MORE FEMALE MBA CEOS

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The 2017 Fortune 500 has a notable distinction from past lists: a record-high number of female CEOs. While the number is still far from achieving anything close to gender equity or workforce representation—a mere 32 out of 500—the increase is more than 50 percent what it was last year. That statistic is significant, especially considering that the list has been around for more than 60 years.

The Magnificent Seven need no introduction. Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, Columbia Business School, MIT’s Sloan School of Management, and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management are the cream of the business school crop. M7 is the Holy Grail of the MBA Kingdom. Every year, thousands of applicants will apply to the M7 schools, and most will fail to crack the code, because these schools are the most selective in the B-school landscape. Two years at any of the M7 schools will set a student back about $200,000, but there are many scholarships from alumni and employers. M7 attracts the most talented students and faculty, and certainly the most corporate recruiters offering the most sought-after jobs. M7 also boasts highly achieving alumni and valuable networks in nearly every walk of life. But other business schools, such as IMD, Insead, IESE, Cambridge Judge, Oxford Said, LSE, London Business School, and Webster Athens, provide a similar education at a small fraction of the cost.

Webster University’s master of business administration program is designed for people on a fast track to success. It’s the perfect answer for professionals who want to shape their own destiny, upgrade their credentials, and be strategic players in the world of business. Trump’s rhetoric is channeling international MBA applicants to European branches of American colleges. Webster Athens has an excellent MBA program. Webster Athens is dedicated to fostering a campus culture that embraces and celebrates diversity and inclusion, and promotes international understanding and appreciation. Preparing students for effective, responsible and dynamic involvement in the modern societies in which they live and serve, and for excellence and leadership in their personal and professional lives. The campus is located in Athens, Greece – in the historic district of Plaka. Your Global Learning Experience begins in Webster Athens.

One factor that distinguishes the 32 female CEOs of these Fortune 500 companies is that the majority of them—23—attended business school. Further, 20 of these highly successful women earned business degrees from AACSB-accredited business schools, and three received executive education (not resulting in a degree) from AACSB-accredited schools. Because initiatives to encourage and support female business students is a growing priority for business schools, chances are, we’ll see even more women leading the companies that make future Fortune 500 lists. Further, research shows that companies on the Fortune 500 list with a greater number of women board directors tend to perform better financially, according to recent Catalyst survey results. The outlook slants toward positive, but concerted efforts need to be consistently made by both business schools and business to continue the momentum in changing gender dynamics in top leadership positions across all industry sectors.

As the world is becoming multipolar and knowledge is set to disperse throughout the globe, embedding oneself in its changes and evolution remains essential. Academic rigor will stay competitive by integrating new teaching methods, program designs, research methods and learning processes. If a school can generate knowledge in multiple locations around the world and blend it to create new insights, it can be assured of fostering a globally-compatible and creative student body.

Whether your interest is management, marketing, or communication, you will be an active learner at Webster Athens.  The classrooms give many hands-on experiences in various cases, and the location in the capital of Greece provides plenty of internship opportunities. With a low student-to-faculty ratio and average class size, Webster Athens makes business education personal. Faculty get to know students on a first-name basis and are readily available to help students when needed. Webster Athens is dedicated to excellence in business teaching, incorporating a global business perspective throughout the curriculum. Every step of the way, students receive the attention and support they need to thrive in business.

The Fortune 500 list is based on total revenues in a U.S. corporation’s fiscal year, ending on or before January 31. Figures are provided by a company in its published annual report and reviewed by employees of Fortune and third party affiliates. And while the companies themselves are what appear on the list, the CEOs are credited with the achievement and often spotlighted in the media. By nature of this methodology, the largest corporations are almost always the companies that will appear on the list. It should be noted that highest revenue is not equivalent with most successful, and that graduates of AACSB-accredited business schools globally enter a vast variety of business sectors—including nonprofits, small businesses, and government and non-governmental organizations—in which they, too, are highly successful. Further, many aspire to careers in social change, in which revenue is not the bottom line.

Webster Athens offers a fantastic MBA program in a flexible structure which promotes academic depth and encourages business graduate students to explore diverse business interests. At Webster Athens, students have opportunities to build skills and competencies through study trips, conferences, and internships. On the campus, students study in a culturally diverse environment that will create a life-long international network.

Vasilis Botopoulos, Chancellor of Webster Athens, points out: As we look to the future one thing is certain – knowledge will be a key resource and will be highly sought-after around the world. Our challenge is to help to generate ideas that will benefit society, and to educate and train people to work in fields where they will be valued both for their specialized knowledge, and for their ability to communicate and solve problems. To meet these challenges we need to build on the alliances and collaborative partnerships the University has established with business, government, and other institutions. It is equally important that we keep close to our wider communities of interest. This will help to ensure the on-going relevance of our academic programs and the continued excellence of our teaching and learning.

Facts on the 2017 Fortune 500 Female CEOs

  • More than 70 percent of women who run the 2017 Fortune 500 companies have received business education from AACSB-accredited schools
  • 13 women executives on the list hold MBAs from AACSB-accredited business schools (and an additional one from a non-AACSB-accredited school)
  • Stanford University Graduate School of Businessis the most attended school by the 23 female CEOs on this year’s Fortune 500 list, with 5 attendees: Mary Barra of General Motors, ranked highest at No. 8, earned an MBA, as did Deanna Mulligan of Guardian Life Insurance; Patricia Poppe of CMS Energy earned an MS in management; and both Kim Lubel of CST Brands and Jacqueline Hinman of CH2M Hill completed the non-degree Stanford Executive Education Program
  • Harvard University claims 3 CEOs on the list, with one possessing two degrees from the school: Marilyn Hewson of Lockheed Martin (executive development programs), Meg Whitman of Hewlett Packard (MBA), and Margo Georgiadis of Mattel (an AB—or Bachelor of Arts—from former women’s school Radcliffe College before it merged with Harvard University, and an MBA from Harvard Business School)
  • The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania also has 3 listed executives as alumni: Safra Cats of Oracle (bachelor’s in economics), Phebe Novakovic of General Dynamics (MBA), and Tricia Griffith of Progressive (executive education Advanced Management Program)—who, notably, is the first female CEO of the insurance company
  • 18 of the female executives attended business programs that are not one of the eight Ivy League schools, representing a broad diversity of institutions and quality business programs
  • 6 women on the Fortune 500 list hold specialized master’s degrees in a business discipline
  • 5 listed CEOs hold multiple business degrees, from bachelor’s to master’s to doctoral degrees

Botopoulos notes: The greater vision of Webster Athens is to build an excellent educational experience embodying mind, body and spirit through a variety of innovative undergraduate and graduate programs. We offer a solid intellectual foundation as well as an extraordinary opportunity for personal growth and thorough understanding of the subject matter. This is learning with ethos, authenticity, cultural understanding, ecological conscience, and service to others.

Botopoulos says: At Webster Athens we cultivate and build the leaders of tomorrow.  It is our hope that our students and alumni, with ethos and philotimo, will inspire others to live their lives with dignity, integrity and compassion. I invite you to come visit our campus. If you seek learning in a way that is challenging, personal, and meaningful, we would love to have you as part of our community. For more information, please refer to www.webster.edu.gr

With the call for business schools to encourage women into business programs and support them beyond graduation ringing louder than ever, we can be hopeful that with each new release of the Fortune 500 list, this year’s higher number of women CEOs will be less of a record and more of a trend. Aside from business schools implementing dedicated leadership programs focused on women’s success, outside organizations are stepping in. The Forté Foundation along with The Case for Women, as part of a push for improved gender dynamics at business schools, are championing awareness of the gender balance in case papers by encouraging schools to focus time and resources on evaluating their current gender inclusivity in core teaching materials. Another organization, the National Association of Women MBAs (NAWMBA), works to create mentor relationships between MBA graduates and female industry leaders so that newly minted MBAs in the workforce have the tools and support to help them find success in their career paths.

The ultimate benefit of internationalization for Webster University is to learn from the world, not just teach the world what Webster already knows in order to widen its global reach. Instilling a global learning mindset to their students will enable Webster to provide the globally competent talent that companies need. Since the turn of the century, many institutions have added international modules or programs to their curricula, importing faculty and students from elsewhere and exporting their students by offering them study abroad opportunities. Others have formed joint ventures or alliances whereby they export their curriculum to teach local students in distant geographies.

Some institutions have gone a step further than importers and exporters and extended their reach with a physical campus abroad. Business schools were early adopters of this model with the establishment of campuses in Asia and the Gulf countries, such as Carnegie Mellon University establishing a business school in Qatar, INSEAD in Singapore and Abu Dhabi, ESSEC in Singapore, and Webster University in Athens. The benefits of foreign campuses are numerous. First, an extra campus allows the school to attract high quality students who might not have applied to the home campus, and enrich diversity at the same time. Second, it enhances the school’s ability to hire high quality foreign faculty members who might wish to live in the region where the extra campus is located thus increasing the diversity and background of its faculty. Third, it increases the breadth of alumni and broadens the school’s network. Fourth, it improves the school’s visibility and gives it higher credibility as a global institution.

But these initiatives cannot be designed as independent add-ons to an institution’s home campus and core activities. Multi-location institutions must also internationalize their home campus by harmonizing diversity, admissions standards and student culture across their multiple sites. They should aim to create a seamless environment for students and faculty to interact and travel between campuses to maximize their global experience and learning.

So while the higher number of women leading this year’s Fortune 500 companies is indeed an achievement, the work currently being done in business schools, industry, and dedicated organizations likely will continue to change the rather small statistic that made headlines this year.

The success of the multi-campus Webster University rests, among other things, on having an internationally recognized brand; seamless transfer of knowledge between campuses; local and foreign students meeting the same admissions standards; frequent travel of faculty and administrative staff across the campuses; and graduates who are able to find local and regional jobs that allow them to put into practice what they have learned.

There are different types of institutions with presences abroad. The multicampus institution is in essence an exporter of its home-grown programs. The multinational institution is a more structured student-exchange-led school. The transnational institution is an integrated collection of international campuses located around the world. In this configuration, students follow the same curriculum wherever they are, but are encouraged to spend time on the school’s different campuses, along with faculty and staff.

Beware the danger of Feminism Lite. It is the idea of conditional female equality. Please reject this entirely. It is a hollow, appeasing and bankrupt idea. Being a feminist is like being pregnant. You either are or you are not. You either believe in the full equality of men and women, or you do not.

Feminism Lite uses analogies like “He is the head and you are the neck.” Or, “He is driving but you are in the front seat.” More troubling is the idea, in Feminism Lite, that men are naturally superior but should be expected to “treat women well.” No. No. No. There must be more than male benevolence as the basis for a women’s well-being.

Feminism Lite uses the language of “allowing.” Theresa May is the British prime minister, and here is how a progressive British newspaper described her husband: Phillip May is known in politics as a man who has taken a back seat and allowed his wife, Theresa, to shine.

Allowed. Now let us reverse it. Theresa May has allowed her husband to shine. Does it make sense? If Phillip May were prime minister, perhaps we might hear that his wife had “supported” him from the background, that she was “behind” him or that she’d “stood by his side,” but we would never hear that she had “allowed” him to shine.

“Allow” is a troubling word. “Allow” is about power. A husband is not a headmaster. A wife is not a schoolgirl. Permission and being allowed, when used one-sidedly — and it is nearly only used that way — should never be the language of an equal marriage. Another egregious example of Feminism Lite: men who say, “Of course a wife does not always have to do the domestic work; I did domestic work when my wife traveled.”

Our world is full of men and women who do not like powerful women. We have been so conditioned to think of power as male that a powerful woman is an aberration. And so she is policed. We ask of powerful women: Is she humble? Does she smile? Is she grateful enough? Does she have a domestic side? Questions we do not ask of powerful men, which shows that our discomfort is not with power itself, but with women. We judge powerful women more harshly than we judge powerful men. And Feminism Lite enables this.

At first glance, woman interrupted may seem like a small problem, but it reflects deeper issues of gender inequality at work and in society. Women struggle every day to get their space in the workplace and the right to express themselves. When they get there, manterrupting reduces their participation. Women want men to ask themselves: Am I doing this without even realizing it? After all, what’s the point of having more women in a meeting room if nobody hears what they have to say?

A truly global institution should go beyond these structures, free from a home campus bias and driven by a desire to learn from the world to create new knowledge. This is the metanational education institution. It should have at least three main campuses of roughly equal size, each in a major region of the world, that is, Europe, Asia and the Americas. To avoid assimilation traps, these campuses should be located in cosmopolitan cities and could have satellites in neighboring countries. In such a network, no campus should be perceived as inferior to the others. The network’s leadership must therefore foster a culture of cooperation among the sites and stimulate formal communication. The raison d’être of a metanational higher education institution is to generate knowledge in multiple locations with the objective of blending that knowledge to create new insights, and to instill a global learning mindset in its graduates. Webster University is a metanational higher education institution.

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