Questrom’s Commitment to Empowering Women in Business Education and Beyond

In a world where women comprise half the population, 48% of the workforce[i], and achieve 58% representation in U.S. college enrollment[ii], they find themselves disproportionately underrepresented in leadership roles. In a quest to foster female leaders of tomorrow, Questrom has initiated transformative programs aimed at empowering women and narrowing the gender gap.

At the heart of Questrom’s endeavors is its commitment to equipping students for success from day one. Enhanced career services, a hallmark of the institution, have become a vital resource for students, with a notable 79% of full-time MBAs receiving career advice from a career service staff member, and 45% naming career services staff as the person who helped them the most with their career.

Questrom’s diverse student body, comprising 43% women, with several graduate programs boasting over 50% representation, is a testament to the institution’s commitment to inclusivity. Ranking 26th in the Bloomberg Businessweek’s Full-time MBA Ranking Diversity Index and tying for the 22nd highest percentage of female students across US full-time MBA programs in the Financial Times, Questrom is well on its way to positioning itself as a leader in fostering diversity and gender equity.

Dean Susan Fournier, the first female Dean at Questrom, leads a team where 11 out of 19 executive positions are held by women. Women make up 35% of the school’s full-time faculty tying for the 8th highest percentage of female faculty among U.S. business schools in the Financial Times. To top it all, the university is excited to welcome Dr. Melissa Gilliam as its first woman and first Black woman president starting in July 2024. The institution’s hiring practices underscore a dedication to diversity, requiring a balanced gender pool in recruitment, and challenging the traditional norms prevalent in many academic spheres.

Questrom’s strategic partnership with the Forte Foundation, initiated in 2023, reflects the institution’s commitment to providing women with access to business education, professional development, and a community of successful women. This collaboration exemplifies Questrom’s proactive role in shaping the trajectory of women’s careers beyond its academic walls.

BU women, including distinguished alumnae like Paramount Global’s Chair Shari Redstone (LAW’78, ’81), and CVS Health’s CEO Karen Lynch (Questrom ’99), are globally acclaimed for breaking barriers in leadership. Their recognition on Forbes’ 2023 Power List, along with other accomplished BU women like Gina R. Boswell (Questrom ’84), Tracy Anne Marek (CGS’90, COM’92), Colleen A Kelly (Questrom’85), Sarita Aggarwal Mohanty (COMED ’98), Judy A. Smith (CGS’78, COM’80), and Hannah Rose Olson (SHA ’17), underscores the transformative impact of a BU education on women’s leadership. They’ve earned spots on Forbes’ 50 over 50 and 30 under 30 lists, recognizing their significant contributions to both business and community. Joining these exceptional BU women is Questrom Professor and organization psychologist Connie Noonan Hadley named to the prestigious Thinkers50 radar class of 2024 for her research shaping the future of organizational management and leadership.

Beyond the statistics, Questrom’s support for women’s leadership extends outside the classroom. The Women’s MBA Association, a student-led organization, offers a platform for women earning their MBAs to access career support, guidance, and resources. The WMBAA She Leads Conference will further amplify female voices by providing a forum for empowerment and insights from accomplished leaders. Similarly, the Women’s Leadership Council showcases accomplished BU female alumni and faculty, offering regular opportunities for connection, networking, and lifelong learning.

The school’s commitment to women’s empowerment is alive in other pioneering initiatives. In a recent milestone, the Feld Center for Career and Alumni Engagement organized BU’s inaugural Women in the Workplace Luncheon, highlighting the institution’s dedication to fostering dialogue and actionable measures for workplace and health equity. The event featuring Megan Greenfield, a Partner at McKinsey & Company shared findings from global reports on the state of underinvestment in women’s health and women’s empowerment in the workplace. With over 140 participants, the event facilitated proactive dialogue, empowering guests to discuss and implement actionable steps for enhancing health and workplace equity.

In a similar vein, Questrom was one of the proud sponsors of Boston Business Journal’s Mentoring Monday event series – a special program that brings together women in the business community for an afternoon of networking and professional mentoring. Questrom’s Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion, Clinical Associate Professor of Law and Ethics Kabrina Chang ‘92, and Associate Dean for Industry Relations, Career Services, and Alumni Initiatives Monica Parker-James, EdD served as mentors representing Boston University in the nationwide event that took place simultaneously in 40 business journal markets.

In the spirit of March being Women’s History Month, Boston University, and particularly Questrom is excited to chart a course where every woman’s potential finds full expression at Questrom and beyond.

[i] https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SL.TLF.CACT.FE.ZS

[ii] https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=98#:~:text=In%20fall%202021%2C%20female%20students,percent%20(6.5%20million%20students).

 

Written by Dee Kayalar Polat, Director of Alumni Engagement

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