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Many women continue to struggle with the decision to attend business school, fearing the cost, the commitment and the competitive environment.
As two of the youngest women entering the MIT Sloan School of Management MBA in 2012, we had the same concerns. However, we were pleasantly surprised, so we have taken it on ourselves to challenge the four myths we believe hold women back.
You will waste money
Business school is expensive but it can be a solid investment. Despite the steep and intimidating price tag, an MBA can lead to a lifetime earning potential of more than $3 million, according to one study that reveals it takes, on average, about four years to recoup the return on investment of an MBA.
Moreover, 95 per cent of both women and men graduates from 12 US business schools report being satisfied with their MBA education, according to a joint study released by Catalyst, the University of Michigan Business School and the Center for the Education of Women at the University of Michigan.
Family will suffer
Getting an MBA does not necessarily mean putting family second. “Success for either parent is success for the entire family,” a female mentor once told us. In fact, while pursuing our MBAs, we were pleasantly surprised to meet a number of mothers and fathers with young children who were actively involved parents while participating in and contributing to their business school communities.
It may not always be easy, but at most schools you will have access to resources and support to make the most out of your time at business school and your career.
It is a hostile environment for women
Let’s reframe this: business school is a place that encourages action and initiative. The purpose of a management education is not to solely discuss ideas and theories about change but to go out and do it – and do it as a team.
Yes, we’ve had classes where certain men - and women - dominated the conversation or over-managed projects. However, in our experience, students and professors work extremely hard to get every voice heard. We urge potential students to talk to both women currently enrolled at their target schools along with the female alumni before making the decision to skip the experience altogether.
Women lack confidence
As two of the youngest women entering our MBA programme, we were concerned about how our classmates would perceive us and we admit we were a bit intimidated at first. Our doubts subsided once school began.
If anything, we have found business school empowering and an exercise in strengthening self-confidence and self-awareness. Ultimately, we feel more prepared to become leaders and we encourage any woman looking to challenge herself to consider pursuing an MBA.
Julia Yoo and Emily Feldman are both recent MBA graduates of MIT Sloan School of Management, where they served as co-presidents of the Sloan Women in Management Club.