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Women With MBAs 'Opt Out' More

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Newly minted MBA recipients can likely expect a busy, financially rewarding career, albeit one filled with long hours at the office.

That is, unless you’re a women with an MBA from an elite university. In that case, there’s a good chance you’ll pull back on any aggressive career path, at least compared with women earning MBAs from “less selective” colleges and universities.

That’s the conclusion drawn from a Vanderbilt University study managed by economics professor Joni Hersch that says women earning MBAs from the nation’s best schools are more likely to stay home and raise children than other women in the workforce. Overall, 60% of female graduates from so-called elite schools work full time, compared with 68% from other colleges and universities.

“Even though elite graduates are more likely to earn advanced degrees, marry at later ages and have higher expected earnings, they are still opting out of full-time work at much higher rates than other graduates, especially if they have children,” Hersch says.

For most white-collar female workers, the child care question is paramount, she says. Among those elite business school graduates cited in the study, married females without kids are more likely to curb their work hours or even pull out of the workforce altogether.

“Married MBA mothers with a bachelor’s degree from the most selective schools are 30 percentage points less likely to be employed full-time than are graduates of less selective schools,” Hersch says.

The full-time employment rate for U.S. mothers with an MBA is 35%, but that jumps to 66% for those “less selective” colleges.

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