Opening Doors for Women Exceeds Expectations Yet Again
Published: Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Updated: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 11:09
On Sunday, November 8th, more than 240 prospective students mingled with nearly 60 current students and alumnae in the Kimmel Center for the annual Opening Doors for Women breakfast. Designed to give prospective women MBA students an opportunity to learn more about Stern and to experience the school's community first-hand, the MBA Admissions Office and SWIB worked together to make the morning a memorable one for attendees.
The morning began with breakfast and roundtable discussions with current full-time students and alumnae seated according to their target career industry. Industries represented included Marketing, Finance, Consulting, Luxury and Retail, Media and Entertainment, Entrepreneurship, and Social Enterprise. The prospective students spoke with students and alumnae about Stern's collaborative culture, the various career resources and opportunities available to Stern students, and the reasons that SWIB women chose to come to Stern. First year MBA student and SWIB member Jalaine Johnson said, "Even though I have not yet finished my first semester at Stern, I was happy to be able to provide prospective students with extensive advice about my experiences so far."
Following breakfast, the formal program began. Anika Davis Pratt, Assistant Dean of MBA Admissions, welcomed the prospective students to Stern and introduced the morning's keynote speaker, Professor Sheila Wellington. Professor Wellington spoke to the captivated audience about the glass ceiling that still exists for women in business today, noting that although women constitute over 50% of the workforce, they make up only 13% of board directors in Fortune 1000 companies and there are only seven women CEO's in Fortune 500 companies.
However, Professor Wellington also offered advice on how women can advance their careers. The first and foremost thing she recommended is to find a mentor you can trust and rely on. After recounting her experiences with her own mentors, she emphasized that "at Stern, you will find many mentors: mentors in the faculty, mentors in the administration, and mentors amongst each other." Professor Wellington stressed the importance of each woman discovering what motivates her, and then taking action to be successful via several routes: outperforming expectations, managing time effectively, taking credit for one's accomplishments, developing expertise, taking initiative, volunteering for responsibility, diversifying your experience, being brave, and negotiating successfully. She concluded by saying that Stern gives its students the opportunity to go "as far as time and talent can take them."
The event then moved to a panel discussion, moderated by Paula Steisel Goldfarb, Senior Director of MBA Admissions at Stern. The panelists, second year MBAs Ashley Gorman, Marcela Giraldo, and Trish Kenlon, as well as recent alumna Naseem Sayani '08, spoke about their time at Stern, the best ways to take advantage of all opportunities Stern offers, and their advice to the prospective students, who then had a chance to ask their own questions to the panel.
Next Lauren Levine, Senior Associate Director of MBA Admissions, spoke about the application process. She offered guidance and provided tips on putting together a competitive application before turning the program over to the Co-Presidents of SWIB, MBA2's Catie Rosen and Rebekah Ahn. They shared their experiences as women at Stern and as leaders of SWIB. Following the event, Rebekah Ahn said, "Opening Doors is a fantastic event that lets prospective women meet current students in a unique capacity. Having attended myself as a prospective two years ago, it was extremely gratifying to be able to speak with future women of Stern about how Stern provides a collaborative and diverse network for women."
After the SWIB co-presidents' inspiring comments, the program concluded with additional networking with students, alumnae, and Admissions officers. Following the event, Assistant Dean of MBA Admissions Anika Davis Pratt summarized this year's Opening Doors for Women breakfast as "a tremendous success for both MBA Admissions and SWIB. We saw a 25% increase in applicant attendees and a 20% increase in current student attendees. Professor Sheila Wellington delivered inspirational remarks, and the energy in the room was palpable. We are delighted to continue to partner with SWIB on this annual event to showcase NYU Stern's leadership in promoting and advancing women in business."
Stern women often cite this event as one of the most important factors in their decision to attend Stern, and this year's event will likely prove no different. Once more, prospective students left Opening Doors excited about Stern, SWIB, and the myriad opportunities that both groups can offer them for future success.