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Minding the gender gap in MBA study
thesisposted on 2022-03-29, 03:19 authored by Michelle Wood
The research reported in this thesis examined the barriers women face in pursuing postgraduate study in business, and why these barriers may be less salient for men. It also examines some potential ways to overcome these barriers. It involved thirty-eight, one-hour in-depth interviews with men (n=9) and women (n=29) who are either (a) considering doing an MBA, (b) in the middle of doing an MBA, or (c) MBA graduate. The interviews were transcribed, and a qualitative analysis of the resulting textual data was performed. Many of the themes captured by the interview data are grounded in previous research on the gender gap in MBAs, but some of the emergent themes have no obvious counterpart in the literature. This includes that women complete MBAs to overcome perceived personal deficits, that they are deterred from MBA study because they perceive the work/life juggle too difficult to manage (as opposed to the difficulty of the study itself) and that by better linking study with a postXMBA leadership pathway, as well as aligning students with mentors/sponsors, employers have a significant role to play in increasing the numbers of female MBAs.