Business Schools Commit To Increasing Opportunities For Women

By Nancy Dahlberg
The Miami Herald.

Women comprise nearly half the U.S. workforce. Yet, female undergraduates are 30 percent less likely to major in business than their male counterparts. And although women who graduate from an MBA program earn as much as men following graduation, within five years of graduation men earn 30 percent more than women MBA holders and 60 percent more after 10 years, according to a Council of Economic Advisers report released Wednesday.

To address these and other disparities, the University of Miami has joined 44 other business schools nationwide in pledging to increase opportunities for women in business. Standards were discussed at a White House event Wednesday attended by dozens of business school leaders from across the country.

Moving up the career ladder, the numbers of women dwindle, according to the report. Only 5 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs in 2014 were women and women held only 17 percent of board seats at these companies. Private companies have similar diversity issues.

“Fewer than 3 percent of venture-backed companies have a woman as their CEO and yet we see again and again that companies with diverse leadership often outperform those who don’t,” White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said during a conference call with reporters on Tuesday to announce the initiatives.

The business schools involved — also including Stanford, Yale, Wharton, Babson and Kellogg — signed off on a set of best practices that focus on four areas: Ensuring access to business schools and business careers; building a business school experience that prepares students for the workforce of the future; ensuring career services that go beyond the needs of traditional students; and exemplifying how organizations should be run, according to a White House fact sheet. The business schools will be held accountable for operating under these best practices through internal assessments as well as monitoring by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the organization that accredits more than 700 institutions worldwide.

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