New partnership to boost female MBAs

Nadine Wessel is Retail Manager at Westfield Marion. BUSINESS
Nadine Wessel is Retail Manager at Westfield Marion.

UniSA has joined forces with four of Australia’s leading business schools in a landmark partnership agreement designed to tackle the gender imbalance in MBA study.

Prof Marie Wilson signing the Women in MBA agreement with colleagues from the Curtin, Monash and Sydney Business Schools and the Macquarie Graduate School of Management. Prof Marie Wilson signing the Women in MBA agreement with colleagues from the Curtin, Monash and Sydney Business Schools and the Macquarie Graduate School of Management.

The network of top schools has committed to raising almost $20 million (in university and industry funds) to attract 320 new women into MBA programs over the next three years.

UniSA Business School, Curtin University, Monash Business School and Sydney Business School have combined with the Macquarie Graduate School of Management (MGSM) to deliver its Women in MBA program (WiMBA).

The program, which partners with business to identify top female employees and support them financially and logistically, and by offering support and guidance to complete their MBA studies, will be available to women in South Australia, Wollongong, Melbourne, Sydney and Western Australia.

Current UniSA MBA student and Retail Manager at Scentre Group SCM Marion, Nadine Wessel, has welcomed the initiative.

“I think it’s really important to give women more encouragement to take on the MBA program,” Nadine says.

“The MBA program can certainly assist career development. If this new initiative means that more women are given opportunities to develop their skill set, it means that more women will have the chance to be considered for a role or get into the boardroom.

“I think at the senior levels in many organisations in Australia, there’s been a recognition that female participation is lacking.”

Nadine is into her third and final year of her MBA. After her first year of study, she won a leadership role, and says the MBA played a part in providing her with a different level of experience and a different way of thinking about problems in business. Her employer has been supportive of her study, allowing study days off when needed.

Director of Human Resources for Scentre Group, Janine Frew, says the organisation is committed to a diverse workforce.

“At Executive Team and Board level, there’s no question in our minds that ensuring we have a diverse and inclusive workforce at all levels is not optional – it’s the only way we’ll deliver sustainable business success,” Frew says.

“Importantly, diversity is a core pillar in our operating strategy; not something that sits outside normal operations.

“Our philosophy is about enabling our people to succeed in work and life, leading to happier, higher-performing individuals. We’ve worked hard to foster a culture reflective of this inherent belief.

“We are absolutely committed to increasing the percentage of women in our leadership ranks, and supporting the personal and professional development of our key female talent – our future leaders like Nadine - is critical.”

MGSM’s Director of Gender Inclusion, Professor Kristina Keneally says studies show that a MBA has a significant impact on career pathways.

“The research shows that MBA graduates report more promotion, increased responsibilities and an increase in their salary packages,” Prof Kenneally says.

The new agreement is designed to offer vital support to women in the WiMBA scheme, by waiving part of or all tuition fees and encouraging flexible time management.

UniSA Pro Vice Chancellor, Business and Law, Professor Marie Wilson says the partnership is important in generating national opportunities for women to grow their influence and leadership.

For more information, see the related media release.