The higher proportion of Asian women taking specialised business master’s degrees is because they have “better plans” for their education and are more interested in pursuing international careers, according to experts from the region.
Data from the Global Alliance in Management Education (CEMS) show that in their 2015-16 cohort, women represented more than two-thirds (67 per cent) of the overall CEMS Asian population, excluding Turkey and India. Chinese women accounted for 72 per cent of all Chinese students on the CEMS master’s in international management course.
“Female candidates have a better plan when they graduate [from undergraduate programmes], and they want to get things done ahead of time, before their peers, especially the male counterparts,” said Catherine Lo, assistant director of MSc programmes at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology’s (HKUST) business school.
She said that another reason might be that women later in their career “might need to manage their family as well” so it might be “hard for them to pick up study again and manage so many things at the same time".
“We can see that female students tend to start their master’s programmes earlier, so they’ll have a better foundation,” she added.
Sean O. Ferguson, associate dean (MBA and MSc programmes) and director of MBA programmes at HKUST business school, said that women on business courses “quickly assimilate, work well on teams and language is less of an issue”.
“They tend to be more interested in the international career – language for them is not as much of a concern,” he said. “In halls of residence they seem to be more willing to [mix with international students]; guys tend to live with or hang out with other Chinese guys.
“Women tend to be more open to assimilation or consider hanging out in different groups. That probably has an influence on why more female Chinese students are enrolling into business master's.”