Aakanksha Jaiswal


Blog type

Imperial College Business School’s Women Mean Business Club aims to empower and support female students primarily through member exclusive networking events, panels, and skill-developing workshops. Full-Time MBA student and President of the Women Mean Business Club, Aakanksha Jaiswal, shares her thoughts on the role of the Women Mean Business Club in inspiring inclusion at the Business School and beyond.

The journey towards a more inclusive society is long and winding, but the good news is that with awareness, education, and proactive engagement, every individual can make a difference.” - Aakanksha Jaiswal, Full-Time MBA

About me

My name is Aakanksha Jaiswal, I am from India, and I am studying the Full-Time MBA programme here at Imperial College Business School. I am the President of the Women Mean Business Club. Previously, I have worked with Deloitte and Genpact in consulting and analytics, respectively.

The role of the Women Mean Business Club

The Women Mean Business Club was founded to empower women to enter the world of business and take on leadership roles, paving the way for a more equal society. We aim to do this by providing a safe space to discuss the challenges that women commonly face at work and discover methods and resources to overcome them. The club connects female students with female professionals, leaders, and mentors in the world of work and develops skills and industry knowledge that allow female students to distinguish themselves from peers in their chosen line of work.

The Women Mean Business Club has been fortunate to have an extremely committed and engaged organising committee that goes above and beyond to organise excellent events. This academic year alone, the club has organised initiatives across a number of themes and formats, including:

  • Sector-specific professional panel discussions with women working in Finance, Energy & Sustainability, Data & Analytics, and Consulting.
  • Intimate networking events to create a community, including ‘Women Mean Networking’ and coffee chats with professionals in FMCG and Tech.
  • An event connecting students with women at the highest echelons of business, featuring a Chief Experience Officer (CXO) roundtable covering topics such as leadership, imposter syndrome, resources for growth, and more.
  • Alumni Mentorship Programme in collaboration with the Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Club to connect students with sector-specific mentors for career development feedback.
  • Skills and leadership workshops are currently being planned for the summer terms.

Additionally, I am currently organising an inter-college MBA meet. The theme will be female health literacy in the workplace, supported by a female-founded business in the space.

Aakanksha Jaiswal
Aakanksha at an Imperial Women in Finance event

Inspiring inclusion through collaboration

We are conscious of the role played by the broader Business School in making this club successful and have collaborated with a number of clubs and teams to create a more inclusive community. These include the Finance Club, Energy and Sustainability Club, Consulting Club, EDI Club as well as the Employer Relations Team, Finance Suite Programme Team, the Marketing, Recruitment and Admissions Team, Alumni Relations Team, and Student Life Team.

Personal reflections on inspiring inclusion

The journey towards a more inclusive society is long and winding, but the good news is that with awareness, education, and proactive engagement, every individual can make a difference. When I took over the Presidency of the club at the beginning of the year, my Vice President, Jessica Adetu, and I came up with a strategy and decided that our main area of focus would be community building. And every community is made of individuals, which includes you. Think about times when you have felt excluded at work and imagine the difference it would have made if someone had spoken up for you. Here are some examples and practical suggestions to make a difference at an individual level:

1. Recognise everyone in the room: A highly accomplished speaker told us about a time when an individual went around a circle asking for introductions and skipped her, even though she was representing her organisation and had an invite to the event. Her male junior colleague immediately spoke up for her, even though he should not have had to. Speak up for others when you see them being excluded.

2. Lend support and mentorship: Every individual has different levels of exposure and experience. If you spot a woman with potential to succeed, support them and give them opportunities to prove themselves. Mentor them and share your learnings and life experiences. Bring up their name when they are not in the room where decisions are being made.

3. Recognise that vulnerability does not undermine contribution: Everyone faces challenges in their lives, and being mindful and respectful of an individual’s personal situation can empower them to contribute successfully. Sometimes, small adjustments such as allowing someone to come in to work a little later because they’re caring for a loved one can make a huge difference. Be mindful and kind, as you would expect if you were in their situation.

4. Engage with your community: Don’t be afraid to participate in difficult conversations and actively engage with your community at work, whether formally or informally. You might be surprised how much there is to learn from a diverse community of colleagues.

Aakanksha Jaiswal
Aakanksha at a Women Mean Business CXO Roundtable

The Women Mean Business Club aims to empower female students to enter the world of business. We believe we need more women leaders in business because women often bring with them empathy, resilience, and skills which contribute positively to creating better businesses. Every individual counts in creating a more inclusive place of work and in turn, a more inclusive society. I hope to set an example through the club to inspire tomorrow’s leaders and look forward to your contribution.