January 4, 2004 - New York Times: Dominican Republic RPCV Krystal Williams earned a master's in business administration and become a manager for a division of John Deere

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Dominican Republic: Peace Corps Dominican Republic : The Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic: January 4, 2004 - New York Times: Dominican Republic RPCV Krystal Williams earned a master's in business administration and become a manager for a division of John Deere

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Dominican Republic RPCV Krystal Williams earned a master's in business administration and become a manager for a division of John Deere

Dominican Republic RPCV Krystal Williams earned a master's in business administration and become a manager for a division of John Deere

Business Schools Make a Pitch for Women

Published: January 4, 2004

RYSTAL WILLIAMS never considered herself a candidate for a business career. After graduating from college in 1996, she entered the Peace Corps, intending to become a math professor one day.

While she was in the corps, Ms. Williams had a change of heart. She learned that she loved to manage people. She has since earned a master's in business administration and become a manager for a division of John Deere, the farm and construction equipment maker. But for years before that career turn, she said, "I thought people in business were selfish and interested only in money."


Business school deans, corporate leaders and women's business groups have known for some time that many young women, like Ms. Williams, grow up with an aversion to careers in business. For the past decade, women have constituted nearly half the entrants to law school and medical school but only about 30 percent of those entering the top graduate business schools.

That enrollment gap has contributed to the fact that relatively few women are being groomed for top positions in the largest corporations, experts say. And that can affect hiring patterns throughout companies. "Getting women in leadership roles will force change," said Sally Jaeger, assistant dean of the M.B.A. program at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. "There is no reason for corporations to change if there are no women in those positions."

A consortium of 13 graduate business schools, 7 major corporations and several nonprofit groups is now to interest more young women in business school and business careers. This past fall, the consortium, the Forté Foundation, has held networking forums for college-age women in eight cities; the gatherings have included panels of executive women with M.B.A.'s.

The events also provide information on applying to business schools and opportunities to meet business school officials. Forté has been awarding scholarships to help cover the cost of an M.B.A. from a top school - about $100,000 plus wages lost while attending school full time.

Jeanne Wilt, executive director of the foundation, said the forums were intended to address two major findings of a study in 2000 by the University of Michigan and Catalyst, a nonprofit organization that aims to advance women in business.

According to the study, women "do not have enough accurate information about business," Ms. Wilt said. "They think business equals investment banking, which is not generally what they want to do," she added.

The study also showed that women believed that there were not enough female role models in the business world. According to Catalyst, women account for 48 percent of middle managers, but for only 12 percent of corporate officers and 3 percent of top earners in Fortune 1000 companies. "In many people's eyes, business still means long hours in a male-dominated environment," Ms. Jaeger said.

The study surveyed men and women who graduated with M.B.A. degrees from 12 top business schools. It found that women were far less likely than men to be encouraged by their employers to pursue an M.B.A., to be motivated by money, to have confidence in their math abilities and to view business as a career that can benefit others.

Even as the Forté Foundation tries to combat those perceptions, individual business schools are working on their own to attract more women. Their efforts include women's leadership conferences, mentoring programs that match alumnae with new students, and receptions for local women who are not necessarily on a business track.

The Tuck School is helping Dartmouth, which does not have an undergraduate business program, to set up a Women in Business club for its students.

COLUMBIA and Stanford have managed to enroll a somewhat greater proportion of women in their business schools than some other top universities.

In the past few years at Columbia, 34 percent of business school students are women, according to Amanda Carlson, an assistant director of admissions.

Ms. Carlson says Columbia has been aided in attracting women by its student groups and prominent female graduates, including Shelly Lazarus, the chairwoman and chief executive of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, and Sallie L. Krawcheck, chairwoman and chief executive of Smith Barney, part of Citigroup.

At Stanford, the percentage of female students has increased to between 35 and 41 percent in the last four years from about 30 percent a decade ago, according to Wendy Hansen, associate director of M.B.A. admissions. Women like the fact that Stanford's graduating classes are relatively small - about 370 students - and are drawn to its collaborative culture, Ms. Hansen said.


At the Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University in Los Angeles, the percentage of full-time women students has averaged 37 percent in the past four years. The school's dean, Linda Livingstone, says women seem to appreciate the school's emphasis on values and ethics in business. "Our program looks beyond how organizations contribute to the bottom line," she said.

Ms. Livingstone said business schools that want to attract more women should offer entrepreneurship programs, because growing numbers of women have been opening their own businesses. Hiring more women as faculty members and administrators would also help, she said. Ms. Livingstone is one of 65 female deans among the 452 members of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Although experts applaud efforts to reach out to college-age women, some say business concepts should be introduced at a much earlier age.

"It's a case of girls not knowing what they don't know," said Joline Godfrey, the chief executive of Independent Means, a company in Santa Barbara, Calif., that offers financial education to children through summer camps, workshops, books and games.

"If you give girls a little exposure to business, make it an activity that focuses on their quest for independence; they're hungry for it," she said. "The years between 5 and 18 are financial apprenticeship years. By the time women enter college, they are already on their own path."

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Story Source: New York Times

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Dominican Republic; Management; MBA



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