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2018 not only marks the 75th Anniversary of the Chicago Booth Executive MBA Program – the first of its kind in the world – but also the 100th Anniversary of suffrage for women in the United Kingdom (I write this from the Chicago Booth London campus).

The iconic British Suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst famously said, “You must make women count as much as men.” It’s fair to say that there is still much to do on that score. At Chicago Booth, we aim specifically to develop female (and male) leaders across a wide range of industries globally, and prepare them for the many challenges they will face as senior leaders.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, we want to share some personal thoughts from several of the remarkable women who have completed the Executive MBA Program. Read below for their insights on balancing family, work and school, navigating career changes and investing in themselves.

Cynthia Pongweni, Chief Financial Officer, Mineworkers Investment Company (Pty) Ltd. (Johannesburg, South Africa)

“When I started at Booth, my daughter was 10 months old. Being a new mom and starting an MBA program was difficult to say the least. The way I personally balance the home life and work responsibilities is that I stick to a strict timetable. I make sure that I set aside specific time for studying and set aside time to catch up with the family. My upbringing has taught me that anything worth having in this world needs to be worked hard for. So I acknowledge the fact that the Chicago Booth experience is intense, it requires a lot of hard work and it requires one to make many sacrifices in terms of work and family. But knowing the quality of the Booth experience, knowing that the qualification is going to make me a better leader, knowing that it’s going to set me apart from my counterparts, makes it all worth it.”

Hear more from Cynthia >>

Tracy Loh, Senior Manager - Global Alliance Management, Sandoz International (Munich, Germany)

“I was very fortunate to get a new role, and it wouldn’t have come about if not for Booth. Career Services resources are available for everyone. I managed to tap into that resource - whether it be getting help improving your CV or improving your LinkedIn profile. It could actually be in terms of how you approach certain interviews. When people meet you and you say you’re at Booth you get this positive reaction.”

Hear more from Tracy >>

Kathy Thurston, Managing Director – Group Head Institutional Real Estate, The PrivateBank (Chicago, USA) 

“My children love the fact that I’m going back to school. We compare notes on studying, cramming for tests, on stress. I chose Chicago Booth primarily because of the format. I needed an executive education that had a flexible schedule for me to balance my family, my work, life. I also needed a challenge. I didn’t want to check the box; no one’s making me get my MBA. This was for my thirst for knowledge.”

Hear more from Kathy >>

As an admissions officer, it's energizing to recruit the determined, hardworking and successful women of the Executive MBA Program. I also relish the opportunity to engage with these talented women, as they progress through their MBA journey. I am consistently impressed by their resolve and commitment – not only to the MBA program, but to their families and careers – and how they support one another to persevere in pursuit of their goals.

Christina Tzovaras

Assistant Director, Recruitment & Admissions, London

Christina works with prospective students from across the EMEA region. She also assists with events, marketing communications, and the application process.