Community / February 2, 2015

Smith Encourages Women to Attend B-School at “Women in Business” Event

Smith Encourages Women to Attend B-School at “Women in Business” Event

More than 50 women came to the Smith’s first Women in Business information session for prospective part-time MBA students on January 31 at the school’s campus in Washington, D.C. The event was part of the ongoing initiative at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business to encourage women to pursue an MBA degree. Women represent about one third of MBA students nationwide. Smith has strong and growing female representation in its Part-time MBA program, with about 37 percent women students.

In her welcome, Vice Dean Joyce Russell described some of the common obstacles women in business face and the way an MBA can help women achieve their career goals. “Men and women come into the MBA with all different kind of backgrounds, but the MBA degree is the great equalizer,” said Russell. “It provides a lot of marketability and options for your career that you may not have realized you had. Business skills give you the ability to magnify your impact.”

Shreevardhan Lele, assistant dean of academic affairs for MBA programs, gave an overview of the Smith MBA curriculum, followed by a panel of Smith MBA alumnae, who talked about what it was like to be in the program, and the value it had subsequently brought to their careers. The morning closed with a discussion of the school’s career services.

“The MBA program is a safe place to develop new skills that complement the ones you already have,” said Lele. “If you come to the MBA with a very technical background, you have the opportunity to enhance your behavioral skills. If you come to the MBA with a background in the humanities, it is an opportunity to take analytical courses that shows recruiters that you are able to lead in these areas as well.”

During the panel, attendees asked panelists about taking quantitative classes and what the culture is like for women – common concerns for many women considering an MBA. “Smith makes sure you have all the help you need,” said Stephanie Cramer, a Smith MBA alumna. “When I was having trouble with an accounting course, the school actually hired tutors for us. One came to my office during my lunch hour to help me work through questions.”

“I had been thinking about going back to school for three years, but this is the first event I’ve really been interested in, because it was specifically for women,” said attendee Suma Venkatesh.

The women also had a chance to get to know each other and make connections through the networking breakfast and icebreakers during the morning.

Smith is increasing the number of campus events and information sessions for women, as well as programs that focus on professional development and mentoring. More flexible programs are also proving popular with women students, who often juggle demanding career and family responsibilities simultaneously. Women make up 49 percent of the school’s blended part-time MBA program offered at the Washington, D.C., campus.

- Rebecca Winner, Office of Marketing Communications 

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Greg Muraski
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About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and flex MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, business master’s, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.

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