Although enrollment in MBA programs across AACSB-accredited schools as a whole has remained relatively steady over the past three years, some changes do emerge once you more closely examine the data, specifically when looking at female representation within the MBA market.
Figure 1. MBA Enrollment by Gender
Source: AACSB Business School Questionnaire (BSQ). Data represents AACSB-accredited schools that provided enrollment data for MBA programs in all three years.
The chart above shows that MBA enrollment across AACSB-accredited schools has slightly decreased (by about 4 percent) over the past three years, and the proportion of female enrollments has remained steady at about 36 percent. When we take a look at what is occurring in the online MBA space, however, we see a couple of interesting things happening.
Figure 2. Online MBA Enrollment by Gender
Source: AACSB Business School Questionnaire (BSQ). Data represents AACSB-accredited schools that provided enrollment data for fully online MBA programs in all three years.
The numbers shown above in Figure 2 are included in the total enrollment numbers in Figure 1. We see that total online MBA enrollment has increased by almost 24 percent in the last three years. Furthermore, although female representation has increased only slightly as a percentage of total online MBA enrollment, nearly 34 percent more females had enrolled in an online MBA program in 2015–16 than in 2013–14. That growth contrasts with only 20 percent growth among male enrollees.
These findings suggest that although female representation continues to be rather stagnant within the MBA population, which as a whole seems to be shrinking, there is significant interest within the online MBA space, at a higher rate than their male counterparts. One can speculate on the various reasons driving this trend, but the online space appears to be an increasingly attractive option for MBA students, particularly females.