Alumna Gives $5 Million Gift to NYU Stern to Support Women in Business

Alumna Gives $5 Million Gift to NYU Stern to Support Women in Business main image

To shatter glass ceilings and inspire women to take up places on top MBA programs, or join the ranks of business organizations, one needs encouragement and support. That was the motivation behind the US$5 million gift that NYU Stern School of Business Class of 1992 MBA alumna Elizabeth Elting recently bestowed on the school – the single largest gift from a self-made woman in Stern’s history.

Elting founded the multimillion-dollar global translation business, TransPerfect, in an NYU dorm room in 1992. Nowadays, she runs the Elizabeth Elting Foundation, which is committed to promoting progressive and feminist efforts to open the doors previously closed to women.

NYU Stern Dean Raghu Sundaram says, “Liz is a wonderful role model who inspires budding entrepreneurs inside Stern’s classrooms, within our alumni community and beyond.

“She is already very generous with her time and talents when it comes to Stern – especially with students and the Stern Women in Business student club – and has now also joined our Board of Overseers. Liz wanted to deepen her engagement with her alma mater, and we, too, are delighted that her commitment inextricably links her with innovation at the school, giving students exposure to a self-made entrepreneurial success story.”

With this donation, the school is already undertaking a number of initiatives to advance women in business:

Scholarships

The new Elizabeth Elting Women’s Leadership Fellowship will award 40 female MBA students “who demonstrate extraordinary academic merit and an impressive record of leadership experience”. These merit-based scholarships are for those who are passionate about business and have great potential for the future, says Paula Steisel Goldfarb, senior associate dean of MBA and Graduate Programs at Stern.

Seed feeding

The other initiative is to provide seed capital to 20 women-led businesses through the Elizabeth Elting Venture Fund in association with the school’s Endless Frontier Labs (EFL) program, a group meant to help early-stage science- and technology-based startups scale. In this nine-month program, qualifying startups get advice from serial entrepreneurs, investors, and technical mentors to accomplish business goals at eight-week intervals.

Recently, the school announced the EFL had selected its 50 startups for the 2019-2020 cohort. In addition to coaching from those who have launched their own businesses, participants will gain access to capital from venture investors, technical advice from scientists, and execution support from Stern. For this cycle, 180 startups made the shortlist for the admissions interview at Stern.

The idea is to “translate science and technology ideas into viable products,” Stern Professor Deepak Hedge, director of EFL, has said.

Name Recognition

To honor Elting’s contribution, Stern is naming a large meeting area for classes, lectures, and guest speakers in the graduate school The Elizabeth Elting Lecture Hall.

As of October 1, Elting became a member of the Stern Board of Overseers; Elting also received recognition for her commitment to the school at Stern’s annual Haskins Giving Society Award Dinner where she was given an award named for Stern’s founding dean Charles Waldo Haskins.

Elting’s generosity is indicative of Stern’s ideology, says Goldfarb. “Elting is a great example of someone who has had the opportunity to do good and do well. It fits with the spirit of the school.”

Encouraging women to pursue a path in business has been a top priority of business schools. For years, women have showed less interest in MBA programs than men. Recently, however, greater strides have been made, and some programs have boasted near parity.

In the full-time MBA Class of 2021 at Stern, women represent 37 percent of enrolled students. In the one-year technology MBA, the Class of 2020 has reached gender parity, and the fashion MBA is composed of a class with women representing 59 percent of enrolled students.

“We’ve always had a strong commitment to advance women in business,” says Goldfarb. “This particular level of support from Elting will help us grow in this area in multiple ways – by attracting talent, supporting startups, and having others see Elting’s name at the school as a symbol of progress.”

Francesca Di Meglio

Francesca Di Meglio has written about higher education for two decades. She covered business schools and all aspects of management education for what became Bloomberg Businessweek from May 2004 to December 2013. Di Meglio was the consultant editor for the book Admitted: An Interactive Workbook for Getting into a Top MBA Program (85 Broads Publishing, 2011), which was written by admissions consultant Betsy Massar. In addition, she is a family travel and parenting blogger at the Italian Mamma website

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