Women at b-school

The March 2008 edition of the HBS Bulletin had a little piece about the first women MBA students.

“A ‘Daring Exper-iment’: Harvard and Busi-ness Education for Women, 1937–1970,” tells the story of how coeducation at HBS evolved from an eleven-month certificate program in “personnel administration” at Radcliffe College (1937–1945), to the Management Training Program (1946–1955), to the Harvard-Radcliffe Program in Business Administration (1956–1963) — the last step before complete integration took place with the admission of eight women into the MBA Class of 1965.

But what’s even more interesting is a letter to the editor that showed up in the current issue (June 2008) –

Your March article “A History of Women at HBS” omitted an important category — women in the early sixties who were not admitted to the firstyear at HBS. Instead, their only option was to attend a separate and unequal first-year class at the Harvard-Radcliffe Program in Business Administration, a nondegree program. The women were then allowed to apply for the second year at HBS, and fewer than ten were accepted. In the second-year program, they were given no housing or section designation, and a professor could deny entrance to his course.

When job interviews started on campus, women’s names were scratched from the interview list. Recruiters refused to interview them because it was a “waste of time.” I know, because this happened to me. I was part of this forgotten class.

Joan Oxman Rothberg

(HRPBA 1962, MBA ’63)

Summit, NJ

Wow – scratched off the interview list! Incredible how far we’ve come. And that’s an excellent thing.