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Women in Leadership Panel: Five Things We Learned

Women in Leadership Panel: Five Things We Learned main image

The QS World MBA Tour recently stopped off for the first of its two visits to London this year. As well as allowing candidates to meet face-to-face with admissions directors, the fairs also feature a number of panel discussions, in which expert representatives from attending business schools tackle the pertinent issues.

One such panel is Women in Leadership, which as the name suggests, aims to tackle the key challenges faced by women in leadership roles (followed by open format roundtable discussions, allowing candidates to speak with each school individually).

This year the panel was made up of representatives from Ashridge Business School, Copenhagen Business School, Henley Business School, Lancaster University Management School and Melbourne Business School.

So what did we learn from our Women in Leadership panellists? Here are five key insights:

1. A good MBA will help you develop your people skills, your self awareness, and your interactions. It will allow you understand who you are as a person, and how you manage people. It will help you move from being a good functional leader to a strategic generalist who can speak the language, as well as increasing your business savvy.

2. Choosing a business school is a cross between the rational and the irrational. You have to work out if you really ‘fit’ somewhere, if it’s your kind of place. To do so, you should meet with faculty and alumni. Look if a school has a good proportion of female faculty to be role models to you, and how classes are taught – collaboration is a more natural tendency for women. And make sure you work if you can fit your studies around your life.

3. 85% of earning power depends on your communication skills (Studies at Stanford, Harvard and the Carnegie Foundation show this). It’s really important to develop your interpersonal and networking skills during the MBA. Confidence is a very important part of this.

4. Focus! If you choose to focus your energy, you will succeed.

5. Every country needs women to contribute to its GDP. No more imposter syndrome, invest in yourself. Do it your way – be a first-rate woman, not a second-rate man!

Written by Mansoor Iqbal

Mansoor is a contributor to and former editor of TopMBA.com. He is a higher and business education specialist, who has been published in media outlets around the world. He studied English literature at BA and MA level and has a background in consumer journalism.

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