In 2000 there were just 30% women in the full-time MBA at Stanford GSB. That figure had risen to 38% in 2008, just before Lehman Brothers collapsed, but as we moved through the next two years of the financial crisis the number fell to 34%. During an economic downturn many talented young women decided that it was not the right time to go to business school.
Ten years later, Stanford welcomed 47% women to the Palo Alto MBA classroom, a record for the program. When the pandemic hit in early 2010, they and other top schools were concerned that they would again see a reversal of the gender balance they all work so hard to achieve. Speaking with me at the CentreCourt MBA Festival, the Assistant Dean and Director of MBA Admissions, Kirsten Moss told me that despite many headwinds the team had ‘managed to land the plane pretty much where we wanted it.’ The incoming class again has 47% women.