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In GMAC’s First-Ever Global Report On Diversity, Some Surprising Discoveries

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‘The Global Diversity of Talent – Attainment and Representation’ is GMAC’s first-ever report on the gaps in race and gender in business schools across the world.

The Graduate Management Admission Council today (October 26) released its first-ever report on the gaps in race and gender in business schools across the world, and it uncovered more than a few surprises.

The special report, The Global Diversity of Talent – Attainment and Representation, is GMAC’s first reference guide on industry views about diversity in graduate management education. The full report offers a global overview of student access and equity in the pursuit of graduate business degrees; it also includes separate reports for 69 locations or countries, appendix data for 111 other countries, and reports on underrepresented groups’ participation in the United States as well as representation of women across the globe.

GMAC CEO Sangeet Chowfla

“Diversity, for a fair amount of time, has been a really important area of management education because the more diversity you have in a classroom, the more inputs you have from different points of view and the richer your experience,” Sangeet Chowfla, GMAC president and CEO, tells Poets&Quants.

“One of the things we thought that was missing in the conversation was benchmarking data on the state of the industry from a global perspective. We thought it was important to provide a benchmark about what diversity looks like. Because this is a global report, diversity is different depending on where you travel.”

To compile the report, GMAC leveraged the latest global data resources from the U.S. Census Bureau International Database, the World Bank, UNESCO, UNECE, and OECD. It focused on the student-aged population between the ages of 20 to 34 who have attained a master’s degree in the subject of business, administration, or law. The purpose was to provide a baseline for studying the state of diversity within graduate management education.

Some of the key findings of the report are discussed below. A full interview with Chowfla will be published later this week by Poets&Quants.

WOMEN CONTINUE TO STRUGGLE FOR REPRESENTATION, PARTICULARLY IN EUROPE

Despite gains women have made in enrollments in some U.S. B-schools, they continue to lag men, particularly at the graduate level, GMAC found. In the major regions examined, the lowest area for female participation in terms of ratio is in Europe.

“That was a little bit of a surprise to us because you would normally think of Europe as developed and as having a high level of gender equality in society,” Chowfla says. “We find that we’ve not really been able to make the case for business education to women in Europe. This is something that we know our European schools are very interested in.”

This table highlights the proportion of the student-aged population (20-34) believed to hold various degrees and the proportion of GME degree holders by age group. Source: GMAC

Women are interested in business education, just not as much at the graduate level, GMAC found. In fact, in the student-age population of 20 to 34, more women around the world earn bachelor-level degrees in business administration or law than their male counterparts (26.4% to 24.6%). But at the graduate level, women fall behind considerably: 29.4% of women compared to 33.7% of men.

In Europe, the number of women holding graduate business degrees (38.4%) is 6.4 percentage points lower than the worldwide average (44.8%) and 13.3 points lower than East Asia and the Pacific (51.7%). While European women are 0.9% more likely to have a bachelor’s in business admin and law than European men, they are 0.8% less likely to have a master’s degree in the field.

“When compared across all regions,” GMAC reports, “Europe has the largest share of those aged 30-34 in the GME pipeline at 41.8% but the smallest share of the GME pipeline aged 20-24 at only 19.8 %, suggesting that many women in Europe choose to return to business school later in life.”

This table reveals the distribution for Europe by subject and level, as well as female representation relative to males for each outcome. For instance, at the master’s level, the proportion of degrees held by females in Business, Administration, & Law is 0.8 percentage-points lower than it is for males. Source: GMAC

‘The data actually ended up showing that while African Americans represent about 14% of the population that we studied (which is 20 to 34 year olds) they actually hold 17% of graduate management degrees,’ Sangeet Chowfla says. GMAC photo

IN THE U.S., HIGHER-THAN-EXPECTED PARTICIPATION FOR BLACK STUDENTS

While many of the U.S.’s top-ranked B-schools enroll Black students at levels below than their representation in the country overall, when you look at participation in for-profit graduate business school programs, the participation rate is higher.

Conventional wisdom seems to be that enrollment of Black students in American B-schools falls short of their representation in the U.S. population overall. That is certainly true for large state university systems or nonprofit, private universities. Last month, Bloomberg Businessweek released its first ever diversity ranking and compared schools by their enrollments of underrepresented minorities; it found that only two of the top 25 schools enrolled Black students at or above the 14% of Black population in the U.S. overall: Emory University Goizueta Business School and Scheller College of Business at Georgia Tech, each with 16% of their student populations identifying as Black.

However, GMAC found that when you widen the lens to include for-profit business schools, Black participation goes up.

“The data actually ended up showing that while African Americans represent about 14% of the population that we studied (which is 20 to 34 year olds), they actually hold 17% of graduate management degrees,” Chowfla says.

‘THEY ARE BUYING THE CATEGORY’

Chowfla says GMAC has previously found that about a third of graduate business degrees granted by for-profit institutions were granted to African Americans. That may explain the gap in conventional wisdom and the most recent report.

In fact, when looked at as a population as a whole, African Americans demonstrate a 3% participation rate in graduate business education, while their White counterparts have a 2.5% participation rate.

“We are used to saying, ‘Well African Americans don’t get business degrees.’ That’s not necessarily true,” Chowfla says. “African Americans aren’t actually getting business degrees from the type of business schools that we are talking about. Quite simply put, they’re not buying what we’re selling, but they are buying the category.”

This table highlights the proportion of the student-aged population (20-34) believed to hold various degrees and the proportion of graduate business degree holders by age group. Source: GMAC

LATIN AMERICA HAS THE HIGHEST BUSINESS CONCENTRATION IN GRADUATE DEGREES

Not all of GMAC’s findings were a surprise. China and India have the highest numbers of both bachelor and graduate degree holders in business and business administration (as well as law). The U.S. is third in both categories.

“Pakistan and Turkey are two other notable inclusions in the top 10 sources, with business grads accounting for 28% and 40% respectively of the country’s total bachelor’s degree-holders,” the report finds.

However, what was a surprise is GMAC’s finding that the highest concentration of master’s degree holders in business (compared to population) is found in Latin America, at 33.1%. Comparatively, the Middle East had 27.6% concentration while East Asia and the Pacific had 26.6%.

“In addition, two countries in the Latin America region have greater than 60% females within the student-age population of 20 to 34 who are assumed to have attained a master’s degree in the subject of business, administration, or law: Colombia (65.6%) and Dominican Republic (64.5%),” the report declares.

Read GMAC’s full report here.

DON’T MISS GMAC DATA SHOWS COMPLICATED PATH FOR WOMEN’S B-SCHOOL ENROLLMENT and WHY YALE SOM IS OPENING ITS DOORS TO MORE INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

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