Not many business deans can say there is gender equity in their college’s MBA program.

“I am excited to say we have achieved that goal here at the Ivy College of Business,” said Raisbeck Endowed Dean David Spalding. “Our incoming full-time, MBA class has as many women as men for the first time in the program’s history.”

That bucks the national trend.

Only 39 percent of applicants to full-time, two-year MBA programs in the United States are female, according to the 2019 application trends reported by the Graduate Management Admission Council® (GMAC®).

“We have reached a goal here that some of the highest ranked MBA programs in the country have not yet been able to achieve, including Stanford and Harvard,” Spalding said. The Ivy MBA program started in 1985. For a program that is only 35 years old, it has made great strides by rising in the rankings and achieving gender balance.

The college has spent the last six years building up its ranks of female faculty, to the point where Ivy now has the highest percentage of female faculty in the Big 12. This is only the second time a top-50 school has achieved the distinction of MBA gender equity.

None of this happened by accident. A strategy that had been in the works for six years featured two key elements.

“First, we raised the level of our program and our rankings. Second, we laid the groundwork by aggressively hiring highly qualified female faculty,” Spalding said. “We went from having the lowest percentage of female faculty in the Big XII to the highest percent. More women in the front of the classroom draws more women into the classroom.”

Having gender balance is good for business and for MBA graduates.

“The MBA is considered the most direct pipeline to the executive level or C-suite of a business. If we don’t have gender parity in our MBA programs, it becomes more difficult to reach the goal of parity in the boardroom,” said Associate Dean for Professional Masters Programs, Jackie Rees Ulmer. “This directly benefits business because better performance is tied to more profitable business.”

Ivy College of Business alumna Beth Ford (’86 management), the first female president and CEO of Land O’Lakes, Inc. and a member of the Ivy College of Business Dean’s Advisory Council since 2003, is one of only 25 women running Fortune 500 companies. She is proud of her alma mater for increasing the number of women in the MBA program.

“This is an outstanding accomplishment,” said Ford, named to Fortune magazine’s 2018 Most Powerful Women in Business list. “Having gender balance in the classroom is an asset as it leads to having a diverse talent pool at the office.”

There is momentum with the Ivy MBA program, which is the only full-time MBA program in the state of Iowa. In addition to having gender equity with the incoming class, the part-time program, which has 47 percent female students, was voted “Best MBA Program in Des Moines” by readers of the Des Moines Business Record, two years running. “This shows the Des Moines metro area businesses have confidence in our program, which is taught by the same internationally known faculty as the program on campus,” Spalding said.

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International) accredits the Ivy College of Business in both business and accounting. Only 2 percent of the world’s business schools receive accreditation in both business and accounting.

To learn more about the Ivy MBA, visit our website.