The XX Factor: Women outnumber men in Beedie MBA program

Mar 03, 2014

Think of a typical MBA class. Does your mind’s eye see a class of smart, intense men? Well, you’d be wrong – if you were at the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University. This year, the full-time MBA program – that classroom you were thinking of – is comprised, more than half, of females. (Who are equally smart and equally intense.)

This year’s MBA female registration rate is 52%­­ – more than 15% higher than the average for AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business)-accredited business schools.

Over the past five years, Beedie’s MBA had higher than average female registration: women generally made up 40% of the program’s composition. However, 2014 was a milestone year – the very first where female students outnumbered men.

Beedie School of Business staff celebrates the ever-changing face of the full-time MBA program, including Manager of Graduate Programs Jeff Nehajowich. “At Beedie, we want a student cohort to be as diverse as it can be. Incorporating a mix of gender, culture, industry experience and educational backgrounds provides our students with a rich learning atmosphere – and we believe diversity is a critical component of that success.”

Beedie MBA student Kelly Scott thinks so, too. “Having such an even male-female ratio brings a different perspective to business topics – and I think it’s a step in the right direction to improve gender imbalances in the workplace. Grad programs at Beedie have surrounded us with intelligent, energetic students who make this an amazing learning environment.”

Searching for diversity in the student body isn’t something new for SFU’s Beedie School of Business. In 2009, Beedie established the Nancy McKinstry Awards for Leadership in Diversity, a $2,500 annual award recognizing a Beedie graduate who’s been a trailblazer in promoting opportunities for women in business.

In 2011, MBA students Alannah Cervenko and Alice Longhurst founded the Graduate Women’s Business Council. The student-run program supports young women as their strides lead them to roles as future leaders, managers and entrepreneurs.

Beedie’s MBA program also supports women-helping-women with its high-profile education partner, the Women’s Executive Network. The Top 100 Mentoring Program matches high-performing students with mentors from a prestigious group: WXN Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winners.

“We continually work to deliver an MBA that’s different from the norm – particularly one fostering a culture of collaboration,” says Nehajowich. “Many MBA’s focus on rankings and statistics, but we spend our time and energy on the most important thing – our students’ journey through their MBA experience. We choose our students carefully, examining what they can bring to the program, and diversity is always a consideration in the makeup of an MBA cohort. With a full-time MBA class comprised of more women than men, I think our commitment to diversity in the classroom makes that pretty clear.”

Learn about an MBA like no other: visit the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University. We think you’ll like what you see. beedie.sfu.ca/mba