Yesterday the admissions team had lunch with the ladies of EXP 21, our most recently admitted Executive MBA class here in London. It was a very enjoyable hour of good food and conversation with an interesting, diverse group of women.
Our main topic of conversation was the Executive MBA admissions process from a female perspective. Are the challenges and concerns of our female candidates the same as the challenges and concerns of our male candidates? For the most part, yes. A couple of interesting points arose from our discussion though. The group agreed that, as prospective candidates, they had found it enormously useful to speak with female students and alumni during the admissions process. It was helpful to have someone to speak to about the challenges and benefits of the programme; particularly women of a similar industry, country or background. Having a female mentor or 'buddy' within the Booth community gave our candidates the confidence to take the next step.
We also discussed how some of the women had found it difficult to negotiate company support for the Executive MBA. Some of the group assigned this difficulty partially to gender, noting a concern about 'social cost', risk aversion and an unwillingness to overstate past performance has been linked to female executives being paid less and promoted less. This issue has been well documented in academic research , including here at Chicago Booth. Again, the opportunity to speak with female students and alumni who had successfully 'been there, done that' was deemed to be very helpful in this case.
It was a really useful discussion and the group came up with several great ideas to help us develop our outreach. Hopefully you'll see some of these ideas 'come to life' on this blog and on our website over the coming months. In the meantime, if you're a female candidate who would like to connect with one of our fantastic female students or alums on an individual basis, please don't hesitate to get in touch.