What will it take to get more young women interested in pursuing an MBA? At a time when the dearth of women leaders in corporate America, government, and beyond dominates the national dialogue, it’s a pertinent question.
Women have outnumbered men on college campuses since the 1980s. They’re a majority in most masters degree programs and they comprise roughly half of all law and medical school students.
Nevertheless, business schools are starting to make progress. This year’s incoming class at MIT Sloan, for instance, has a greater percentage of women than ever before. Of the 402 students in the MBA class of 2017, 41% are female. Our peer schools have recently posted similar numbers.
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.
When considering where to go on an MBA Technology Trek, Seattle was a no-brainer.
It wasn’t just that the city is home to some of the world’s leading technology companies, but Seattle has successfully created a technology innovation ecosystem — one that spawned many of the past few year’s largest tech IPOs. It is the philosophy of not resting on one’s laurels that has created longevity in Seattle’s companies, and provided important lessons for MBA students. My goal on a recent MIT Sloan Technology Trek was to understand the strategies, cultures, and goals that have propelled Seattle companies’ long-term success.
I recently joined 25 of my MIT classmates on an MIT Sloan Technology Trek to Seattle.
Technology is a hot area at MIT Sloan — 26 percent of the graduating class last year went into high technology jobs — so technology treks are very popular.
They are an important tool for students to learn about company cultures. However, we’re not just looking at how many hours we’ll work or how comfortable the lifestyle is. We want to feel like we’re making an impact on others in real ways, and we want to know that our MBA education is truly adding value at the organization.
Treks are a unique opportunity to ask questions and learn from employees, who are frequently alumni.
In addition to learning more about the roles of MBA grads, I also wanted to see if I could deal with Seattle’s climate. Growing up in India and living in New England for the last nine years, I knew that the Northwest would be quite different.