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Women In Business School: Banks, Consulting Firms Target Female MBA Recruits

The biggest banks and management consultancy firms are ramping up women-only recruiting efforts at business schools, with scholarship funding and internship offers.

Wed Apr 22 2015

The biggest blue-chip banks and top management consultancy firms are targeting women in business schools as political and business pressure grows on companies to close the gender gap.

Lloyds Banking Group, the UK government-backed lender, will invest more than £700,000 in MBA scholarship funding for women over four years.

Lloyds said it has taken steps to help more talented women to gain executive experience through career progression and management education.

It will fund four scholarships of £30,000 each for women to study MBAs at London Business School this year. Part of the Lloyds Scholarships for Women program, the 2015 tranche follows the four scholarships provided by the bank to women to study MBAs last year.

Lloyds, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange, plans to fund the scholarships for a further two years.

Graham Lindsay, director for responsible business at Lloyds, said the group is committed to being a place in which women want to work: “We have a robust program in place to ensure that we are best placed to achieve this.” She added that Lloyds has a focus on women in leadership.

Research shows that there is an under-representation of women pursuing postgraduate management education, and that a core barrier to participation is financial resources, the bank said.

A lack of women at the top, and the persistent gender wage gap, mean some women may have not have the financial means to take time out of work to study, according to business schools. 

Gender diversity efforts may benefit from a top-down approach. Bernard Garrette, dean of the HEC Paris MBA, said: “If women with MBAs achieve the same seniority and compensation as men, we may see them [women] enter business programs in greater numbers.”

Financial services has been among the most heavily criticized industries. According to a 2013 census by Catalyst, the women’s advocacy group, women comprised 17.6% of executive officers of Fortune 500 firms in the finance and insurance sectors.

Adam Jackson, managing director at recruiter Astbury Marsden, said investment banks pride themselves on being fiercely meritocratic. “They will take candidates exclusively from top-performing universities and business schools, regardless of race, gender or background,” he said.

Banks, lacking in gender diversity, are targeting their recruiting efforts at top business schools in a bid to bring more women into financial services.

Morgan Stanley, the US’s sixth largest lender by assets, offers a graduate scholarship program that provides women and minorities funding to complete MBA degrees. Selected candidates are hired for Morgan Stanley’s 10-week summer associate program.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch offers to fund $40,000 of tuition and fees for the first year of MBA programs for women and ethnic minorities, part of its MBA Diversity Fellowship Program. Women who are hired by the bank have the opportunity to receive a further $40,000 in funding for the second year of two-year MBA programs, common in the US.   

Goldman Sachs, the US investment bank, hosts the MBA Women’s Summit – an event for first-year female MBA students to learn more about the financial services industry and summer internship opportunities at the firm.

Deutsche Bank, Germany’s largest lender, will provide up to £80,000 in scholarship money to female MBA applicants with an interest in a career in financial services, also at LBS.

Deutsche also provided scholarship funding for the MBA program at Karachi School for Business and Leadership in India – part of a strategic collaboration with the UK’s Cambridge University.

Recent research by Astbury Marsden found that in the City of London, investment banks and consultancy firms are the most convinced of all City staff of the benefits of workplace diversity – 59% and 57% of staff in those sectors respectively said they value diversity.

Adam said that banks’ quality of work across diverse international markets is likely to suffer if the culture is too monolithic. Having staff from a wide range of backgrounds with cultural sensitivity and language skills is likely to be a valuable asset, he said.

Deloitte, the professional services firm, runs the MBA Visionary Program and Scholarship – an initiative to attract diverse MBA talent to its consulting practice. Deloitte offers scholarship funding of $15,000 to women and ethnic minorities who land a spot on its associate program.

Boston Consulting Group, the management consultancy, offers a scholarship to female applicants to support their study. It is available to MBA students including at Melbourne Business School and the University of Western Australia.

Companies’ scholarships mirror efforts by business schools to reach gender parity. At INSEAD, more than €330,000 in scholarship funds has been allocated to women, with 46% of INSEAD’s total scholarship pot given to female students. Forté Foundation offers scholarships to a number of schools including Oxford, Rotman and IESE, and has provided $68 million to more than 3,000 candidates to date.

Wendy Alexander, London Business School associate dean, said: “Women’s leadership is – at last – coming of age.”

Student Reviews

HEC Paris




On Campus

Cultural experience

I have met the most competent and diverse batch in this school. These people not only thrive on their own but also makes sure that you are doing it with them. The professors will take your had and walk you through all milestones and make sure you are not left behind. I have found their extracurriculars extremely engaging. There was always a room to have social life after academic life. The only hindrance is the location of the school, it is slightly outside city and living in city is expensive.




On Campus

Internationality and diversity of opportunities

About my programme I would say it is very international and flexible: we have the opportunity to choose exactly the courses we want. But at the same time, the frame of the campus is crucial in students' life and enable us to create friendships.




On Campus

Great selection of people

While HEC's MBA is highly selective, I really enjoy the type of people HEC's selects to make sure everybody gets the best out of their MBA experience and networking opportunities. Not only it's an incredibly diverse pool of people (~60 nationalities) but most importantly they make sure to let in friendly empathic and curious people.





Best in France for Grande ecole

A prestigious business school. Languages ​​are important. It is better to have a scientific baccalaureate with excellent grades in high school and good assessments. The courses are well designed as per the latest trends and practicality of learning in stressed upon. Overall, a very good experience.




On Campus

Diversity and quality of fellow students

Very international and interesting place to be and opens a lot of opportunities, however the administration is very french and facilities are subpar (gym, classrooms) meaning the academic affairs is pretty much useless and lastly we are graded on a curve which can create a toxic environment because of the competition. With that being said the pros outweighs the cons by far.




On Campus

The quality of the teachers, the campus, the clubs

The school is very international indeed, we have courses with international students and share things with them within the extra academic life (in the social clubs especially). We have great career prospects if we prepare ourselves well - however, the global curriculum is still very finance-oriented, which is a pity for other interesting domains of the company world, which does not rely on finance only. The social clubs are good practice for the management and for now, are quite independent.




On Campus

HEC Paris awaits you

HEC Paris is really a nice place to do a master's in business. Many classes are useful and interesting (corporate finance, financial accounting, contract law…), some are less - but the curriculum is to be reviewed in the year to come. Regarding the student life, it is incredible, with about 130 clubs, lots of great parties with even greater people. The Jouy campus offers a lot of opportunities to do sports, and you can breathe fresh air every day. HEC also helps a great deal to find an internship or a job.





A dream institute

Enrolling in the HEC MBA was by far the best decision I made for myself. The people and faculty are great, with lots of opportunities to meet people and expand your horizons. Very nice campus where I have had some good running sessions. The alumni network is superb and very helpful. It also has a good support system for entrepreneurs. Would definitely recommend it!




On Campus

Good choice for a career boost

The classes were extremely practical and relevant to the current challenges that businesses are facing. You have access to a wide range of professionals and good career prospects once you leave the university.