Story at a glance

  • For the first time in its history, Wharton School of Business has over 50 percent women students.
  • “We made a conscious effort to ensure female applicants felt wanted.”
  • LGBTQ+ representation also reached 7 percent and 35 percent of the incoming class is comprised of people of color.

The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business reached a major milestone today as its incoming class of MBA students is represented by more than 50 percent women for the first time in school history. 

Fifty-two percent of Wharton’s class of 2023 are women students. There are 897 students enrolled in the class in total.



Of this majority, 35 percent identify as students of color, and 7 percent are in the LGBTQ+ community.

“This landmark achievement demonstrates Wharton’s commitment to providing a diverse and representative community for our students,” Wharton Dean Erikah James said in a statement. “As a female leader, I understand firsthand the significant impact that experiencing meaningful gender representation can have on women as they chart their careers.”

The 52 percent of women MBA students is a 10 percent increase over the previous year. 

“As we do every year, we made a conscious effort to ensure female applicants felt wanted and welcomed at Wharton, and showed them the many resources and communities in our program where they can connect, collaborate and feel supported,” said Maryellen Reilly, Deputy Vice Dean of the Wharton MBA Program.

James noted, however, that more work needs to be done to ensure women have better representation within business leadership roles. 

“If industry truly desires its organizations—and the leadership within them—to reflect the world around us, we must improve the diversity of the pipeline of future business leaders. In short, this crucial work must start here,” she concluded.

Published on Jul 28, 2021