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The impact of training at ESADE on women’s careers

The ESADE MBA, the best in Europe for women professionals according to the Financial Times, incorporates the Forté Fellowships within its portfolio of grants to nurture talent without gender

According to the Graduate Management Admission Council, the number of women who sat the GMAT, the examination that assesses candidates’ aptitude to study an MBA, among others, increased by 12.4% in 2018 over the year before. However, the percentage of female enrolments worldwide did not grow in the same proportion: 50% to 58% in Europe, and 32% to 35% in the US. The main reason for this gap is access to funding.

In its commitment to the professional development of women, ESADE, whose Full Time MBA was recognised in 2018 as number 1 in Europe for women professionals by the Financial Times ranking, annually awards several grants and scholarships to women who want to boost their professional growth.

ESADE offers a series of grants, both independently and in collaboration with companies and institutions, and in this regard has added its ESADE Women of the World Scholarships, in collaboration with the Forté Foundation, a non-profit institution that aims to facilitate training for women in business schools throughout the world. Thanks to this, over the last five years the average percentage of women MBA students worldwide has grown from 33.6% to 37.8%. A figure that at ESADE reaches 40% in the case of its Executive MBA.

Ecosystem of innovation and diversity

Camila Bahia is one of the 13 women who have received the fellowship awarded by ESADE and Forté. After working as an architect for some years and having her own business, the fellowship enabled her to pack her bags and head for Barcelona, despite the opposition of her father, who wanted her to stay in Brazil and raise a family. “The investment in an MBA is very high, and without the ESADE-Forté Fellowship I wouldn’t have been able to get here,” she says, acknowledging how much she has learnt up to now: “I’m improving my skills and knowledge daily. At ESADE, learning is based on creativity and leadership, and it’s not just that; I’ve become a different person, discovering things about myself that I didn’t know.”

A similar experience is being undergone by Megumi Takemoto, who thanks to this fellowship was able to park her career as a journalist in the prestigious daily Nikkei, which until now had made it difficult for her to reconcile her professional life and her two children, and come to Spain to study at ESADE. “I needed to change my life,” she says, “and here I’ve found the perfect diversity and ecosystem of innovation to create something important when I go back to Japan.” Her long-term goal is to return to her country and start her own business, a business model based on helping Japanese women professionals to carry on working after they become mothers. “I recommend future women MBA students to be brave; they can have a family and be good leaders. We all have to pursue both these goals because it’s our responsibility to change the world for the better,” she concludes.

“The initiative of encouraging women’s development through fellowships is fantastic,” says Leah Heck, who highlights the fact that these grants incorporate their members (Forté Fellows) into a worldwide professional community. She grew up in the US and at the age of 18 moved to the Netherlands, where she started a career that over a period of a decade has taken her all over the Old Continent: “I needed a change in my career, and coming to ESADE meant a boost to develop my leadership skills and knowledge in the business world.” Leah is also Vice-President for Education in the Women in Business Club at ESADE, where she works “to learn from each other; to generate, between all of us, a change.”

Enterprise and social debate

In addition to the grants and scholarships it makes available to its women candidates, ESADE is the academic supplier for the Promociona Project, an Executive Programme for Women in Senior Management, promoted and developed by the Institute for Women and Equal Opportunities and the CEOE. The aim of the project is to identify and nurture female talent, through the development and strengthening of professional capabilities and skills. Promociona has held six editions to date, with the participation of over 370 companies and 617 women managers, 45% of whom have been promoted.

This programme, together with the access to funding for women candidates for various training courses, is part of ESADE’s commitment to the development of the careers of women professionals, also through social debate, in which it has joined the European Parliament platform #DóndeEstánEllas (Where are the women?) to guarantee parity for women panelists in events; and research, with the different waves of the ESADE Gender Monitor and ESADE Gender Lens Investing reports, among others.

Open Day Women Empowerment

Within the section on social debate, ESADE today commemorated International Women's Day, with a session on women's empowerment. The day, which has been framed within the Open Day of the ESADE Executive Master and EMBA programs, has had the testimony of Eugenia Bieto, Director General of ESADE (2010-2018) and Professor of General Management and Strategy, who has given way to different talks and round tables, including the conference "The power of conversation: who we listen to and why", by ESADE academic collaborator Katharine D'Amico; and the talk by executive mentor Alex Panayotou.

 

 

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