Dr. Karen Jones (Associate Professor of Educational Leadership & Management, University of Reading) has published a research paper (co-authored with Dr. Elizabeth Houldsworth, Dr. Richard McBain, and Professor Chris Brewster from Henley Business School). The paper, titled ‘Career capital and the MBA: how gender capital supports career capital development’, is published in the Studies in Higher Education journal.

The paper is based findings from a survey with 129 female and 482 male MBA alumni. The paper examines three dimensions of career capital the MBAs accrued through the program and compares the results for males and females. Findings reveal women reported increases in all three dimensions of career capital, and statistically significant gains were reported in one dimension of career capital that relates to a person’s sense of purpose, motivational energy, confidence, self-efficacy, and identity. The article discusses the implications of this for female MBAs, MBA programmes and the wider Higher Education sector.


The paper contributes to career capital theory by considering how gender capital, drawn from feminist Bourdieusian scholarship, interacts with theories of social capital. The paper suggests that the MBA might serve as an important step towards gender equality by supporting women in the development of careers in business and management. Lessons can be learnt from the pedagogy of the MBA for other programmes.

The full press release on the publication of this research article can be found here.

For more information on Dr. Jones’ research, visit her staff profile page here. You can also follow her on Twitter here.



Houldsworth, E., Jones, K., McBain, R., & Brewster, C. (2022). Career capital and the MBA: how gender capital supports career capital development. Studies in Higher Education. DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2022.2134333