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MBA Program Welcomes First Majority-Female Cohort

By Robyn Kontra

Director Beena Khurana (left) advises incoming MBA candidates Rachel Dobronyi (center) and Nikki Kong (right).

For the first time in the Cal Poly MBA program’s history, female students will make up a wide majority of the incoming cohort — 70 percent.

The program has long been male-dominated, according to Director Beena Khurana. Just a year ago, the program only included 33 percent women, which parallels national MBA averages. The shift, Khurana says, reflects the Orfalea College of Business’ priority to encourage and support women in business. Khurana highlights this initiative in the admission process.

Cal Poly’s program has evolved in recent years to include a greater focus on leadership in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. In addition, Cal Poly’s Engineering Management Program, which offers a master’s in engineering management in addition to an MBA, will welcome three women with backgrounds in bioengineering, geosystems engineering and hydrogeology, and software engineering. The program hadn’t had a female applicant since 2013.

“We have turned the tables,” says Khurana. “I believe in our ability to train more women in the language of business, and I am proud that Cal Poly is now playing a major role in doing so.”

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