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Getting MBA Women a Seat at the Table

Getting MBA Women a Seat at the Table
Photograph by Ricky John Molloy/Gallery Stock

The summer of 2012 will be remembered as a time when a number of prominent MBA women’s organizations and business schools took decisive action on getting more women onto corporate boards and into leadership roles at companies. The Forté Foundation announced an effort back in June, asking business schools to help them compile a list of board-ready women. In July, George Washington University’s School of Business said it planed to create a new executive education program that will help prepare women to serve on boards. Now MBA Women International, a nonprofit with more than 5,000 global members, is starting a leadership academy that will help midcareer women get hands-on leadership training and coaching.

Gail Romero, who became chief executive of the group in January, has helped spearhead the launch of the academy during her first year on the job. She reached out to social scientists, human resources professionals, anthropologists, consultants, and educators to help craft the curriculum for the 15-month, mostly online program, which will require women to undergo a battery of rigorous leadership assessment tests, partake in coaching, and engage in role-playing exercises that will test their leadership skills. Students will also be schooled on what makes a strong leader, ethics, communications, and negotiations, and how to develop a global mindset. At the end of the program, if they pass a three-hour exam, they’ll receive an Executive Leadership Certificate and will be expected to mentor other women who go through the course.