The percentage of women enrolling in Mays Business School’s Professional MBA Program continues to grow in a sustained effort to increase the number of women leaders in the business world. Over the first five years of the program, female students made up on average 22 percent of each cohort, with a high of 31 percent and a low of 14 percent. The enrollments of the two most recent cohorts (Classes of 2019 and 2020) average 40 percent women, exceeding the national average of 36.8 percent.

This increase is part of the Professional MBA Program’s effort to fulfill Mays Business School’s mission to advance the world’s prosperity. A Morgan Stanley analysis points out that having more gender diversity in businesses results in increased productivity and innovation, better products and decision-making, and higher employee retention and satisfaction. However, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, women – who make up almost half of the U.S. workforce – comprise only 27 percent of chief executives and 27 percent of computer and information systems managers. Furthermore, 24/7 Wall Street found that only 14 of the top 234 companies that own many of the world’s top brands had a female CEO; nine of these companies did not have a woman serving in an executive position or on the board.

Mays Professional MBA is doing its part to change that. “We have taken steps at actively recruiting top female talent, from holding women leadership conferences to reaching out to various groups,” said Arvind Mahajan, Mays associate dean for graduate programs. “We have a dedicated and talented staff member in Houston (Nyetta Meaux) whose expertise is in attracting and engaging potential women students by sharing with them our commitment, the nature of our program, and how it will imbue them with hard and soft skills needed to be an effective leader. And since our program’s focus is in developing transformational leaders, we certainly hope that many of our women students will find their way into the C-Suite.”

A cohort that reflects the workforce

Mays Professional MBA faculty and staff have been very intentional in their efforts to increase the number of women in the program. “We set a goal five years ago that we wanted our enrollment to more accurately represent the population and the workforce,” said Mike Alexander, the Professional MBA Program director. “Ideally, our cohorts will represent the population, so 50 percent of our cohorts will be women.”

The Professional MBA program, which is based in Houston’s CityCentre, is quickly becoming the program of choice for women in the nation’s fourth-largest city. “Our market in Houston is very saturated with MBA programs, and these women are applying to all of these programs,” said Nyetta Meaux, Mays MBA assistant admissions director. “It is all about the relationships that we build with these women as they go through the admissions process and helping them actually see what this MBA is going to do for them immediately as well as when they graduate from the program.”

The Professional MBA Program is designed to encourage all students to identify their individual strengths, stretch professionally and personally, and develop their leadership capacity. For example, the Professional MBA program offers a Women’s Leadership Initiative, which provides an opportunity for female students to network and learn together about leadership. In addition, the initiative provides funds that these students can use to support their professional development.

Swayed by the Aggie values

Ultimately, the program is built around the Aggie Core Values and a deep commitment to helping students succeed. “The culture, the environment from the moment that I stepped off the elevator (at the first recruitment event) was just amazing. It was so inviting. It felt like a family and not just a cohort,” said Sheri Crump ’20. “From Day 1 to every event that I attended after, it was the same. Everyone was very encouraging and inviting. I really had the feeling there was a genuine desire for my betterment throughout the entire network.”

Sarah Hutson ’20 initially was leaning toward attending another Houston-area MBA program, but decided to check out the Professional MBA Program at Mays. She was impressed that Mays had invested in the CityCentre building, and found that the faculty and staff she met were passionate about the program. However, her decision was sealed when her family home was flooded during Hurricane Harvey and her Aggie neighbors came to their rescue. “Every Aggie that I’ve ever met lives up to that value of selfless service,” she said. “If I just look at these different schools, I think you’ll get a similar basic education at any of them, but who do I want to emulate? It was the people that I met checking out Texas A&M. That really colored my choice.”