Executive Education

The 5 Top EMBA Programs for Gender-Balanced Cohorts

gender balance emba cohort

It’s no secret that women are chronically underrepresented in EMBA programs around the world.

The 2016 Executive MBA Council Membership survey showed that women make up only 29.7% of EMBA cohorts. While this is the highest number on record—and that should be celebrated—it is still very low. It’s lower, in fact, than the percentage of women in full-time MBA programs, a number that is closer to 36% according to business school accreditation group AACSB.

But many EMBA programs are now actively making gender balance a priority. In fact, one school on our Ivy Exec rankings proudly features the only cohort in which women outnumber their male counterparts. To showcase these schools, Ivy Exec has compiled this list of top EMBA programs who are prioritizing a more favorable gender balance.

IMM Global EMBA at the Purdue University Krannert School of Management

Gender Balance: 52% Female to 48% Male

The IMM Global EMBA holds the distinction of being the only program surveyed by Ivy Exec where women outnumber men. While most other schools barely even approach cohorts with 25 to 30% women, IMM has gone the extra mile—and the school is very proud of this milestone achievement.

“Our IMM Class of 2017, with 13 women and 12 men, mirrors today’s workforce,” said Aldas Kriauciunas, executive director of Purdue EMBA programs in a statement announcing the new class. “We are excited by the gender makeup of this class. Fifty-two percent is unprecedented here at Purdue and in programs around the world.”

David Schoorman, the school’s associate dean for executive education and global programs said that it marks the first time in his 26 years at Krannert that the class is more than 50% women.

“It will give the women a ‘majority’ experience in study groups, project teams and discussions that is elusive for them in the executive workplace,” he said.

The Rutgers Executive MBA Program

Gender Balance: 33% Female to 67% Male 

Rutgers has a growing female cohort in its EMBA program, several points above the national average. One reason that Rutgers is seeing growing success in the area of gender balance is that the school offers several programs specifically geared to help women achieve in business. Most prominent among them is the student-led Rutgers Women in Business (RWIB) group that works to offer enhanced networking events for women in the MBA and EMBA programs. It also provides a much-needed community for women at the school and alumni.

Dr. Carolyn L. Smith-Barrett, EMBA class of 2012 is a vice president at Johnson and Johnson. She credits the Rutgers program with complementing her science background with the business skills she needed to advance at her company.

“As the program emphasizes the relationship of academic teachings to the real world, the Rutgers EMBA program took my business understanding to a new level,” she says.

Smith-Barrett is not the only high-powered female executive at Johnson and Johnson who graduated from Rutgers Business School: the pharmaceutical giant’s vice chairman is Sheri McCoy, MBA class of 1988.

The Fordham Executive MBA

Gender Balance: 35% Female to 65% Male

Fordham has been at the forefront of gender equality in higher education for quite a while. In 2008, the EMBA program had its first-ever cohort with 49% women. While that number has since dropped somewhat, the school is still well above average for its percentage of female students. Fordham’s graduate students have a particularly robust women’s group in the Fordham Women in Business organization. The student-run group hosts networking events and invites an impressive array of speakers to address its membership and other interested women on campus and in the community.

The Villanova Executive MBA

Gender Balance: 37% Female to 63% Male

Villanova’s growing percentage of women in its EMBA cohort has a lot to do with the prestige of its female alumni. Take, for example, Joanne Ryder, EMBA class of 2017 who is an executive vice president at Beneficial Bank. Ryder dedicates herself wholeheartedly to helping rising female executives grow and develop their networks and skillsets. She is on the board of the Pennsylvania Conference for Women and recently spoke at the group’s event in 2016.

“As I thought about going back to school, it was important to select a school that would challenge me to be my best self,” Ryder says. “After researching many programs, Villanova stood out as the top choice. The pedigree of the faculty, the structure of the EMBA program, the international business immersion, the cohort structure, and the Systems Thinking curriculum made Villanova the ideal fit for me.”

The Fox Executive MBA at Temple University

Gender Balance: 37% Female to 63% Male

Fox Business School is very proud that it exceeds the national average for women in its EMBA cohort. In fact, it uses this statistic in its informational materials to help attract even more female students to future classes.

Mia Gonzales Dean earned her EMBA from Fox in 2004. She’s now the CEO and President of Franklinia Healthcare Consulting in Philadelphia. She credits the program with helping her transition into her current line of work.

“I am indebted to the Temple University EMBA program for providing me with a strong business and management foundation to help me successfully transition from a clinical-manager role in healthcare to a key role in hospital administration and operations for a top ten academic medical center,” Dean says.

About the Author

R. Kress is an Emmy Award winning journalist whose reporting and writing has appeared in national media from NBC News to the International Herald Tribune. She has covered news from cities around the world including Jerusalem, Krakow, Amman and Mumbai.