The Imperial College Business School wholeheartedly supports the 30% Club, an organisation which aims for gender parity in business, with a focus on boards and governing bodies. It launched in the UK in 2010 with a goal of achieving a minimum of 30% of women on FTSE-100 boards. Since its inception, the 30% Club has helped to increase this figure to 27.9%, up from 12.5%.
In support of this goal, Imperial College Business School is offering two Inspiring Women – Executive MBA Scholarships of £25,000 to outstanding female students on our Executive MBA commencing in February 2022. With the scholarship now being offered for the sixth year and in line with the theme for International Women’s Day 2021 #ChoosetoChallenge, we highlight a success story from a 30% Club scholarship alumna and speak to this year’s scholarship winners.
From Portfolio Director to Managing Director
Julie Driscoll, Executive MBA.
A recipient in the first year of the scholarship, Julie Driscoll, exemplifies the overwhelming success of the programme. Financially, the scholarship made studying the Executive MBA a reality, and it also helped overcome her worries about returning to school.
I was nervous about going back to university, but the scholarship gave me a big boost of confidence, by recognising the value that my experience in business and my passion for what I do brought to the programme.
While studying her MBA, Julie received a promotion from Portfolio Director to Managing Director at Pure London. She said the scholarship and programme were instrumental in her career advancement:
Getting the scholarship gave me exposure that I wouldn’t have had ordinarily. It obviously got me onto the programme, where I learnt a lot of things I didn’t know before like accounting, finance, macro- and microeconomics. Those were really important and quite transformational subjects for me on my journey to becoming Managing Director.
Julie also benefited from the other features of the scholarship, including the opportunity to attend networking events. Seeing Helena Morrissey, the founder of the 30% Club, speak at an event was especially inspiring for Julie. She was inspired by the business executive’s ability to balance of career and family, having nine children, and her passion for encouraging women in business.
An exciting journey ahead for 2020 scholarship recipient
Jade Fallen is one of the two Inspiring Women – Executive MBA Scholarship winners for 2020. With a background in law and finance, she currently holds the position of Business Manager at globally recognised investment bank J.P Morgan.
Jade applied for the 30% Club scholarship after undertaking a lot of work in her personal and work life around women and helping empower them in the business space. Participating with a couple of external organisations – Women in Banking and Finance and a much smaller organisation called ETW, the aim for Jade has always been to provide training and support to help women achieve their dreams. In her words "That’s exactly what this scholarship has done for me. It’s really important in terms of helping and empowering more women to take this step in their personal development and their career development."
Applying the learnings
I use my programme learnings all the time. It’s also very easy to spot when a strategy or process has been implemented by someone who has an MBA. The Executive MBA changes your thought process – you are armed with frameworks that guide your approach to challenges and opportunities in the workplace. Also, because a lot of the teaching is case-based, you are able to apply your learnings to specific real-life scenarios. I have also been surprised by the extra detail that the Executive MBA goes into – so even with subjects that I thought I knew quite well, there was always a learning point to enhance my knowledge.
The plan for doing my MBA was to strengthen my strategy skills and to gain solid business acumen. I am choosing my electives so that they support my ambitions to grow my career in the strategy space so that I am agile enough to be a positive force in this fast-changing world. I am hoping to continue my career development to achieve a position of leadership.
Our commitment to gender equality
Imperial’s partnership with the 30% Club is one of the many ways the Business School is making a tangible commitment to advancing women in business. Crystal Grant, Director of Admissions, speaks of its importance:
The Executive MBA is designed for senior executives looking to move into the most senior positions in their organisations, which is where women are typically least represented. We are active partners in the 30% Club’s mission to get talented women into board level roles. Our scholarship taking people who are already senior in their companies, but are looking to take that further leap up to board level.
The 30% Club offers students more than just financial support, it also unlocks access to multiple 30% Club networking events and workshops throughout the two-year programme.
Scholarship winners participate in the organisation’s successful cross-company mentoring programme, which pairs scholarship recipients with senior mentors, both men and women, who want to help upcoming women leaders. The scheme, developed with the support of EY and now delivered by Women Ahead, offers cross-company, cross-sector mentoring to women at every stage of their careers and has over 1,200 participants from more than 60 organisations.