Maura Herson, Assistant Dean of the MBA Program at MIT Sloan
From Financial Times
The benefits of providing women with mentors are clear. A 2016 study by Frank Dobbin of Harvard University and Alexandra Kalev of Tel Aviv University found that when employers introduced such programmes, “managerial echelons [were] significantly more diverse”. And companies with diverse perspectives on their leadership teams have better results.
According to Iris Bohnet in her 2016 book What Works: Gender Equality by Design, mentorship for women leads to increases in salaries as well as promotions and higher career satisfaction. She also notes that such programmes are associated with an increase in diversity in management.
Through its clubs, its leadership centre and its alumni, MIT’s Sloan School of Management offers its female MBA students many opportunities to both have and be mentors. After graduation, they can use these relationships as models to seek out and structure additional mentor/mentee relationships.
What should women who are finishing MBAs and preparing to start work consider when seeking a mentor?
Many women continue to struggle with the decision to attend business school, fearing the cost, the commitment and the competitive environment.
As two of the youngest women entering the MIT Sloan School of Management MBA in 2012, we had the same concerns. However, we were pleasantly surprised, so we have taken it on ourselves to challenge the four myths we believe hold women back.
You will waste money
Business school is expensive but it can be a solid investment. Despite the steep and intimidating price tag, an MBA can lead to a lifetime earning potential of more than $3 million, according to one study that reveals it takes, on average, about four years to recoup the return on investment of an MBA.
Moreover, 95 per cent of both women and men graduates from 12 US business schools report being satisfied with their MBA education, according to a joint study released by Catalyst, the University of Michigan Business School and the Center for the Education of Women at the University of Michigan.
Family will suffer
Getting an MBA does not necessarily mean putting family second. “Success for either parent is success for the entire family,” a female mentor once told us. In fact, while pursuing our MBAs, we were pleasantly surprised to meet a number of mothers and fathers with young children who were actively involved parents while participating in and contributing to their business school communities.