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 2019. With the scholarship now being offered for the third year and in line with the theme for International Women’s Day 2018 #PressforProgress, we highlight a success story from a 30% Club scholarship alumna and speak to this year’s scholarship winner.

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.

Ozioma Onyeibor, Executive MBA.

An exciting journey ahead for new scholarship recipient

Ozioma Onyeibor is one of the two Inspiring Women – Executive MBA Scholarship winners for 2018. With a background in economics, she holds the position of Senior Vice President at Iroko Capital, a principal investment and asset management firm in Lagos, Nigeria.

For Ozioma, the 30% Club network has been the most important part. She has been inspired by the organisation’s mission to bring women together and encourage each other, as well as the opportunity to meet women in leadership positions. She said:

Going for an MBA while working is very challenging. Having the support of not just the people you work for, but an organisation like the 30% Club, gave me a lot of hope and encouragement, as well as the financial support to achieve my dream.

Ozioma is no stranger to issues of gender parity in business. Her first job following her undergraduate degree was working as an analyst at the Nigerian Stock Exchange, where she worked under the guidance of the company’s first female CEO. She recalls the emphasis on women’s empowerment and how important this was in improving her confidence as a recent graduate in a male-dominated industry.

However, in her home country Nigeria there is still a long way to go – the number of women board directors is less than 12%. In relation to the International Women’s Day 2018 theme #PressforProgress, Ozioma shares her tip on how women in business can press for progress:

I believe that women in leadership have a lot do to encourage women coming up – it is a collective effort that everyone needs to be aware of. By giving guidance and mentorship to women coming up, I believe we can encourage more women into leadership positions.

Ozioma is excited to be paired with her mentor on the cross-country mentoring programme and to attend 30% club events and workshops throughout the next year.

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.

In 2019, the two scholarships are increasing to £25,000 each, demonstrating our continual investment to advancing gender equality and inspiring the next generation of women leaders.