Date: 10 March, 2012

More than 100,000 women took the GMAT test, the entry test for business school, in the testing year ending 30 June 2011, according to a report published Thursday by the Graduate Management Admission Council. This is the third year that more than 100,000 women have sat the test

Out of a total of 258,192 GMAT exams taken during the last testing year, 106,800 were completed by women and 151,392 by men. This reflects the lowest male-female ratio to date.

“We are very pleased to see the gap between men and women closing in terms of the number of GMAT exams taken in 2011,” says Jane Delbene, director of marketing, Europe, Middle East and Asia at GMAC.

Among ten global regions, including Europe and the US, the largest percentage of female citizens sitting the exam came from East and Southeast Asia, primarily China, accounting for 58 per cent. Central and South Asia, including India, had the smallest percentage of women test-takers with 25 per cent. In Eastern Europe, 53 per cent of test-takers were women, but in Western Europe the figure was just 34 per cent. In the US, 39 per cent of test-takers were women. In China, Taiwan, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam a majority of female examinees were women.

The average age of women taking the GMAT exam has decreased notably. Of all GMAT exams taken in 2011, 54 per cent were by women younger than 25 years of age.

This age difference is more pronounced for non-US citizens which attests to the increasing popularity of masters in management programmes in Europe. In the FT 2011 European business school ranking, women accounted for 49 per cent of students in 2011, compared to only 30 per cent of the most recent MBA cohort in the 2012 Global MBA ranking. Female representation on EMBA programmes meanwhile remains as low as 24 per cent.

“These findings demonstrate to us that master’s programmes are becoming an increasingly important consideration for younger women and we would expect this trend to continue to grow, “says Ms Delbene.

(Source: FT)