Harvard Business School: An Incubator for Female Entrepreneurs?

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By Jess Bloomgarden (Founder & CEO, AfterSteps)

Gilt Group. BirchBox. LearnVest. Rent the Runway. Care.com. Angie’s List. Fashionstake. Baublebar.

These are just a few of the high-profile, high-growth startups that have been started by Harvard Business School women.

Despite the widespread belief in today’s tech monoculture that MBAs do not make good entrepreneurs, I’ve heard several investors say “I wouldn’t bet against any HBS women founders,” based on the success of those listed above.

This made me wonder: Are HBS women overrepresented in high-growth entrepreneurship? And if so, why?

Looking at my entrepreneurship-related classes, I calculated that women represent 39% of my Founders’ Dilemmas section, 49% of my Online Economy section, and 44% of the Rock/Lebor fellowship program. With women representing only 36% of our total EC class, that equates to a 9%, 36%, and 23% overrepresentation in these respective groups.

As comparison, according to the Venture Capital Human Capital Report, women overall represent 8% of founders of VC-backed companies. Within Y Combinator, only 3% of all their founders have been women.

I do not believe that HBS is changing incoming women into entrepreneurs, but rather, most women who are considering a career in high-growth entrepreneurship opt to pursue that path through HBS rather than the alternatives that their male counterparts prefer — doing it on their own or through a tech incubator.

» Read the full article at HBS Campus Groups.