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Closing the Gender Gap

Posted: August 28th, 2016

Clockwise starting upper left: McCune, Anderson, Shiao, Wakefield"Stop waiting for the right time! Go for it!" is the advice Megan Anderson, a current University of Wisconsin MBA Consortium student, offered to women considering an MBA. Based on recent trends, many women appear to be heeding her recommendation as enrollment of women in MBA programs has steadily increased over the past five years. According to the results from the 2014-15 AACSB Business School Questionnaire, female student enrollment in MBA programs reached 39.6 percent, up from 37.7 percent in 2010-11.

While these data illustrate the gender gap that still exists among students enrolled in MBA programs worldwide, at the UW MBA Consortium we boast a nearly 50-50 gender split among students, with our current enrollment rate for women at 49.8 percent. "We are really pleased to see that these enrollment figures have been hovering near the 50 percent rate for the past few years," said Jessica Franson, distance learning coordinator for the UW MBA Consortium. "Providing women with the opportunity to earn their MBA is contributing to the advancement of more women to executive positions and ultimately closing the gender gap at that level as well."

Since the UW MBA Consortium's enrollment rate for women is so much higher than the global average, we wanted to find out what is it about the UW MBA Consortium program that women love. We talked with several women currently enrolled in the program and found that they appreciated the flexibility, affordability, and quality that our program offers.

View 3 Advantages of an Online MBA Program

Anderson, a territory representative for Eli Lilly in Wisconsin said, "I knew that I wanted the high level of education that I received during my undergrad but needed flexibility to balance a career." Anne McCune, an emergency department nurse practitioner for Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin agreed that the UW MBA Consortium offers both the flexibility and quality she was looking for in an MBA program. "I am a working mom, so an online option was a must," she said. "I received my first two degrees through the UW System, and I have been pleased with the education and amount of preparation I was given for those degrees. So choosing this option for me was a great fit. I can do it at home and at my own pace and adjust it around my busy work schedule."

Like Anderson and McCune, more women are choosing programs that offer flexibility. A 2015 study by the Graduate Management Application Council found that women accounted for 43 percent and 45 percent of online and flexible MBA program applicants, respectively. Full-time MBA programs, which generally offer less flexibility and are based on-campus, had lower application rates among women, reporting 37 percent for one-year programs and 40 percent for two-year programs.

Kim Shiao, a UW MBA Consortium student from New Jersey, added that affordability and quality were also factors she considered when choosing her MBA program. She said, "The convenience and value, along with the high online MBA rankings and experienced faculty, are the reasons for why I chose to pursue my MBA with this program."

Not only do we hold a spot among the top ranked online MBA program by US News & World Report, we also maintain accreditation by AACSB, an accolade that only 5 percent of business schools worldwide can claim. Additionally, our faculty complete a certification course prior to teaching online and are supported by a team of experienced instructional designers and technologists. All of this comes with just a $20,000 price tag, making the UW MBA Consortium one of the most affordable online MBA programs around. 

View 4 Women Reflect on the Road to Their MBA

All of these factors contribute to the delivery of a high-quality learning experience in the online environment for our students. Tish Wakefield, a therapist with American Well in Pennsylvania and 2016 recipient of the UW MBA Consortium Outstanding Graduate award, loved many aspects of our program. "The class discussions and assignments helped us share a wealth of information with each other while filling in gaps in our knowledge," said Wakefield. "It was valuable to work in teams, and professors also assigned us individual projects to customize to our professional interests and goals.  I took these opportunities to stretch and try new things."

Although Shiao is just starting out in her MBA career, she echoed Wakefield's sentiments. "Collaborating with my classmates and learning with them and from their experiences has taught me a significant amount already, and my instructor has been incredibly helpful and accessible to everyone," said Shiao. "Though I'm just getting started in my career, I know that these courses, my classmates, and my instructors will all have a tremendous impact on my business education and professional life."

So what are you waiting for? Apply today!

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