Right Time, Wrong Answer

Simmons College is a private women's college in Massachusetts and until this year, the only institution with a brick-and-mortar MBA program designed exclusively for women. The program will now transition to on-line delivery and target both sexes in an attempt to increase enrollment. According to school Dean Cathy Minehan, Simmons' size made it unable to compete with other MBA programs who, in order to boost their own gender diversity, are now aggressively recruiting women.

Despite earning almost 60% of undergraduate degrees, women receive only 37% of MBAs and lag behind men by representing only 14.6% of executive officers, 8.1% of top earners, and 4.6% of Fortune 500 CEOs.

The decision to end the program caught graduates off guard and wondering why the school didn't try harder to harness the growing power of their alumnae who staunchly maintained the school's focus on gender dynamics had been instrumental in their success. University leaders responded that they couldn't have their alumnae solving their enrollment problems.

Well actually, they could. Had school leadership attended their own MBA classes they might have learned that turning just 12% more alumnae into brand advocates would have generated, on average, a 2x increase in revenue growth and boosted market share.

They also might have learned about the perils of abandoning a clearly differentiated position in a crowded market for a "me too" offering.


Here's Blue Tape's Quote of the Week:

"Don't try to make a product for everybody, because that is a product for nobody."

Seth Godin