MBAs, Your Gender Lines are Showing! (Applicant Arithmetic)

blog_feature_applicationgenderQuarterback was introduced to 75 outstanding men and women during our pilot program application process. But how many of each? In this edition of Application Arithmetic we take a look at gender representation among prospective Quarterbacks. Application Arithmetic is an ongoing series of posts about our results in which we present and digest the facts and figures of Quarterback’s inaugural application pool.

Why Gender?

“Battle of the sexes” is light-hearted trope in often invoked in reality television, but takes on a serious tone in the underrepresentation of women in MBA programs. In fact, organizations like the Forté Foundation are working hard to remedy this imbalance. In recognition of such efforts, and to gain insights into our applicants, Quarterback decided to evaluate interest in its program on gender lines.

Quarterback and Gender Parity

We’re happy to report that applications to Quarterback break in-line with the US population (51% Female / 49% Male vs. the population’s 50/50 split[1]). In relation to the US population, our application pool didn’t exhibit any type of gender gap.

Not the B-School Norm

Quarterback’s gender parity is not representative of the broader MBA community, however. In fact, women currently make up only 34% of the student population in top 20 MBA programs[2]. This percentage is an improvement over the results of a revealing 1998 study which indicated only 30% of the top 20 MBA-seeking population was female.

Digging Deeper

In this context, Quarterback’s parity actually masks an interesting result: we received an “overrepresentation” of women (compared to the entire MBA population) among our applicants. In fact, 1.5x more women applied to become Quarterbacks than the MBA population statistics would suggest. So what does this mean?

  • Are women more entrepreneurial in their career pursuits?
  • Are women more altruistic?
  • Are more women interested in effectively delivering sustainable social impact?
  • Or, more narrowly, is Quarterback more attractive to women?

We’d shy away from any of the sweeping conclusions above. Our results are far from scientific (we’d put them somewhere between “observational” and “anecdotal”) and even in the hands of deft economists, behavioral psychologists, or “freakonomists” wouldn’t yield revelatory insights.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not interesting! Especially to Quarterback, where we’ll have the capability to track the appetite for our brand of social impact over time.

Bottom Line

We can’t draw over-arching conclusions about gender representation in MBA programs from our program or applicant pool–but we can keep data of this type in mind as we continue to deliver high-impact programs to top-tier MBAs (of any gender).

Have something to add? Did we miss the big picture? Don’t hesitate to contact us and let us know.

[1] Source: CIA World Factbook
[2] Source: Quarterback analysis, median % gender representation by class, as reported by schools, unweighted by MBA class size

Application Arithmetic is an ongoing series presenting the facts, figures, statistics, and analysis of Quarterback’s inaugural application pool. Our aim is to drive insights into the group of incredibly talented, impact-focused professionals we have curated by offering innovative social impact programs designed for MBAs. Learn more about Quarterback at our website.


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