As I sit in the Houston airport waiting for my flight to South America for G-Lab (or Global Entrepreneurship Lab), I can’t help but reflect back on the past semester. Members of the class of 2016 find themselves at the three-quarter mark of the MBA experience. With only a few months left until graduation, the ’16s inevitably have spent part of the holiday break considering all that they’ve accomplished and all they hope to do with their remaining time at Sloan. That in mind, I have to say that I am very proud of the efforts of Sloan Women in Management (SWIM) over the past eighteen months.
Women make up an increasing percentage of students in business schools, including Sloan, which is great. After all, women are still underrepresented in leadership roles in US (and overseas) corporations. But it’s simply not enough to admit more women to graduate programs. As I’ve remarked previously, I feel it imperative for future leaders to challenge the status quo — doing so will lead to more diverse and successful organizations.
To that end, SWIM has helped lead a significant conversation on campus around unconscious bias through the Breaking the Mold (BTM) initiative. BTM was started by two 2015 Sloanies as a series of workshops and sessions culminating in a conference last spring. The dialogue has continued this year with a pair of conferences, one at the end of this past semester and another upcoming in February. During the fall conference, attendees heard perspectives from alumnae Jamie McCourt and Jimena Almendares, and engaged with leaders from various industries to better understand the impact of unconscious bias. The event drew men and women alike, as well as faculty, alumni, and the broader MIT community. You can learn more about BTM here.
Beyond BTM, SWIM worked on a robust slate of activities to better prepare the women of Sloan to re-enter and succeed in the workforce. Programming included an alumnae mixer, behavioral interview prep session, speaker series, industry-specific panels, a mentorship initiative (2nd year students with 1st year women of multiple Sloan programs), and various social activities. More about SWIM can be found here.
I know people who read this blog tend to be prospective students. I firmly believe every prospective student must find the school that best fits him or her. So visit campuses, talk with current students, sit in on classes, and gauge for yourself what makes the most sense for you. Personally, I’ve found Sloan to be incredibly warm and exceptionally open to the kinds of things I value. Ultimately, I’m glad to see more women interested in pursuing higher education, and I’m even happier if they do so at Sloan. I’ll sorely miss this place when I graduate in a few short months!