Today’s article was written by Renee Hopkins.
Stacey Rudnick is not often surprised by data. But she was both thrilled and surprised recently by data indicating that women from the Texas MBA Class of 2012 have closed the gender pay gap, earning larger salaries on average than the men from their class.
“I had to look at the numbers twice,” said Rudnick, who is Director of Career Management at McCombs. But subsequent viewing proved her right – the average post-graduate base pay for class of 2012 women is $106,073, compared to $104,631 for men from the same class.
“This is new. We have seen women’s salaries coming out of B-school get closer and closer to men’s since 2010,” said Rudnick, “but last year there was still a $2,500 wage gap in base salary for women. It is wonderful to see that gap closed.”
According to an October study by the American Association of University Women, a woman one year out of college earns 82 cents for every dollar made by a man one year out of college. The study, which received wide media coverage, notes that women might make different career choices if they knew just how costly their job preferences may turn out.
Business school offers women two significant benefits that are difficult to replicate otherwise, said Rudnick. One is the benefit of belonging to a peer group that can be tapped for future business partnerships, support and ideas.
The other is the chance business school offers women to compete and learn in a less risky environment than on-the-job. “In business school,” she said, “women can check out which careers might be the best fit while stretching outside their comfort zones academically and personally through case challenges, take leadership positions within the school, take rigorous courses, or try work in a new industry.”
Business school may also offer women more opportunities to advance than they can create for themselves by simply trying to move up the ladder at their current jobs, or change careers. According to Rudnick, business school offers women a “better chance to make the type of change in one’s career that can be difficult to accomplish quickly within your existing firm.”
One reason Texas MBA women may have closed the pay gap is that “we have such strong women leaders at McCombs,” explained Rudnick. For example, “while women comprise 28 percent of the class of 2013, they hold 38 percent of the leadership positions in elected or selective organizations within the school.”
It should be noted that business school holds the same opportunities and benefits for men as well as women. Both men and women in the class of 2012 received post-MBA salaries that were more than a 60 percent increase over their pre-MBA salaries.
However, the class of 2012 women increased their pre-MBA average salary of $60,792 by 74 percent, while the men earned a 63 percent increase over their average pre-MBA salary of $64,047.
“Business school may offer an unprecedented opportunity to level the playing field for women,” said Rudnick. “It’s a place where women can more easily be recognized and recruited by organizations based on their skill set and contributions as future leaders.”