Kristina Keneally, formerly the Australian state of New South Wales’ (NSW) head of government, is to lead a scholarship initiative at Macquarie Graduate School of Management (MGSM) that is designed to raise the number of female participants in its MBA program.MGSM’s Women in MBA program (WiMBA) was launched at the end of last year and is seeking to provide 100 scholarships for female students to study its MBA program in an effort to narrow its existing gender gap and, by extension, make an impact on the gender gap seen at senior executive level in Australian business. Funding for these scholarships relies on company partnerships with tuition costs then split 50-50 between the participating firm and MGSM.Kristina Keneally, who served as NSW’s first female premier between 2009 and 2011, should be able to offer some useful connections in this respect as she takes on the task of overseeing the project’s aims and delivering the mentoring component that will be provided by the company partners. \u0026nbsp;Kristina Keneally sees potential for ‘real impact’“I am very much looking forward to reaching out to corporate and government and seeking their support for this program,” Keneally said in a press release for MGSM, adding her belief that the initiative “has the potential to make a real impact on the overall numbers of women in senior leadership roles in business.”After leaving government, Kristina Keneally joined Basketball Australia, where she was chief executive between 2012 and 2014. For the past year, she has been a television presenter with Sky News Australia – a role she will now combine with her duties as an adjunct professor and director of gender inclusion at MGSM.40 MBA program scholarships already awarded\u0026nbsp;Thus far, the initiative has won the support of 25 companies with 40 scholarships being awarded, according to the Australian Financial Review. Indeed, the school’s dean, Alex Frino, has high hopes for the initiative, believing it can allow the MBA program at Macquarie Graduate School of Management to become the first in the world to achieve – and consistently sustain – a true gender balance.Removing financial barriers to women pursuing an MBA program is one thing, but much also rests on the success of its mentoring component, as Keneally identifies:“By providing women with guidance and advice through the mentoring component to the program, women are given the moral support to help them progress from MBA study into leadership roles,” she said.