At MIT Sloan School of Management, advancing women in leadership is a core commitment. For starters, the student-led group MIT Sloan Women in Management offers female MBA students a range of opportunities to help propel their careers. Sloan also puts on an annual Women’s Week to showcase for prospective female applicants just what the Sloan MBA student experience is like, as well as the many paths its accomplished alumnae pursue.
Each August, the MIT Sloan admissions team hosts a Women’s Week featuring evening events in multiple across the United States. These events, designed for prospective female MBA applicants, feature women alumnae and others talking about the program and their experiences as Sloan women.
“MIT Sloan Women’s Week was started in 2014 to share the opportunities at MIT Sloan’s MBA program among female leaders in business while also showcasing the tremendous impact women from MIT Sloan have on the world,” explains Shauna LaFauci Barry, MIT Sloan associate director of admissions. “Each year we have a new theme that aligns with our MIT Sloan mission, and this year’s theme is ‘MIT Sloan Women: Creating Ideas Made to Matter.’”
Each event follows a TED Talk−like format with a panel of local alumnae from MIT Sloan’s two-year MBA, Sloan Fellows, and Executive MBA programs. In addition to a main presentation by a notable alumna, each of the two-hour events also includes an alumnae panel and a networking reception. The events are designed to be interactive and collaborative, encouraging attendees to communicate with each other.
“The ultimate goal of Women’s Week is to expose women to a variety of stories showcasing how an MBA has served as a gateway to meaningful careers,” says Barry. “We do this through a panel of successful alumnae who share their stories followed by a networking reception.”
This year’s first two Women’s Week events take place tonight, August 7th, in Chicago and New York City. Additional events are planned for August 8th in Washington D.C., August 9th in San Francisco, and August 10th in Los Angeles and Cambridge, MA.
“This year, in addition to our in-person events, we will also be hosting a LiveStream event and a corresponding social nomination campaign where students, faculty, and alumni can share an inspirational #MITSloanWomen story,” adds Barry.
A LiveStream video from the August 10th Cambridge event will allow women from anywhere in the world to participate in the panel and discussion as if they were attending in person. Women can join 10 minutes prior to the event or jump into the conversation at any point. It’s a unique opportunity for female MBA candidates who cannot attend any of the events in person but still want a chance to take part in the discussion.
Insight from a Women’s Week Speaker
Ellen Rice, a 2016 MBA graduate, has been a speaker at Sloan’s Women’s Week events in the past and is a current panelist. To her, the events are a wonderful opportunity for women to interact.
“It’s like going to a concert where you can actually meet the rock stars,” she says. “I love meeting socially-minded women, from engineers to budding entrepreneurs, who are passionate about their work and the communities they touch.”
Beyond that, she also feels the events are a significant opportunity for women to understand their impact not only in the business world but also within the Sloan MBA program. “Sloan’s Women’s Week is important because it reinforces the role and impact women have at Sloan,” says Rice. “Women at Sloan lead—from classroom discussions to launching startups. All these roles are highlighted during the week. “
The Success of Women’s Week
So far, the Women’s Week events have proven a resounding success. “Last year, approximately 1,000 women registered for the week’s events,” says Barry. “Interest in the program continues to evolve and, this year, we added a new city.” Los Angeles is the latest addition to the Women’s Week lineup. “We are excited to see high registration numbers already,” Barry adds.
As registration for Women’s Week events has grown, so too have MIT Sloan’s admissions numbers for female applicants. “Our female applications continue to grow each year, and we are consistently around 40 percent in terms of our female enrollment,” Barry notes. “We have seen that attendees at these Women’s Week events make great connections, are more engaged with us, and tend to apply at a higher rate” than attendees at some of the school’s other admissions events.
As for what women attendees can expect to take away from each Women’s Week event, Rice shares: “I want women to understand their differentiating factor (a little MIT nerd joke): their totally female selves. We all have unique gifts and talents. Sloan will bring them out and give women the tools and network to launch.”
To attend one of the MIT Sloan Women’s Week events, sign up on the MIT Sloan website here.