Best-Practices Document Focuses on Women in Business

At a recent White House meeting, more than 150 business school deans and leaders met with the government’s Council on Women and Girls to discuss best practices for matriculating women into MBA programs. Following the meeting, 47 business schools endorsed a best-practices document, which sets down goals for addressing gender disparity in business.

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International is now charged with furthering these best practices to expand opportunities for women in business.

“We are honored to work with the White House on this important initiative and are pleased with how these best practices give AACSB members and the higher education industry an opportunity to address the needs of a more diverse student population and a changing workforce,” Thomas Robinson, the AACSB president and CEO, said in a statement. “Diversity serves as a core component [of] the AACSB’s mission and values, and business schools are a critical part of this conversation.

“Going forward, the AACSB will take a leadership role in communicating and disseminating information to its members and the business school community.”

The document identifies four key areas for improvement and gives examples of actions schools can take. Under the section “Ensuring Access to Business School and Business Careers,” the best-practices document recommends working with “companies to develop programs that will help women trying to get back on the fast track” when returning to the workforce. It also proposes measures for ensuring diversity in leadership positions within schools, including on advisory boards, as well as “actively encouraging and rewarding research and discussion on women in the workplace, workplace flexibility, and working families.”

“When we look at the data, it is clear that more can be done,” said Christine Clements, senior vice president of accreditation and member services and chief diversity and inclusion advocate for the AACSB. “Only a small minority of S&P 500 CEOs are women. To build these leaders, schools need to address the life-cycle challenges that current and future female students face.”

Last year, women earned only 36 percent of the MBAs and 37 percent of the PhDs in business in the U.S. In addition, men hold more than 77 percent of all business school deanships in the U.S.

To see the complete list of best practices and read more about the White House initiative, visit aacsb.edu/diversity.