Soumyasree Vinod wants to see barriers between women and STEM roles addressed and has researched what women of color can do to help each other and the future generations. During her Online MBA with Data Analytics from Nottingham Business School at Nottingham Trent University (NTU), she focused her MBA research project on how women of color in STEM support each other in the face of bias.
Soumyasree chose to focus on women of color in STEM because of her background working in technology in California. During the MBA research project at NTU, students are tasked with building a theoretical understanding of research data that can be used in a meaningful way.
Now a manager in software engineering, Soumyasree says she learned during her MBA how understanding diversity data can lead to better inclusivity.
A flexible MBA for professional development
Soumyasree wanted to pursue an MBA that would help improve her leadership skills and accelerate her career as a software engineer and developer, having worked in the tech industry for almost 20 years.
“Finding a program that provided me the flexibility to balance my full-time job, home and kids felt impossible until I came across the Online MBA with Data Analytics at NTU,” she says.
The online program is accredited by EQUIS and AACSB, takes two and a half years to complete and is ranked in the QS top 50 2021. Also available as an 18-month fast-track option, the curriculum is designed to address the growing area of data science in business, providing professionals with core management skills and specialist knowledge of data analytics.
While flexible online MBA programs help support busy working professionals from diverse backgrounds to progress in their careers, the STEM field still suffers from a lack of diversity.
“Studies have shown that diversity within an organization is linked directly to the performance and profitability of that organization, and many companies are taking steps to reduce unequal representation and create an inclusive culture," she notes.
Data bias matters
Diversity data sheds light on the realities of institutional diversity and gives companies the nudge they need to create a more diverse workforce with greater social mobility and inclusivity. But data bias—a systematic lack of data collected on certain minority groups—throws up challenges.
Soumyasree addressed the issue of data bias during her MBA research project at NTU. Sourcing data on minority groups won't solve every problem faced by women of color in STEM, but it does offer a jumping-off point for companies to take targeted action, she says.
“It helps make society aware of underrepresented communities,” she explains. “Having data showing the diversity statistics within each organization helps them take a step in the right direction to be more inclusive and give people from all demographics a fair chance. Minority populations must be given opportunities to contribute to all areas irrespective of demographics.”
Nottingham Business School encourages students to join diverse student networks, with the Black and Minority Ethnic Student Network and Women’s Network opening up conversations across the university, and 78 countries are represented among the wider student community.
Data for change
The first step to gaining knowledge about what is wrong is the first step to fixing it, Soumyasree says, and the ability to work with large quantities of data is key to developing those insights.
Fortunately, more data is becoming available as the number of women in STEM increases. In 2018, the number of women graduating in core STEM subjects in the UK grew to around 25,000.
Students on the Online MBA with Data Analytics at NTU learn how to interpret big data and derive value from it; taking numbers and making them socially relevant.
Aside from building her data analytics skills, Soumyasree says she learned how to plan her time and balance her responsibilities during the Online MBA. Ultimately, the program supported Soumyasree to take the next step in her career.
“The MBA program enabled students to become better leaders who can lead organizations responsibly and ethically, and make them successful and innovative,” she says.