The number of women applying to MBA programs globally is growing.
A report from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) found that, in 2017, women represented 42% of all graduate business school applications—this is compared to 37% in 2013.
At the same time, business schools are still working hard to increase the gender diversity in the MBA classroom.
At ESADE Business School, they have a host of scholarships that promote female business leaders—and it’s thanks to a scholarship that current MBA student Samantha Coury could pursue her studies at ESADE.
Samantha previously worked as an account executive for marketing agency Legacy in Chicago, and was rewarded a Leadership scholarship to study at ESADE because of her competitive managerial experience.
After joining ESADE, Samantha became a board member of the Women in Business Club, a society committed to further promoting opportunities for women on an MBA program already ranked the best for women in Europe by the Financial Times.
Samantha says, as a member of the club, she has witnessed the changes ESADE is making to support women in the business community.
“The Women in Business Club is the only campus-wide club ESADE Business School offers, and we have seen tremendous support from admissions and school leadership this year," she says.
“Concurrently, it's been incredible to experience the support of my male peers this year. The men in the MBA are just as avid in their support of women in business, and it has been rewarding to grow with them as future leaders.”
The ESADE MBA champions creative thinking—creactivism—and the school aims to foster a truly diverse cohort for the MBA among ethnicity and background as well as gender.
Aside from the Leadership Scholarship, ESADE offers a host of other scholarships that aim to attract outstanding applicants from the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Latin America—as well as prospective students who have a background in the sustainable energy sector.
ESADE also offers scholarships specific to women, such as the Women of the World Scholarship, or the new Forté Scholarship, offered in partnership with the Forté Foundation, a consortium of schools and companies committed to increasing access to education for women.
Samantha has been impressed by the changes ESADE has made to foster female applicants, and future business leaders, but there's still work to be done. A report by Credit Suisse in 2016 found that women represent only 24.4% of boardroom positions at some of the top companies in Europe.
Samantha says that the best way to drive change across the business sector is to keep talking about inequality—"to keep the conversation going; to drive awareness and understanding,” she says.
“This challenge is about equality—about promoting equal opportunities and giving equal voice to everyone. If the world of business is collaborative and competitive, then we need to start with an equal playing field.”
At ESADE Business School, initiatives like the Leadership Scholarship are certainly the beginning of a greater change that introduces more women to the business world.
After her MBA, Samantha aims to pursue a career in marketing or brand strategy, and she says the program at ESADE has given her the skills she needs to be a successful businesswoman.
“For now, I can confidently say that this MBA has changed me in ways unparalleled.
“I know more about myself as a leader, teammate, and woman. I have discovered how to be truly open-minded and prepared for anything my career can present. I cannot recommend the MBA enough.”