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Male students dominate Mendoza College of Business

Kate Gales | Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Though nearly a third of Notre Dame’s undergraduate students are enrolled in the MendozCollege of Business, the gender gap in this college is second only to the College of Engineering.At the end of the fall semester, 64 percent of the 1,010 juniors and seniors with declared majors in the College of Business were men, according to the Office of Institutional Research. While students enrolled in Mendoza do not declare their specific major within the college until the end of their sophomore year, the trend continued with 63 percent of the 542 sophomores being men.”We accept anyone that wants to be a business major,” said William Nichols, associate dean of the college. “We don’t actively recruit anyone to come here.”Notably, sex discrepancies varied considerably among the five business majors: finance, accounting, management, management information studies and marketing.Finance majors and accounting majors, the largest and third-largest majors in the college, enroll 76 and 63 percent male students respectively. The gender gap seems larger for management and MIS majors, both of which have 78 percent male students. However, these numbers can be more misleading, as 108 students only declared management as of last fall. MIS is even smaller, with only 94 students enrolled.Marketing – the college’s second-most popular major – directly opposes the other four, with 57 percent of the 279 marketing majors being women. Nichols, who also teaches in the accounting department, said it is difficult to say why women are such a minority in all but one of Mendoza’s majors. “We’re looking at Notre Dame students here, they’re all really bright,” Nichols said. “You can’t just say ‘I assume that men are more quantitative than women’ – looking at students’ SAT scores, you can’t get into [Notre Dame] without being quantitative.”Especially within the college, students seem to choose majors according to personal interests and talents, not because of traditional sex roles. Matt Frey, a sophomore in the college, said that he did observe a slight discrepancy in the numbers of men and women in his declared major. “I am a [declared] accounting major, and I do notice a few more males than females,” he said. “I picked accounting because it’s the major that seemed to come naturally to me. I am very analytical and I like numbers.”Frey offered a possible reason for the male majority in most of the business college.”I think there are more men in business because business has always been portrayed as ‘a man’s world,'” he said. “The mold needs to be broken, but it’s hard to change a stereotype that has been around for years.”Angela Celis is one of those breaking the stereotype. The sophomore described herself as a “numbers person” and plans to major in accounting. However, she has had an important female role model in her life – her mother is also an accountant.First-year advisor Holly Martin, for one, is optimistic about the presence of women in the College. “The dean of the business college is a woman [Carolyn Woo],” she said. “That not only says that you can go into business, but that you can be a leader.”Martin said she has observed a high level of interest in the business college from both men and women in the First Year of Studies “Women go into business without batting an eye,” she said.