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MBA success stories of female applicants from India who dared to dream big


Female MBA Applicants Success Stories

Gender diversity is a significant talking point, especially in the still somewhat skewed statistics of MBA education and the business world that the degree is designed for. Gender parity in graduate management education (or GME) has certainly improved in the past few decades.

In a recent 2018 tally surveyed by GMAC, a number of business Master’s courses now see a near 50-50 distribution in the sex ratio. For instance, the female to male ratio in Master in Management is 50:50.

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It is 54:45 in Master of Accounting and 43:57 in Master of Finance. But when it comes to MBA, both full-time and professional varieties, there is still quite a large room for improvement desired. In Executive MBA, the female to male ratio is 40:60 whereas in Full-Time MBA it is even worse at 38:61.

Interestingly though, the percentage of GMAT exams taken by women has increased from 39.5% in 2009 to nearly 47% in 2018. The score gender gap has also happily decreased from nearly 35% in 2009 to little over 14% in 2018.

Given all the positive trends of female inclusion in business education, and consequently the real business world, the lack of an equally enthusiastic increase in women in MBA is disappointing. It is absolutely clear that women have a lot to contribute as leaders in the business world.

Women now make up nearly 30% of the chief executive roles in the US, according to their Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 survey. As of 2021, there are 41 female CEOs at Fortune 500 companies. At 8.1% of all Fortune chiefs, this is an increasing, albeit slow, trend from only 12 female CEOs back in 2011.

Women comprise nearly 14% of entrepreneurs in India employing about 27 million Indians. They also own 31% of small businesses in US, with a significant number of them employing more than 50 workers.

In other words, a growing and thriving economy needs active women participation. And an MBA degree goes a long way in training future leaders, both men and women. Business schools, worldwide, are thus putting in serious efforts to improve gender diversity in their MBA cohorts.

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How to promote female MBA applications and enrolment?

To target more female talent into their MBA programs, business schools have researched and implemented various measures. MBA recruitment drives are often organized specifically so that female MBA aspirants can enquire and freely understand how their expectations can be met in the learning environment.

They can connect to alumni, school officials, and other resources that can promote the idea that b-schools are interested in looking beyond the gender statistics and that female enrolment is a natural outcome of the best recruitment efforts.

Studies have shown that women are more likely to decide on their future MBA plans earlier than men. For the same reason more and more deferred MBA programs are creating advantage for such female applicants by ensuring a secure MBA spot for their future, with more freedom to explore unconventional careers in between.

And the opportunities within the MBA program are designed to unlock the potential of its graduates, opening up their minds to possibilities beyond what would be considered as conventional for either sex.

Business schools are thus motivated by women enrolment not just as a diversity statistic to check off a list but rather as an essential step towards meaningful progress in the business world. However, some of the most important encouragement for female MBA applicants come from current students and MBA alumni.

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Studies have shown that 7% female MBA applicants are influenced by admission professionals while 27% are influenced by alumni and current student feedback. The personal nature of such feedback is the most inspiring to female applicants who often face more pushback than men.

Even beyond the time and effort that MBA applications demand, female applicants face the additional obstacle of facing the decision while having to prioritize family and children, against the immense financial and time investment that the degree needs.

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Read How business schools are luring female applicants for MBA

That is why, success stories among female MBA applicants, in school and beyond in post-MBA career, can help future women MBA aspirants strive even more to realize their MBA dream.

In this article, we have tried to bring together the success stories among women MBA applicants from India who we have worked with, to help our readers and future business leaders aspire bigger and better.

Women in MBA – Successful MBA Application Stories


Successful female MBA applicants with under-represented profiles

Undaunted by the relative lack of quantitative skills shared by so many MBA applicants, this advertising professional tapped in her creative skill to make it into the bigwigs – Oxford University. Read her story here: MBA after Bachelors in Mass Media and Advertising

Development sector professional, with a less than competitive GMAT, also shares her Oxford Said admission story: MBA from Oxford after development sector experience

Making her mark from one male dominated industry to another. This merchant navy professional talks about how she took to an MBA degree at ISB: From merchant navy to ISB to explore shore jobs

Another NGO worker shares her incredible success story of making it into Georgetown MBA with a $60,000 scholarship: MBA with scholarship after NGO experience

From Architecture to MBA? Chicago Booth Part-Time MBA admit takes us through her M7 EMBA after architecture.

Mothers in MBA

Not one but two MBA degrees for these two Indian moms. A B-School professor who made it to her second MBA from Oxford and a freelancer who made it to Strathclyde MBA without a GMAT.

Why should an Indian mom with kids drop her MBA plans? Mother of two, this MBA graduate talks about her journey to Queen University’s Smith School of Business in Canada.

This Chicago Booth MBA grad takes us through her thought process as she made a difficult choice – to pursue her career aspirations after becoming a mother, with the support of her family.

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Overcoming application challenges – Successful women in MBA

After failing to make it into the Indian MBA world with a CAT test score, this applicant shares how she made it internationally with a GMAT score.

Eager to break free from her previous career, she left it to pursue an MBA at Cambridge Judge. She tells us how she managed to get intoCambridge MBA after digital marketing.

With a BSc in Finance and only 15 years of education, this Darden admit got in with a GMAT waiver, by improving her profile with CFA and CFP certifications and a solid work experience.

Here are a few average and below average GMAT score success stories among female MBA applicants.

Rejected multiple times in various attempts, she describes her experience working with admission consultants vs alumni, and how she finally got accepted at Singapore NUS.

Either family, or career, are usually compromised, in a woman’s pursuit of her professional or personal dreams. In these two cases, however, the female MBA applicants worked with their partners to combine their MBA application efforts – gaining MBA offers together.


Other success stories of women in MBA

Success stories among female MBA applicants are endless. But the challenges faced by women make it much harder for them to pursue their career dreams.

The decisions surrounding career, family, expectations, ambitions, and motivations to get an MBA degree are additionally complicated for women, having to steer through a male dominated industry with pushbacks.

But inspiration can be drawn from others who have managed to overcome the obstacles. Each story is unique and we have worked with so many women who have been successful in their MBA journey. The links below takes you to more such MBA success stories among women.

Explore your MBA possibilities and reach out to us at info [at] mbacrystalball [dot] com for professional help with your MBA applications.

Good Luck
Sources: 1, 2, 3 | Image: Kunal Goswami (Unsplash)


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