Why ‘Women hold up half the Sky’ but occupy fewer than a quarter of MBA seats

Oxford EMBA Scholarship for Women now offered in association with the 30% Club

Sa?d Business School, University of Oxford

20% of the current Oxford Executive MBA class are female – a figure pretty much in line with many leading business schools but one which falls short of the parity to which most schools aspire. The reasons for women’s lower MBA participation rates are much discussed, as are mechanisms to address it, but the gap remains unbridged, and the need for diversity in the upper ranks of organisations is more pressing than ever.

‘Awareness of the opportunities business schools offer women is a critical part of the story’ says Kathy Harvey, Director of the Oxford Executive MBA. ‘Business schools are not getting the MBA message across sufficiently clearly to high potential women in business, and I am therefore delighted to partner with the 30% Club to raise awareness of the benefits of a business education for aspiring women leaders. An MBA can create a bridge to the kind of boardroom performance which should be within the grasp of many high potential women managers, and not enough of them are taking advantage of this opportunity. That’s something I’m determined to change. As a well-regarded and high profile organisation which works persistently to advance the representation of women in senior roles in business, the 30% Club’s endorsement of the Oxford EMBA, and their commitment to spreading the word about the benefits of an MBA for female executives, will do much to help us attract the talented female candidates we are seeking.’

The benefits to organisations of having women in senior roles are well documented. There is a powerful intuitive argument for having a varied board and executive team, with complementary skills and less danger of ‘groupthink’. Institutional investors are increasingly considering overall board effectiveness including diversity as an important aspect of good governance.

Helena Morrissey CBE, CEO of Newton Investment Management and Founder of the 30% Club said: ‘The 30% Club is delighted to partner with Sa?d Business School on this Scholarship. Tackling the lack of female talent progressing to senior levels in industry is something that needs a continuum of efforts – and not just within companies but at all levels of education. Having such a prestigious business school tackle this head on is key to long term change being achieved.’

A growing body of research shows that women excel in precisely the traits necessary to address the challenges currently facing many large organisations – providing key inputs to enhance corporate performance. ‘Skills such as corporate diplomacy and greater competency around global risk are ever more important. All the more reason why women – and their organisations – should be considering how an MBA can boost their performance and accelerate their careers’ says Kathy Harvey. ‘Many of our female alumni have achieved great things as senior executives in large corporates or as entrepreneurs leading their own companies. But the continuing low numbers of women in leadership positions globally indicates that companies and individuals have still not found a way to utilise the skills and insights which women can offer. We hope that by working closely with the 30% Club, we can break through to women, and their employers, around the world, and convince them of the benefits of investing in their business education. It is not enough to exhort women to “lean in”. Women need access to the knowledge, insights, resources, networks and mentoring which world-class business schools like Oxford are well placed to provide. At Oxford, women have an opportunity to argue their case, debate future solutions to some of the world’s most complex problems, and to emerge confident in their ability to make difficult judgements. An Executive MBA, which allows participants to combine study with a demanding job, is also an opportunity to reflect on leadership style and to build a professional and personal development plan to manage career acceleration up to board level. Through this scholarship we hope to attract some of the best candidates for senior leadership positions globally.’

To speak with Kathy Harvey or for further information, please contact the press office at Sa?d Business School

Clare Fisher, Head of Public Relations

Mobile: +44 (0) 7912 771090; Tel: 01865 288968 Email: clare.fisher@sbs.ox.ac.uk


Josie Powell, PR Officer,

Mobile +44 (0)7711 387215; Tel: +44 (0) 1865 288403 Email: josie.powell@sbs.ox.ac.uk


Notes to editors

1             About the Scholarship

The aim of the Scholarship is to support female candidates of merit and to encourage an increase in women considering senior leadership roles. The scholarship will be awarded to an outstanding female candidate based on the breadth and depth of work experience as well as past academic or professional qualification performance. The award is worth £32,000 towards the programme fee. The successful scholar will have access to mentoring and advice from both Sa?d Business School and senior members of the 30% Club community.http://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/programmes/degrees/emba/fees-funding/oxford-university-alumni-scholarships

A second scholarship for women is also available: The Oxford Forté Foundation Fellowship for Women. Saïd Business School is a proud member of the Forté Foundation. Forté Foundation is a non-profit consortium of major corporations and top business schools working together to launch women into fulfilling, significant careers through access to business education, opportunities, and a community of successful women. All female candidates who apply for the Executive MBA by Monday 15 September and receive an offer for the class commencing in January 2015, will automatically be considered for this award. This is worth £15,000 towards the programme fee after deposit. This award is not open to candidates who defer entry. Early application is advisable.http://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/programmes/degrees/emba/fees-funding/oxford-university-alumni-scholarships

2             About the 30% Club

The 30% Club is a group of Chairs and CEOs committed to better gender balance at all levels of their organisations through voluntary actions. Business leadership is key: this takes the issue beyond a specialist diversity effort and into mainstream talent management. The Club launched in the UK in 2010 with an aspirational goal of 30% women on FTSE-100 boards by end 2015. There are now 94 members of the UK Club and the proportion of female FTSE-100 directors has risen from 12.5% to 20.8%. The 30% Club is now becoming an international, business-led approach focused on developing a pipeline of senior female talent. It is complementary to individual company efforts and existing networking groups – adding to these through collaboration and the visible commitment of senior business. The 30% Club does not believe mandatory quotas are the right approach. Instead, the Club is aiming for meaningful, sustainable change. More information can be found at www.30percentclub.org.

3             About the School

Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford blends the best of new and old. We are a vibrant and innovative business school, but yet deeply embedded in an 800 year old world-class university. We create programmes and ideas that have global impact. We educate people for successful business careers, and as a community seek to tackle world-scale problems. We deliver cutting-edge programmes and ground-breaking research that transform individuals, organisations, business practice, and society. We seek to be a world-class business school community, embedded in a world-class University, tackling world-scale problems.

In the Financial Times European Business School ranking (Dec 2013) Saïd is ranked 12th. It is ranked 13th worldwide in the FT’s combined ranking of Executive Education programmes (May 2013) and 23rd in the world in the FT ranking of MBA programmes (Jan 2014). The MBA is ranked 5th in Businessweek’s full time MBA ranking outside the USA (Nov 2012) and is ranked 5th among the top non-US Business Schools by Forbes magazine (Sep 2013). The Executive MBA is ranked 23rd worldwide in the FT’s ranking of EMBAs (Oct 2013). The Oxford MSc in Financial Economics is ranked 6th in the world in the FT ranking of Masters in Finance programmes (Jun 2013). In the UK university league tables it is ranked first of all UK universities for undergraduate business and management in The Guardian (Jun 2013) and has ranked first in nine of the last ten years in The Times (Sept 2013). For more information, see http://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/