But not all women hit the links, and golf is not the only social activity that remains (unintentionally) male-dominated and a ripe opportunity for networking. To level the corporate playing field, Maljevic and other female MBA students are creating alternative networking opportunities and programs to advance women in business.
This spring, they began a student chapter of the National Association for Women MBAs called Quinnipiac Women MBAs, or QWMBA. The group aims to connect graduate students, alumni and other business professionals, including members of the national association, says Katrina Lennon '10, founder and CEO of the group. Lennon is currently in the MBA program. "The club unites us to empower women, boost confidence and encourage women to go after leadership positions," says Lennon.
In addition, the members hope to increase the visibility of female MBA students, bring female business leaders to campus, and develop mentoring relationships within and outside the group. Laying the foundation for this network, Maljevic and the other graduating members intend to remain active as mentors.
Although the number of women entering business schools is climbing, men outnumber them significantly. The percentage of female students nationally rose from about 34 percent in 2004 to 39 percent in 2009, according to AACSB International-the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. At Quinnipiac, 39 percent of undergraduate business students are women and about 36 percent of the graduate business students are female.
Maljevic says she and her classmates do not expect their career paths will be limited because of their gender. In fact, they hope male MBA students get involved in their programs. The QWMBA women are acutely aware that despite progress, women still are not on par with their male colleagues in terms of career advancement or salary. Women can expect to earn about $4,600 less than their male counterparts, according to a 2010 study by Catalyst. The study also found that men continue to be given more responsibility than women.
Researchers at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Harvard found that women with MBAs fell behind in promotions and pay primarily because they left the workforce for periods of time, most often because of family responsibilities. The 2009 study also found that some women pursued less aggressive career paths to balance work and home life.
Lennon says networking organizations such as QWMBA can help women remain competitive in the workplace. By encouraging women to pursue leadership positions, for example, Lennon hopes these leaders can change corporate culture to be more accommodating to women--and men--who choose to take time off for family.
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