Cornell University: Johnson - Women's Management Council
A group of members in the Women's Management Council at Cornell University: Johnson
Rita Golub was employed by Northwestern Mutual Financial Network, and at BR consulting, before studying an MBA at Cornell University: Johnson. As president of the Women’s Management Council, Rita talks about the main aspects of her club, the issues that women face in business and Michelle Duguid.
What are your club's main aims this year?
Our vision is to have every Johnson woman to go back into the business world with a strong network of savvy professional businesswomen. I feel that this is extremely powerful, especially for those entering more male dominated industries.
We plan to accomplish this goal through social and professional engagements. Some examples are as follows:
a. Vineyard Tour.
b. Instill a tradition w/ bi-weekly socials, possibly in conjunction w/ the Cornell Law School women.
a. NYC annual trek – 2011 trek traveled to the offices of AMEX, Colgate-Palmolive, and Citi where women had the opportunity to learn from and interact with other accomplished female executives.
b. WMC Power Lunches with various female Executive speakers.
Why was the club initially founded?
Not entirely certain, but the club has been in existence for 20+ years.
What proportion of women at Johnson Graduate School of Management are in your club, (and do you have any men members)?
Approximately 75% of the female student body is part of WMC and we have a few male members.
Who is the most exciting speaker you've had this year?
Karen I. Matthews, Ph.D.: MS/PhD in Electrical Engineering (1998) and MBA from Cornell University (2007). Key accomplishments: worked commercially to come up with and drive the value proposition for Gorilla Glass. After 2 years in Corning’s Specialty Materials’ business, Dr. Matthews returned to the Science and Technology community so that she could do similar work across any business in the company. Her drive is to move concepts into commercialization, and she works daily to move early stage innovations into profit making businesses. Dr. Matthews has authored several publications and patents, and is a member of numerous technical and professional committees.
Dr. Matthews spoke to us about the importance of personal branding.
Where do you see yourself after you complete your MBA?
Post completing my MBA, I plan to pursue a career in strategy consulting with a focus on the financial services industry.
Do you think women have a leadership deficit compared to men, which on average disadvantages them in the business world? Or is it just that men are not inclined to follow women?
There are definitely too few women in leadership roles, even in an age when women seem to have far more opportunities. Some possible reasons to explain the discrepancy are as follows:
1. Historically, leadership has always been associated with masculine traits (I.e. Dominance, aggression, control, individualism). This construct has not changed much. That said, their male counterparts, women are constantly expected to balance masculinity and femininity. Too much or too little of either is subject to criticism and creates an additional challenge for women eager to climb the corporate ladder.
2. Women don’t ask. Simply put, men are far more comfortable “tooting their own horn”, while women tend to take a more “diplomatic” approach.
3. Lack of mentorship and coaching. Women are less likely to mentor other women because of the ongoing concern of competing for a smaller piece of the pie. Additionally, women with families are simply too busy to help other women and have to be a lot more strategic with how they allocate their time.
4. The notion that women cannot juggle family and work compels employers to pass on women during promotion season.
5. Michelle Duguid, an assistant professor of organizational behavior at Washington University in St Louis, recently published a paper on the behavior of women in high-profile corporate roles. It is often assumed that such high-fliers can act as mentors, bringing other women into similar positions. But Ms. Duguid has a theory of “value threat”: that certain women, high-achieving but isolated, see others of their sex as a threat to their own special status, and therefore may not want to promote their female peers.
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