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5 Tips For Success For Women in Business

Women in business are starkly underrepresented, but times are changing. Find out how to succeed as a woman in business with tips from MBAs


Mon Mar 8 2021

Women sitting in senior positions in business today have overcome multiple adversities to reach the top ranks. Exercising resilience and determination, female business leaders are well equipped to combat the challenges posed by the business world.

So, how can women in business get ahead?

We caught up with two alumnae from the full-time MBA at HHL Leipzig’s Graduate School of Management to find out their tips for thriving in business. Both credit their experiences gained at HHL as vital to their success.

1. Remove yourself from your comfort zone 

If you wish to succeed in business, you’ll need to become acclimatized to challenging situations.

HHL MBA alumna Sravya Maturu, now a senior consultant at E.ON In-house Consulting in Germany, used to avoid conflict; however, armed with the leadership skills she acquired through her MBA, she now appreciates the value of disagreements within teams. “I have grown to realize that conflict is productive because it means there are different opinions in the room,” she says.

In the HHL MBA’s leadership and self-reflection modules, you’ll learn about negotiating in intercultural settings, preparing you for working in a multinational corporation post-MBA. As a result, you’ll enter your career equipped with the intellectual know-how to tackle novel challenges outside your comfort zone.

2. Embrace networking

When women empower one another, this can be a powerful tool for success within business. 

The Women@HHL initiative provides coaching, networking events, and talks for HHL students and alumnae. The initiative also matches students with female mentors across business, media, and politics, ensuring women learn the knowledge and skills to reach their full potential. 

“Many women struggle to relate to a male leader’s career path, so women need to be present in the networking process to support one another and provide a sounding board for one another’s ideas,” notes HHL MBA alumna Binh Vu (pictured below), now a venture capital analyst at Brandenburg Kapital in Germany.

And you never know where networking might take you. Binh reaped the benefits of networking, receiving references for her job applications from women and forming close connections with female role models who helped her achieve her career goals.


3. Don’t be afraid to speak up 

An essential tip for business leaders is to use your voice. This is even more crucial for women working in male-dominated industries like consulting and venture capital.

“Females are always trying to make sure they’re 100% correct before speaking, but it’s up to us to make ourselves heard and speak confidently,” advises Sravya.

Sravya enhanced her confidence in her MBA through case study exercises. “The case studies were a real-world simulation of the business environment because I worked with new colleagues on different projects, allowing me to step up and enhance my leadership and teamwork skills,” notes Sravya. 

HHL MBA students have the chance to participate in case study workshops with HHL recruiters like Accenture, Amazon, and Deloitte. As a result, students strengthen their leadership and teamwork skills while networking with renowned organizations.

Sravya has implemented her new-found communication skills in her professional role. She’s also learned the importance of speaking up and asking for what she wants—for example, training in a specific area—as well as taking credit for her achievements. 

4. Recognize your worth as a woman in business

A crucial piece of advice for women in business is knowing your worth and recognizing what you bring to the work environment.

On the HHL MBA, during modules like organizational behavior, strategic management, and human resources management, you’ll learn the benefits of gender diversity in group dynamics and how multiple perspectives generate stimulating discussions.

These modules prepared Binh for working in venture capital, a traditionally male-dominated industry. She’s learned how diversity in the workforce breeds creativity, which helps with problem-solving.

Gender diversity is also integral to serving a diverse customer base: venture capital is exemplary of this. Women make up only 12% of venture capitalists in the US—a troubling statistic since female investors are more likely to fund other women’s startups. In December 2020, there was a 27% decrease in venture funding to female-founded startups globally, compared to the same time in 2019. 

“If we want to build truly disruptive business, then we need more women and diverse people making venture capital decisions,” reflects Binh.

As a result, female business leaders must embrace their value in organizations. “Women should be proud to stand out and bring a different perspective to the table instead of trying to blend in,” says Sravya. 


5. Choose an MBA which supports women in business

For Sravya, attending a business school that champions gender equality factored high on her agenda. HHL’s Women in Business Scholarship, which Sravya received, highlights HHL’s commitment to gender diversity by levelling the playing field between men and women.

While Binh chose HHL due to the impressive gender parity and diversity of nationalities in the MBA. International students typically make up 90% of the HHL MBA, and there are 61% of women in 2021's MBA class.

You’re in the best place to develop your strengths as a woman in business if you’re surrounded by a group of like-minded people, with similar goals, in an inclusive MBA program designed with you in mind.

Student Reviews

HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management




Part time MSc Management

I decided on attending this program since it is 100% in English, the option for a Semester abroad, and it has a nicely designed curriculum. I enjoyed very much the studies at the Leipzig location (I do not live in Leipzig and was staying in Airbnb flats with other students during the course weekends). There was great enthusiasm within the students' group, the courses were challenging and we had experienced/diverse professors which added to the overall experience. HHL is focused on teamwork and is big on its network and career development which is a definite value add for students. I can recommend HHL to other students who want to sharpen their skill set to be prepared for leadership positions.




Impressive Journey

I’m doing my Master Part-time at HHL and love the Journey. The teaching is between good and outstanding. The service around the lectures is amazing. Never had to wait longer than a day for a response. The Network I was able to build and the lecture about entrepreneurship are the major takeaways which strongly influenced my future. I can strongly recommend the Master in Part-time at the HHL for a course with impact. But be prepared they will broaden your horizon and you will have to grow with it.





Horrible Experience

I am also a recent student at HHL. I would agree with your post wholeheartedly. HHL is brilliant at marketing, however, it's more like a Ponzi scheme. A lot of Indians happen to fall into this trap, including me. I joined HHL while letting ESMT go primarily because I thought Leipzig is a cheaper city to live in and the course is cheaper. Always remember if a deal looks too good it is probably a scam. The studies are extremely below average, the college has an abysmal career centre and the campus is a joke. Now let me give you some deeper insights : 1. Given that the college is located in EAST Germany- you need to understand that RACISM is a truth. The college runs MBA and MSc. (Management). MBA is a mere point of luring students as unaware students come to HHL with dreams and hopes of doing an MBA and getting placed. To break it to you softly: MSc is the FLAGSHIP program for HHL- this means 99% of the class is German, and they got offers from the likes of Mckinsey, Bain and Deutsche come to the Germans. Even the foreigners doing MSc. do not get a whiff of the opportunity- please understand- Germany is a "German" speaking country and not internationalised enough to include "English" as the business language. Nonetheless, HHL is such a weak school that it cannot do **** about anything- their placement cell always keeps on crying but they are of absolutely ZERO help. You will not get any scholarships like the Germans do here thanks to the Dean who promotes this divide between Germans and others by giving scholarships thatd more or less cover the entire tuition fees of the German students. 2. The Academic Director for MBA is definitely someone people look at and think that good there's an Indian there- he has absolutely zero value in HHL and in the research world anyways. He is only out there to lure you in to get a fatter commission-the more Indians he gets in the higher his commission and his job is SAFE. 3. The faculty is so horribly poor in their own research work and competence that you'd feel why did I come here. The only reason why some people come here: VISA and citizenship in a few years. You may also procure a job but with the HHL tag being so weak the salaries are way below AVERAGE. Free advice: So either way if you're planning to come to Germany either perfect your German or choose a different country because colleges like HHL get students from all over the world- after which they do not really give a damn whether you get placed or not- it's ALL BUSINESS TO HHL. I cannot speak about many other colleges, but, due to the sheer presence of colleges like Frankfurt business school, WHU and ESMT in bigger cities such as Frankfurt, Berlin and Dusseldorf provide better chances to network during the duration of the course. Do NOT come to HHL and waste your money. Your entire education and stay would cost 50 lacs, instead invest in BITCOIN or STOCKS. OR just do your Masters in Management from a public University in Germany which is way cheaper, has higher chances of scholarship and better placement opportunities. Hope this helps Thanks.