EMBA Gender Gap Narrows, Still Pretty Dismal

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More women are enrolling in Executive MBA (EMBA) courses than ever before as the traditionally wide gender gap continue to narrow as more women take up the challenge.

EMBA courses generally cover much of the same subject matter as a standard MBA but are targeted to senior executives with more experience. The generally offer greater flexibility and more customised learning experiences like international study tours and intensive workshops.

The Executive MBA Council (EMBAC) Membership Program Survey showed the percentage of female students enrolled continued to climb to 29.7 percent, the highest on record. This higher percentage of female students continues a positive trend towards closing the gender gap.

“Last year’s 27.6% was also an upward trend — we just didn’t know if that would continue, or if it would drop this year,” EMBAC Executive Director Michael Desiderio told Poets&Quants.

“It was 27.6% last year, 29.7% this year, and if you were to go back to 2014, it was 25.4% — so that’s just over a 4% increase in two years, and that is a big deal in a number that’s been mostly flat for some time.”

The survey also showed more people are applying to Executive MBA programs to increase their skills, enhance career development and gain new perspectives on the business enterprise.

In 2016, the average age of enrolled EMBA students was 38 years old and they have 14 years of work experience and approximately nine years of management experience. The collective experience base of students, which clearly is significant, leads to a level of discussion that is substantive and hard to duplicate elsewhere.

Additional insights from the 2016 EMBAC Membership Program Survey include:

  • Approximately 41 percent of students were self-funded, whereas 59 percent of students received some funding. In addition, roughly 59 percent of EMBA programs provide scholarships or fellowships.
  • Programs outside the U.S. and Canada are more likely to offer a concentration.
  • Technology trends continue to increase in the Executive MBA industry, including new ways of teaching and learning such as electronic delivery of course materials, video delivery of course materials and business simulation usage.
  • Sixty-eight percent of EMBA programs require an international trip. This experiential aspect of EMBA programs prepares students for global leadership roles by immersing them in settings where they are studying real businesses in diverse locales.

“You can tell by the results of our survey that the industry is responding to the growing demand for Executive MBA degrees and future leaders,” Mr Desiderio said.

“Scholarships are continuing to rise, making it easier for students to complete the program. In addition to programs rewarding students who show value, there has been an increase in the use of executive coaches over the last five years, which shows the eagerness of the industry to create the best possible leaders.”

EMBAC currently includes more than 200 colleges and universities that administer 300 plus programs in more than 25 countries worldwide. Each year the Council conducts a membership survey; this year the survey was conducted by Percept Research, held from March 22 to July 24, 2016, and was completed by 91 percent of the member EMBA programs.

The Executive MBA Council (EMBAC) is a non-profit association of universities and colleges that offer Executive MBA Programs.

Ben Ready
Ben Ready founded MBA News in 2014 and is the Managing Editor. He is a former business and finance journalist with Australian Associated Press (AAP) and Dow Jones Newswires in London. Ben completed his MBA in 2012 and was awarded the QUT GMAA Entrepreneurship Prize. He is also the founder and Managing Director of RGC Media & Mktng (rgcmm.com.au).