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Learning Curve

Harvard’s business women push

Tim Fitzsimons Apr 9, 2015
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Harvard Business School is extremely selective — only about 12 percent of applicants are admitted. But even with such a large pool of applicants to choose from, the school still has a serious gender imbalance. Only 41 percent of the student body is female.

The school’s new PEEK program is HBS’ newest effort to reach out to women and encourage them to apply. For a $500 fee, women who attend women’s colleges can experience the business school for a weekend. 

“They will immediately be in a classroom here doing a case,” says Dee Leopold, Harvard Business School’s director of admissions. “They will have had a case sent to them before; they will be hitting the ground running.”

Many business schools also have a gender imbalance, says Linda Scott, the DP World Chair for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford. Why? “Mostly, I think it’s because the environment is fairly hostile,” she says.

Business Schools are male dominated, and so are the faculty. Even the course material can be presented in a masculine way, Scott says.

“I think a lot of women just want to avoid that environment,” she says.


UPDATE April 10, 2015
Editor’s Note: Linda Scott was speaking of gender issues at business schools generally, and not Harvard Business School in particular. 

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