When it comes to the MBA one of the topics that still fascinates me, and that has been a growing fascination since I started, is the focus on businesswomen in leadership roles.
It is always a hot debate in classroom discussions and also a topic that comes up when companies come on campus to recruit. The MBA split is still not 50/50 but I do think it is something that will change in the next 10 years. There has been so much focus recently on women in leadership roles that it is hard to say there won’t be a change; although it did surprise me that in my leadership & change in organisation elective, I was the only female.
I really wanted to get involved with something that promoted females in business, especially younger women like me, when I came across Women as Future Leaders (WFL). WFL is a leadership network for students and young professional’s sponsored by McKinsey & Company designed to create an online community to elevate future leaders through online discussions, inspirational speaker sessions and networking events.
Studying at Manchester Business School and WFL being based in London, my first thought was that I would not be able to get much out of it and I would not be able to get as involved as I wanted to, however WFL has created the perfect solution to reaching all their ‘young’ future business leaders – they are extremely active on social media.
The WFL Facebook page has nearly 4,000 likes, keeping future business leaders in touch with one another and discussing the relevant business topics of today. Many of the posts are articles and videos from global chief executives through to ex-consultants giving their career advice on how to break into traditionally ‘male’-dominated careers.
If that wasn’t enough, the FT Weekend Magazine for December 2014, created a special issue called Women of 2014, with articles on human rights campaigners, politicians, entrepreneurs and everyone in between. The force of inspirational stories and female leaders to look up to in the media today should be more than enough to inspire young future leaders, as it has inspired me.
Through my MBA journey I have been in classes where I am the only female and worked as a consultant during the summer where I was the only female intern; so although the ‘gender divide’ is sometimes regarded a myth it is something I have experienced. Knowing there are organisations that are promoting diversity in the workplace and social media being used to reach out to millions of potential business leaders makes me confident the change in future leaders is well on its way.
It may seem to some that talking about feminism and women as leaders is old news and no longer relevant, but until it becomes so normal that we don’t even notice it, we have a long way to go.
Follow me on Twitter @jayaLsharma
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