A major business school in the US says a majority of incoming MBA candidates will be women.

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is marking a milestone - the highest percentage of women enrolled in its 140-year history.

It makes Wharton the first of the so-called “M7” MBA programs to admit more women than men. The other elite “M7” schools include Harvard Business School, Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, Columbia Business School, MIT Sloan School of Management, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

The number of women enrolled in MBA programs has been increasing for the last 15 years, with women making up less than 30 per cent of students enrolled in 2005, now up to 39 per cent, according to the Forte Foundation, which focuses on advancing women into leadership roles through access to business education.

Harvard Business School reported that its incoming class last year was 44 per cent women, and 47 per cent of Stanford’s Graduate School of Business incoming MBA class a year ago were women.

Women now make up the majority of law school and medical school students, according to the American Bar Association and Association of American Medical Colleges, and have also earned the majority of bachelor’s degrees in the US since the early 1980s, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.