Women at the top of the world’s top business schools

Women make progress among top U.S. B schools According to a P&Q analysis, 15 of the top business schools have 40% or more women in their MBA programs, with 11 of the top 27 schools showing progress from 2021 to 2022. But how does the representation look at the top of the pyramid?

Bluesky Thinking recently spotlighted 10 of the most influential women in business higher education and looked at their stories of how they got to the top, as well as their hopes for the future of business. women in business education.


One could describe Bajeux-Besnainou as an accidental dean. Originally from Paris, she found her calling in numbers. After obtaining a doctorate in mathematics applied to finance, she moved to the United States to become a professor of finance at George Washington University. Here she took her turn as a department manager and discovered that she loved designing strategies, executing projects and making an impact.

This path led her to become vice-dean of the school’s undergraduate programs. Three years later, she was named Dean of the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University. In this role, she spearheaded the launch of the renowned Bensadoun School of Retail Management. During his tenure, the Desautels community also moved to a new 49,000 square foot building and launched several master’s programs, including analytics and retail. These achievements prepared Bajeux-Besnainou to take the next step. In 2020, she was named Dean of the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University. It was a process that involved the school shortlisting 400 applicants and Bajeux-Besnainou itself conducting 50 interviews.

True to her math background, Bajeux-Besnainou launched “The Intelligent Future” after the school conducted 400 interviews with opinion leaders and stakeholders. More than a slogan announcing the school’s prowess in analysis and interdisciplinary learning, “The Intelligent Future” is a commitment to harnessing change and innovation.

“It always feels like business schools are catching up with the corporate world,” says Bajeux-Besnainou. “We don’t want to play catch-up. We want to define what the business school of the future should be.

His advice to women? It’s simple: don’t set limits on yourself or the world around you. “Dare. Nothing is impossible. Thanks to my generation, there is a growing awareness that women play a decisive role in contributing to the economy. The future is yours.


James also made history as the first woman and first person of color to be named Dean of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 2020.

Since being named Dean, James has been outspoken about her responsibility to increase diversity.

“It’s a huge responsibility, not just in terms of the breadth of the role of Dean of the Wharton School, but so many eyes are watching me, you and the people in those positions to really make a difference,” James said. in an interview with ABC’s Good Morning. “So yes, I personally think that while my goal should be primarily and primarily to take the number one, biggest, best business school in the country and make it even better, that will only happen if we make sure that we have the right talent in the right positions. And I believe that talent exists everywhere and comes in all colors and packages.

“We often say that there is no diverse talent pool,” she laments. “Well, there’s no pipeline if you look in a very narrow set of places. One of the things companies can do differently is broaden their reach to identify exceptional talent that could be untapped.”


Originally a professor at Wharton, Harrison was named the 15th dean of the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, and only the second woman to lead the top business school.

As Dean, Harrison focused her priorities on three main initiatives: innovation, inclusion and sustainability. She played an influential role in navigating School B during the COVID-19 pandemic – just a year after her arrival as dean – and transitioned Haas to distance learning within 48 hours in March. 2020.

“We had been talking about virtual programming for years and realized we had the ability to implement it, if we put our will into it,” Harrison told P&Q. “For most faculty and staff, summer 2020 has meant reinventing courses and implementing technology improvements to prepare for fall. The challenges of COVID-19 have led us to invest in significant technology upgrades, new virtual classrooms, and teacher training for an enhanced remote experience.

To learn more about these leaders, click the Bluesky Thinking link below.

Sources: Bluesky Thinking, P&Q, P&Q, P&Q, P&Q

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