Many professional women think about pushing their career forward and breaking that glass ceiling. There’s no doubt that as women consider the next wrung on the corporate ladder, or look to tap their passion and start their own business, moving those thoughts into actions can have significant implications.
In our recent global survey of Executive MBA (EMBA) programs, results show a positive trend toward closing the gender gap as the industry is seeing the highest percentage of women students taking EMBA programs. While there is no one path to success, regardless of gender identity, clearly more women are deciding that making an investment in themselves is something that brings a new level of confidence, competence, and indeed control, to the options available to them.
One accomplished female EMBA alumnus shared that subtle barriers remain for women in business and that she believes you have to be 20 percent better than everyone else to be considered equally. While there is no quantitative data that can specifically validate this idea, there is clear evidence that a divide still exists for women in the workforce. This being the case, it’s hard to argue that arming oneself with more knowledge, more skills and a broader network provide an advantage and a competitive edge. This “edge” is helpful for those aspiring to more senior levels within the traditional corporate ranks. However, this edge is just as critical, if not more critical, for those seeking funding for their own business or for selling bankers on the idea of issuing that much needed loan for business expansion. As an Executive MBA Council member, I often hear even more pragmatic and consistent feedback from students and alumni, such as EMBA programs provide insights into new and better business models, marketing ideas and operational excellence.
There is no replacement for hard work, passion and new ideas. However, these things alone don’t guarantee business success, especially for the entrepreneurial-minded individual. What the EMBA does do, is provide a transformative experience that changes how attendees see the business enterprise. It arms them with newfound knowledge leading to increased competence. This increased business acumen can result in a willingness to take risks that are no longer driven by passion alone. Instead it is now grounded in a decision framework encapsulating market analysis, financial wherewithal, and access to a network that can’t guarantee success but certainly increases the odds of it! It takes that much needed passion and wraps it in a package that has a better chance of being opened.
If you’re sitting there thinking about how to expand your home business, grow your sole proprietorship beyond one person, or take your already thriving enterprise into new markets and growth potential, why not invest in you? Business owners regularly think about investing in new tools, new equipment and new employees. Oftentimes though, they forget to make the investment in themselves. The one thing they have most control over is their own professional development and it tends to be the one thing that is hardest to sell themselves on.
So what can women do to advance their career or professional dreams? Allow for the latitude to investigate how an EMBA program might lead to that extra edge needed to succeed and push through that glass ceiling.
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