Winning for Women

USC Marshall Full-Time MBA program and Everyone’s Business initiative launch global case competition to address gender parity in B-schools and boardrooms

February 13, 2019

With the Class of 2020, the USC Marshall School of Business became the first top business school to welcome a class of more than 50 percent women—52 percent to be exact. Amidst the fanfare about this historic achievement, Everyone’s Business—the USC Marshall Graduate Women in Business student org initiative that helped administrators and students rally to reach gender parity—knows there is more work to be done.

“One school is not enough,” said Daniel McCartney MBA ’19, a co-founder of the Everyone’s Business initiative.

That's why USC Marshall will host the first Everyone’s Business Global Case Competition on March 1, 2019, bringing teams from 12 top business schools from around the globe to USC to work on a critical challenge affecting global businesses: the lack of gender equity.

The prizes are part of the solution. The winning schools earn scholarships for women enrolling in the MBA Class of 2021.

“This is a new concept for a case competition,” McCartney said. “It’s very much a pay-it-forward model, winning for women.”

The competition strives to distribute more than $20K in scholarships. Current sponsors include USC Marshall, AT&T, Capital Group and PwC.

A Global Rebranding

Since 2001, USC Marshall has hosted the Global Consulting Challenge, bringing together the brightest minds globally to address and propose solutions to challenging business problems for companies such as Google, Amazon, Disney and Toyota. This year, the Global Consulting Challenge is rebranding as the Everyone’s Business Global Case Competition in partnership with the Everyone’s Business initiative.

The topic has touched a nerve with MBAs.

“The surge in applications we received from teams of women and men were incredibly inspiring, and very difficult to sort through in terms of selecting the 12 top teams,” said Baylis Beard ’19, co-founder of Everyone’s Business. “It's clear this is a topic that touches the heart—and mind—of so many talented MBAs globally. We're even more confident that the new Everyone's Business Global Case Competition will produce incredible ideas that will aid women in business.”

The world’s top business schools participating in the competition, in addition to USC Marshall, are: Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, , UCLA Anderson School of Management, Yale School of Management, University of Washington Foster School of Business, University of Michigan Ross School of Business, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, McGill University Desautels Faculty of Management, ESADE Business School, University of Toronto Rotman School of Management, and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

All participants in the Everyone’s Business Global Case Competition have the option to arrive early, as the festivities will kick off the day before, Thursday, Feb. 28, with USC Marshall’s International Women’s Day (IWD) conference. The five-hour conference will include a keynote speaker, panelists and workshops on the topic of advancing women in business globally.

Path to Power

When McCartney and his MBA classmates, Beard, Jessica Schleder ’19 and Casey Brown ’19, arrived on campus in 2017, the Class of 2019 was only 32 percent women. From within the Graduate Women in Business student org, they launched an effort to explore the causes of the disparity and do something about it.

“Across the U.S., we are missing about 2,500 female MBAs per class. That quickly adds up to tens of thousands of women missing from upper management, perhaps in part because they don’t have MBAs,” McCartney said. “It’s imperative that we reach gender parity and equity in business schools if we want to change the C-suite in the years to come.”

And MBAs matter more for women. While only about 34.4 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs have MBAs, a whopping 70.4% of Fortune 500 female CEOs have MBAs. 

At USC, the co-founders of Everyone’s Business found that it wasn’t that women weren’t applying and getting accepted; they weren’t enrolling.

From there, they organized outreach programs for prospective female students. “We ran coffee chats in a number of cities over winter break, hosted lunches when candidates visited campus, and revitalized women’s weekend initiatives,” McCartney said.

Working in tandem with MBA admissions staff and faculty member-efforts, history was made last summer, when the final numbers for the incoming full-time MBA class of 2020 were in: 52 percent women.

For their efforts, McCartney and his co-founders were named among Poets & Quants’ “Favorite MBAs of 2018.”

“We want to keep the momentum going,” McCartney said. “We’re working hard to spread the message and raise energy about gender parity across business schools everywhere.”