The continuing preponderance of men enrolling in MBA courses has been the subject of much debate, most recently in the Financial Times. What may be less well known is that the size of the gender gap differs markedly between countries.
Looking at the FT’s data, which include schools in the business school rankings as well as those that did not make it into the rankings, Hong Kong and China lead the way. Women comprise 47.2 per cent of MBA students in Hong Kong and 39 per cent in China, which compares favourably with Switzerland, where about one in five MBAs is female (20.9 per cent) and only 11.5 per cent of faculty are women. The UK and US hover near the world average (31.6 per cent) at 29.5 per cent and 32.1 per cent, respectively.
In a recent video interview with the FT, Zhang Xin, the billionaire co-founder of Soho China, the property developer, said:
“China has, as a business community, more women like me than elsewhere … There are more Chinese women in senior positions in business than outside China. When I go to the World Economic Forum in Davos, like this year, there were hardly any women.”
Not only has the economic boom in China created huge opportunities for female entrepreneurs such as Zhang Xin, but it has also meant the new generation of future corporate high-flyers is more evenly drawn from men and women. The rest of the world should watch out.