By Abigail Lister
Gender diversity, shockingly enough, is still a hot topic among businesses, and an issue that is still affecting companies worldwide.
According to research from McKinsey, between 2015 and 2018, companies in America made almost no progress in improving female representation in the corporate world.
Now, business schools are realizing that they can do more to support women in business. At Hult International Business School, a dedicated Women in Business scholarship as well as a thriving Women in Business Society is doing just that.
We caught up with two Hult students—from the one-year MBA and the Master’s in International Business—to find out more.
Women at Hult
For Mary Senkowska, a graduate business degree wasn’t always on the horizon—instead, she had dreams of breaking conventions in other ways.
“When I was finishing up my bachelor's, I managed at the same time to qualify as a professional leadership coach,” she explains. “To my knowledge, I became the youngest Professional Certified Coach in the world!”
Afterwards, Mary spent some time running her own venture program, before hearing about the opportunities afforded by the Master’s in International Business at Hult from a friend on the program.
“It got me intrigued,” she admits. “I took a closer look at Hult’s approach to teaching, and adding the campus rotation possibility, I was sold.”
It was a similar story for Shirley Hsu, who got scholarship funding to study on the Global One-Year MBA at Hult thanks to the school’s Women in Business scholarship. This initiative aims to attract greater numbers of talented business women onto the program, and set them up for successful careers in the still male-dominated world of business.
Aside from her scholarship, Shirley saw the diversity on the MBA program as a huge draw.
“I chose Hult because of its ranking at the top in student diversity,” says Shirley, “and the school has been incredibly supportive of women in business.
“Especially for a higher-level leadership degree, I wanted personal growth,” she continues. “Working with colleagues from different nationalities and industries would provide that value.”
Mary concurs, and says the diversity of gender and nationality on the program is of massive importance to building a supportive environment.
“Having balanced cohorts not only makes the discussions more interesting, but teaches us how to navigate in our more and more diverse world.
“Having that safe space to voice your ideas during your MBA at Hult will, of course, positively affect your way of being and speaking in every next role you have.”
While studying at Hult, Mary chaired the Global Women in Business Society, a group which was set up to help female students at Hult build their confidence in business and provide opportunities for networking and mentorship.
She says that the support she received from faculty at Hult was instrumental in ensuring the society could fulfill its goals.
“We managed to organize a few events with a strong focus on exchange of experience and knowledge as well as honest conversations,” she explains.
“For all the events we could go to our dean or student services and get their support. We even sat with Dean Sam and Dean Clare once to brainstorm ideas for an International Women’s Day conference.”
While Hult is supporting women at the school, for Mary the goal should be to “create a world where the question of gender does not have any standing,” she says.
“In terms of opportunities for women at Hult—I think the question is irrelevant. There are opportunities at Hult, period.”
As proof of the value of her degree, Mary is currently deciding between five unique job offers.
“Come To Hult with the mindset of making the best out of your time here,” she asserts. “Be proactive—in the end, you are in control of what you will take away from this time.”
For Shirley, institutions like Hult “have an important role to play being at the forefront of the knowledge-sharing system,” and it’s initiatives like the Women in Business scholarship that have the ability to really produce change in the greater world of business.
“Having more diversity and gender equality in a business higher-education environment will lead to greater inclusivity for future talents,” she says.
“Half of my MBA cohort are female, and that also plays a big part in promoting gender balance in the business world.”