the past 15 years. These numbers are more notable when you consider that this percentage is lower than in medical or law schools. This dissertation examines the data on the proportion of women in business school and explores the explanations of why the proportions are relatively low and have remained so over the years. The Lauder Institute, a combined MBA/MA in International Studies degree program, at the University of Pennsylvania is an exception, consistently attracting and enrolling a higher proportion of women than the “regular” MBA program at the Wharton School or the schools that are considered Wharton's competition. The research for this study examines the following questions: Why does the Lauder Institute attract a higher percentage of women than the Wharton School and its peers? Who are these women and where did they come from? What have been the profiles of Lauder students over the years of the program? What are the external factors over the past 17 years that may have changed the viability of business school for women? (Average age at entry, cost, and GMAT scores). Why do the women students attending the Lauder Institute want to come to Lauder in addition to Wharton? To answer these questions, 750 files of current and past students were examined to compile data on age, undergraduate institution, undergraduate major, citizenship and GMAT scores. Patterns among female and male matriculated students were examined to see if there were differences, as were their profiles to see if there had been changes over the past 15 years. The results of questionnaires sent to all Lauder graduates asking them to cite the primary reason they had chosen to attend the Lauder Institute instead of the straight MBA program were reviewed to see if gender was a factor in their decision-making process.

Subject Area

Higher education|Womens studies|Business education

Recommended Citation

Bevan, Marcy R, "Women and graduate business education: The Lauder Institute at the University of Pennsylvania" (2004). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3124679.