Women Are More Than Half of the Incoming MBA Class at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

The Wharton School of the Univerity of Pennsylvania is one of the nation’s most prestigious business schools. Now for the first time in its 140-year history, women will comprise more than half of the incoming first-year class of MBA students. At nearly 52 percent, the percentage of women in the Wharton MBA Class of 2023 represents a 10 percent increase in female students over last year’s first-year students.

“As we do every year, we made a conscious effort to ensure female applicants felt wanted and welcomed at Wharton, and showed them the many resources and communities in our program where they can connect, collaborate and feel supported,” said Maryellen Reilly, deputy vice dean of the Wharton MBA program. “Diversity, equity, and inclusion are central to our efforts, and while we are extremely proud to welcome this record number of women to our MBA community this year, we do hope that equitable gender representation soon becomes the norm among business schools, rather than the exception.”

“This landmark achievement demonstrates Wharton’s commitment to providing a diverse and representative community for our students,” added Erika James the first woman dean of the Wharton School. “As a female leader, I understand firsthand the significant impact that experiencing meaningful gender representation can have on women as they chart their careers. I also note the sobering reality that, even in 2021, women still command a small percentage of leadership positions in the corporate arena. If industry truly desires its organizations — and the leadership within them — to reflect the world around us, we must improve the diversity of the pipeline of future business leaders. In short, this crucial work must start here.”

Dr. James became dean in 2020. She had been serving as dean of the Goizueta Business School at Emory University in Atlanta. Prior to her tenure at Emory University, Dr. James served as the senior associate dean for executive education at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. Earlier, she was an assistant professor at Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business.

Dr. James is a graduate of Pomona College in Claremont, California, where she majored in psychology. She earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in organizational psychology from the University of Michigan.

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