Posts by Kelly Vo

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Dec 1, 2017 by

Top MBA Programs Gain Ground for Gender Parity

MBA Gender Parity

The Forté Foundation today released its annual women’s enrollment report for full-time MBA programs at its member schools, which include many of the top business schools in the United States and abroad. This fall, women’s MBA enrollment climbed to a global average of 37.4 percent, up 4 percent over 2013 figures, when the global average was 33.4 percent women.

In fact, the last five years of enrollment data at Forté member schools reveal steady gains in the percentage of women. For U.S. schools, women’s enrollment reached 37.8 percent this fall, up from 37.1 percent in 2016, and 34 percent in 2013. And for schools outside the United States, the gains have been even greater. In fall 2017, non-U.S. Forté member schools enrolled 36 percent women, up more than 3 percent year over year (from 32.8 percent in 2016) and almost five percent since fall 2013 (from 31.1 percent).

“I’m always heartened anytime I see a 1 percent trend overall,” Forté Executive Director Elissa Sangster told Clear Admit. “Year by year, it’s pretty significant for this group of schools to steadily have that same number increase—because it’s a lot of work to get more women into the pipeline and to matriculate those women,” she continued. “But this year, in particular, seeing those other schools outside the U.S. go up 3.4 percent in one year was very surprising.”

Two Schools Reach 45 Percent Women, Highest on Record

In fact, there were many signs beyond these overall statistics that show continuing progress toward gender parity among MBA programs. For one, 17 Forté member schools this fall enrolled 40 percent or more women—as compared to just two schools that reached this milestone in 2013. A total of 26 schools enrolled more than 35 percent women, more than twice as many as in 2013 (12 schools). Best yet, for the first time ever, two schools reached 45 percent or more women enrolled—the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and George Washington University School of Business. And three more schools—two in the United States and one in the United Kingdom—were close behind at 44 percent.

“The 1 percent [overall year-over-year gain] may seem small, but we’re seeing 17 out of 50 schools hit over the 40 percent mark, and that’s huge,” said Sangster. “To start seeing schools trend that direction makes a big impact because it’s a hard thing to obtain for any school at this point.”

Not only that, the progress demonstrates that gender parity is attainable, Sangster stressed.

“Although women’s enrollment in business school is a slow and steady growth story, at this rate we could reach an average of 40 percent women’s enrollment in top business schools in less than five years and 50 percent by 2030,” she said in a Forté press release. “Why is this significant? There is evidence that an MBA can provide both career advancement and significant pay gains for women, giving them greater economic mobility. And efforts to support women to pursue an MBA can contribute to a more diverse leadership pipeline at companies.”

The Forté Foundation is a non-profit consortium of top business schools, corporations, and the Graduate Management Admission Council, and its efforts to move the needle toward gender parity in the MBA and business more generally are widespread. Launched in 2001 after the results of a landmark research study, Women and the MBA: Gateway to Opportunity, Forté now has 51 member schools: 39 in the United States, four in Canada, and eight in Europe. It also has numerous initiatives to help close the gender gap.

“Our college efforts are very robust and have been growing over the last five years. We are connecting with women about their career options and bringing the MBA into the conversation early,” explained Sangster. “It’s important for women in their university years to really understand what type of opportunities they have, to have access to role models, and to know the landscape of what’s to come. I think Forté can be a real guide in that. We know that having those conversations with young women is critical.”

A few of Forté’s initiatives include

  • The annual Forté MBA Women’s Leadership Conference, which brings together hundreds of women MBA students and top companies each year to help attendees explore career paths, meet recruiters and mentors, and hear from influential businesswomen;
  • The Forté College to Business Leadership Conference, a similar event designed to introduce undergraduate women to career opportunities and summer internships at top companies;
  • The “Rising Star” pilot initiative, launched in September 2015, which helps undergraduate women become well-informed about their many career options, and
  • MBALaunch, a hands-on, 10-month program that provides guidance, resources, and ongoing feedback about the business school application process through monthly webinars, peer group meetings, and feedback from experienced advisors.

“MBALaunch allows us to give women unprecedented access to business schools, alumnae, admissions representatives, and admissions experts—and also to give them a cohort of like-minded women who can support them and encourage them through the business school application process,” Sangster said. In the past, many women went through the application process alone, she continued. “MBALaunch allows us to present the best version of those women candidates to business schools. That’s what makes a critical difference in terms of admission into your stretch business school.”

The Forté Foundation also awards a variety of scholarships through its Forté Fellows program. The program has exploded from just 33 inaugural scholarships awarded in 2003 to 1,300 scholarships awarded to the incoming Class of 2017 and another 1,100 scholarships awarded to second-year students in the Class of 2016. Overall, since 2003, Forté schools have awarded a staggering $142 million in scholarships to Forté Fellows.

It Takes an Entire Community Effort

To augment Forté’s initiatives, top business schools can continue to make progress on their own by keeping a steady eye on gender parity and getting the entire school involved in the process, said Sangster.

“The schools that are doing a great job at consistently keeping their numbers high have an entire community effort focused on the goal of gender parity,” Sangster said. “It’s not just the admissions team reviewing applications and making decisions. It’s the students enrolled in the school being actively involved in recruiting and matriculating those students. It’s the alums making phone calls and participating in local coffees or teas to talk about their own story and to reduce concerns about the investment that women will be making.”

“It’s not just one small group of people; it’s a team effort, a community effort,” she continued. “The schools that are maintaining their numbers and seeing a steady climb have a full-court press.”

So which schools are leading the way? The following 17 Forté member business schools have 40 percent or higher women’s enrollment:

  • Alliance Manchester Business School
  • Columbia Business School
  • Dartmouth College (Tuck School of Business)
  • George Washington University School of Business
  • Harvard Business School
  • Imperial College Business School
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan School of Management)
  • Northwestern University (Kellogg School of Management)
  • University of California Berkeley (Haas School of Business)
  • The University of Chicago (Booth School of Business)
  • University of Michigan (Ross School of Business)
  • University of Oxford (Saïd Business School)
  • University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
  • The University of Texas at Austin (McCombs School of Business)
  • University of Toronto (Rotman School of Management)
  • Yale School of Management
  • York University (Schulich School of Business

And the following nine schools have 35 percent or greater women’s enrollment:

  • Arizona State University (W. P. Carey School of Business)
  • HEC-Paris
  • London Business School
  • New York University (Stern School of Business)
  • University of California – Los Angeles (Anderson School of Management)
  • University of Cambridge (Judge Business School)
  • University of Illinois Urbana–Champaign (Gies College of Business)
  • University of Virginia (Darden School of Business)
  • Washington University in St. Louis (Olin Business School)

To access the full Forté report, click here.

This article has been edited and republished with permissions from Clear Admit.

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Nov 29, 2017 by

Inside the University of Toronto’s Creative Destruction Lab

Toronto Creative Destruction Lab

The Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) at the University of Toronto Rotman School of Business is a seed-stage program created exclusively for scalable science-based companies. Launched in 2012, this program employs objectives-based mentoring to help maximize equity value creation for its ventures. The lab is best suited for early-stage companies, particularly those with links to university research labs.

The Creative Destruction Lab Program

The CDL is a nine-month program that employs a coaching process to help business founders commercialize their advances in science and technology. There are four main elements of the program:

  • Mentorship: The founders work alongside select entrepreneurs and angel investors in intensive full-day sessions to assess their business progress and to set short-term objectives.
  • Investment Opportunities: Founders have the chance to raise capital in meetings with entrepreneurs, angel investors, and partners from leading venture capital firms.
  • Technical Feedback: The founders receive advice on their technical road maps and objectives from world-renowned experts at leading academic institutions.
  • Business Development Support: Finally, the founders are able to work with MBA students to develop their financial models, evaluate potential markets, and fine-tune their strategies for scaling.

“The breadth and depth of insight that we were given access to was phenomenal,” said participant Karl Martin, founder of Nymi, a wearable technology firm in the healthcare space.

CDL Locations

Unlike many seed-stage programs, CDL has centers in five locations across Canada. Each location focuses on a specific stream of ventures and offers specific resources.

  • Calgary: Working with the Haskayne School of Business, the Calgary location focuses on a few key research pillars including energy innovations, human dynamics, engineering solutions for health, new earth-space technologies, and other areas.
  • Halifax: The Halifax location leverages the Rowe School of Business at Dalhousie University and fosters “blue-green” technology—focused on agri-tech, bioproducts, and environmental technology—and “prime” technology, including startups tackling problems in healthcare, finance, energy, chemical, media, transportation, and agriculture.
  • Montreal: In partnership with HEC Montréal, the Montreal location focuses on startups using artificial intelligence and data analysis technologies.
  • Toronto: The main location in Toronto, run alongside the Rotman School of Management, focuses on three types of startups. The first is “Prime” startups tackling problems in healthcare, finance, energy, chemical, media, transportation, and agriculture. Meanwhile, Quantum Machine Learning startups are grounded in physics, math, statistics, machine learning, electrical engineering, and/or quantum computing. Finally, massively scalable Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning startups focus exclusively on artificial intelligence and machine learning.
  • VancouverLocated in Vancouver, this location operates in partnership with the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia. It focuses on startups in the “Prime” stream as well as those in BioMedTech, including chemical, biological, and medical ventures.

Partnership with NYU Stern to Expand CDL to New York

And, beginning on September 1, 2018, the Creative Destructive Lab will partner with the NYU Stern School of Business to establish its first lab outside of Canada. The newest location will bring Stern faculty and MBA students alongside angel investors, serial entrepreneurs, and founders of pre-seed stage startups in science and technology. CDL New York will begin accepting applications in January 2018 and expects to admit around 25 ventures the first year.

“Our model for developing massively scalable science-based ventures has proved successful in Canada. And we anticipate it will be similarly successful for our partners at NYU,” said Ajay Agrawal, a Rotman entrepreneurship professor and the founder and academic director of the lab, in a recent news release about the expansion.

New Program Executive Director

In other news, Rotman chose Sonia Sennik to be the inaugural executive director of the Creative Destruction Lab and its national network of programs. Sennik will be responsible for the lab’s oversight and coordination as well as its strategic operational and programmatic leadership.

As a recent graduate of Rotman’s Executive MBA program, Sennik is uniquely positioned for her new role. She was the inaugural recipient of the Rotman Social Impact Award and excelled in leadership during her time in the program. She’s also held senior project and engineering management roles at HATCH, a global engineering consultancy.

Of Sennik’s appointment, Agrawal said in a news release: “The Creative Destruction Lab is expanding rapidly, both geographically and programmatically. Sonia will provide leadership, vision, and energy to help ensure the success of the Lab and its ventures in the coming years.”

Graduates of CDL

Over the years, the Creative Destructive Lab has had many graduates, including:

  • Thalmic Labs (Waterloo): Thalmic Labs develops revolutionary wearable technologies that explore the future of human-computer interaction.
  • Atomwise (San Francisco): Atomwise is a Deep Learning technology designed for novel small molecule discovery to help develop better medicines faster.
  • Deep Genomics (Toronto): Deep Genomics creates life-saving genetic therapies including a biologically accurate data- and AI-driven platform that supports geneticists, molecular biologists, and chemists.
  • Kyndi (Palo Alto): Kyndi incorporates advanced artificial intelligence and symbolic natural language understanding to help knowledge workers process and consume vast amounts of information in order to better make critical decisions.
  • Heuritech (Paris): Heuritech bridges the gap between social media and commerce with cutting-edge deep learning technology that detects emerging product buzzes online.

To learn more about the Creative Destructive Lab, including information about applying, visit the main CDL website.

This article has been edited and republished with permissions from Clear Admit.

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Nov 16, 2017 by

Amazon Talks About Its Success and Recruiting at London Business School

Amazon london business school

It’s not that surprising to hear about Seattle-based Amazon recruiting from top U.S. MBA programs such as the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, where it was the number-one recruiter in 2016, hiring 31 of the school’s MBA grads. What might be more surprising is the fact that Amazon is also a big recruiter at London Business School (LBS), where it snapped up 13 Class of 2016 MBA graduates, right behind BCG, McKinsey, and Bain. When speaking to students and alumni at an LBS event, Doug Gurr, Amazon’s U.K. country manager, said, “The U.K. is an amazing location to recruit great talent, and LBS is somewhere we find the talent we need.”

Currently, the United Kingdom is a prime location for Amazon, with more than 24,000 employees and 373,000 U.K. businesses as part of its marketplace, web, and publications services. This makes recruiting in the United Kingdom easily fit into Amazon’s founding principles, which include customer obsession, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. As Gurr admitted, “The biggest constraint on our growth is finding the right leaders to join us,” and LBS is known for producing quality MBA graduates and business leaders.

However, hiring in the United Kingdom isn’t the only key to Amazon’s success. Gurr explained that the company is also focused on unmet customer needs. For example, that’s how the Kindle came about. “The Kindle didn’t exist so we built it,” said Gurr. “We’d never built anything before, but we had passion and conviction about the quality of the idea. That was the genesis of our move into manufacturing hardware devices.”

Other inventions from Amazon include Alexa, its cloud-based voice service, as well as flying autonomous drones, and hundreds of other small improvements. To Gurr, it’s all these small things that make Amazon faster, simpler, and better than its competitors.

The thing to note according to Julian Birkinshaw, a professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at LBS, is that this slow growth can also mean slow profits. “In 2016, you generated US$136 billion (£102 billion) in revenues and a net income of US$2.4 billion (£1.8 billion), which is less than 2 percent,” Birkinshaw said. “That’s small, but that has always been the story.”

But, according to Gurr, that growth trajectory is exactly what the company wants. “We optimize free cash flow over the long term,” he explained. “The simple answer is that we’re willing to make deep, long-term investments—we don’t need an instant payback. We do what’s right for the customer and what’s right for the business.”

To read more about Amazon’s MBA graduate recruiting efforts, read the Financial Times article, “Amazon’s Shopping Spree at Business Schools.”

This article has been edited and republished with permissions from Clear Admit.

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Nov 3, 2017 by

What Makes an EMBA Worth It? Students, Alumni Share Their Thoughts

EMBA worth

In an interview with the Financial Times, five EMBA students and alumni spoke about the most important lessons they learned during their time in school. They covered a variety of topics including how the alumni network has helped them, the advice they would give to a new EMBA student, and what they learned from their classmates. In this article, we’ll provide a brief overview of a few of the most valuable tips.

Cultivate Your Global Network

For Idara Umoh Nickelson, an ’17 EMBA graduate at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, the main opportunity she seized was to cultivate the global network that she was exposed to. This network, which spanned five campuses and four countries (United States, Canada, Germany, and Hong Kong), provided her with a range of valuable advice including “don’t feel guilty about the time you will spend on yourself.” This advice helped her learn to take advantage of every opportunity during her schooling, which helped her land a job in healthcare—her passion.

Use Your EMBA to Your Advantage

Casey Worthington, an ’19 EMBA student at Cornell Johnson, had a busy role in IT as a consulting-based project and program manager. It was a challenging position, but he wanted more; in particular, he wanted to move into a business leadership role. The EMBA allowed him to head in that direction while still balancing his family life and work. Post-enrollment, he accepted a dream job, and to Worthington, it was the EMBA that gave him the advantage.

Tailor Your Journey

There’s a lot of different advice that Blair Wood, an ’18 EMBA student at the London Business School, would give to aspiring students, but his main advice is to tailor your EMBA to your journey. “Be guided but not overly influenced by others  . . .  there is a relatively narrow window to maximize a valuable and rare chance for personal growth,” he told the Financial Times. “You need to explore the vast array of opportunities, find the blend that suits you and do things at your pace.”

Learn About Other Perspectives

For Krystal Bojan, an ’18 EMBA student at Columbia Business School, London Business School, and the University of Hong Kong, her experience has been about learning from a variety of different cultures and nationalities. Having an immersive educational experience around the world, Bojan has had to learn how different locations have different styles of communicating, problem-solving, and influencing. For example, she told the Financial Times: “Working for western multinationals where the culture was non-hierarchical, I was accustomed to approaching people directly to get things done. In Asia, it is strongly driven by carefully cultivated relationships and networks of influence, or ‘guanxi’.” 

To read additional advice from each EMBA student or alumni and to see what an EMBA alumni from Melbourne Business School had to say, read the full article in the Financial Times.

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Nov 2, 2017 by

UCLA Anderson Breaks Ground on New $40 Million Marion Anderson Hall

ucla Marion Anderson Hall

On October 19th, UCLA Anderson School of Management broke ground on a new state-of-the-art building on campus: Marion Anderson Hall. The hall was made possible thanks to an unprecedented $100 million gift from benefactress Marion Anderson in May 2015—$40 million of which was earmarked for the building. The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by Dean Judy Olian, Senior Associate Dean Al Osborne Jr., UCLA Chancellor Gene Block, and Marion Anderson Hall donors: Sam Tang (MBA ’87), Donald and Sherie Morrison, Bob Wilson (BS ’53), Luis (MBA ’02) and Lindsey Serrano, and Heather Hasso. Continue reading…

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Oct 27, 2017 by

Beyond Business School: Meet the Cambridge EMBA Who Is Rebuilding Libya

cambridge libya

As an Executive MBA (EMBA) student, you don’t have to choose between your career and your studies, which was exactly the case for Roland Friedrich, who worked as a senior political affairs officer for the United Nations while pursuing his EMBA at Cambridge Judge Business School. Friedrich graduated with his EMBA in 2016, but through his studies he was involved in the rebuilding of Libya as part of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL). This mission, established in 2011, supports the country’s transitional authorities and institutions after the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi.

Of his role, Friedrich said in a Cambridge Judge blog: “42 years of authoritarian rule left behind weak institutions, multiple factions, and militias vying for influence and an abundance of weapons. Six years after the 2011 revolution, the country faces a prolonged political, security and—more recently—economic crisis. The challenges range from terrorism and organized crime and deteriorating living conditions to political polarization and fragmenting institutions.”

As for how he got involved in Libya, it started with a career in the German armed forces where he focused on conflict management, security sector reform, and Middle Eastern affairs. From there, Friedrich spent eight years at the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces as a security sector reform advisor. After that, he joined the UN to work directly with Libya.

Over the course of his work, Friedrich has been involved in some incredible initiatives, including ceasefire negotiations between the ‘Libya Dawn’ and ‘Dignity’ militias, negotiating the Libyan Political Agreement, and advising the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Libya on the mission’s policies in the region.

Friedrich (EMBA ’16) pictured third from left. Image via Cambridge Judge website.

“[This work] requires a thorough understanding of the local players and their motivations, a clear vision of what you want to achieve, and lots of creativity and flexibility when facilitating a deal,” he wrote. “There are quite some shared aspects here with strategy development and negotiations in the business world.”

And it was these “shared aspects” that made an EMBA at Cambridge Judge such a good idea. In his work, particularly dealing with the balance of power between nations, Friedrich found that understanding the latest management approaches was a great way to enhance his work in mediation and strategy.

“Cooperation between the UN and the private sector is picking up sharply, not only in the humanitarian and development fields but also in peace and security,” Friedrich explained. “The EMBA helps me get on top of the latest management concepts and practices. It also helps me develop a thorough understanding of strategic management and organizational behavior—issues that have always fascinated me and that are of direct relevance to my work.”

For a full account Roland Friedrich’s experience as a UN officer and EMBA student, check out the blog on the school website.

This article has been edited and republished with permissions from Clear Admit.

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