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Last Updated: Jun 16, 2020     Views: 22

Women at HBS

What is the history of business education for women at Harvard?

When were women first admitted to HBS?


Women first studied business at Harvard University in 1937 through the one-year Training Course in Personnel Administration at Radcliffe College, which was renamed as the Management Training Program after World War II. HBS began partnering with Radcliffe College in 1954, providing the educational component of the program, while Radcliffe remained responsible for administration and providing housing and classrooms. This joint venture was renamed the Harvard-Radcliffe Program in Business Administration (HRPBA) in 1955. Starting in 1959, HRPBA graduates could apply for admission to the second year of the MBA program, and three women joined the class of 1960. Women were also admitted to the doctoral program for the first time in 1959. In December 1962, the HBS faculty voted for women to be admitted directly to the first year of the MBA program. HRPBA officially ended in 1963.

In the autumn of 1963, eight women enrolled in the first year of the MBA program. Women MBA students began living on the HBS campus in 1969; prior to this, they lived at Radcliffe College or in private residences. HBS’s two executive education programs, the Advanced Management Program and the Program for Management Development, opened to women in 1962 and 1963, respectively. Women MBA students founded the Women’s Student Association in 1972.

You can learn more about history of business education for women at Harvard on the Building the Foundation exhibition website.

In addition, School publications contain information and articles about women at HBS. Many of these early publications can be searched online: the Deans Reports and the HBS Alumni BulletinHBS Alumni Bulletin 1925-1941, HBS Alumni Bulletin 1941-1950, and HBS Alumni Bulletin 1951-1979.

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