Noodle.org ranked the Wharton School’s MBA program as one of the top seven MBA programs for women based on opportunities and support systems available to women.
The list also includes New York University Stern School of Business, Columbia Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business and Harvard Business School.
The website wrote that the Wharton School boasts the highest percentage of women among all business schools in the world — women comprise 42 percent of the Wharton MBA class of 2015. Noodle.org also mentioned Wharton Women in Business, a club that provides female MBA students with women-specific conferences and workshops.
Pam Freed, one of the three presidents of Wharton Women in Business, said the club strives “to understand the needs of Wharton women,” such as developing leadership capabilities and building negotiation skills.
“Research shows that there is a difference in negotiation styles between men and women,” Freed said. “We want to prepare women at Wharton for success in these types of situations.”
Wei Liu, a first-year MBA student from China, added that many international female students face a language, culture and gender barrier.
“In our society [in China], women are generally considered less confident,” Liu said. “But those girls [who come to Wharton] are by selection the most entrepreneurial ones in their own culture. The transition takes them some time, but in the end they will get there.”
When Liu first got to Wharton, she noticed that male students were very confident and had more leadership presence in general. She pushed herself to speak up.
“I’ve [come to understand] that you have to be confident to be heard,” she said. “I think I am more confident, but I wouldn’t use the word aggressive.”
Diana Peng, a second-year MBA student, agrees that a Wharton education has made her more confident. “It helps me to reflect on what my strength[s] are and what I need to improve, and I am more confident that I can tackle various business situations,” she said.
Peng said that since leadership positions at Wharton are merit-based, talented and confident women can take on these roles. “Those who are successful are very good leaders,” she said.
Achieving a work-life balance is another major concern for female MBA students.
“A lot of [the female students] are already married. Some women have children already, or are thinking about having children,” Freed said.
During its annual conference in the fall, Wharton Women in Business invited women keynote speakers who became executives during various stages of their life. Some were married or had children as they rose in rank.
“I want to see women succeed. In whatever company I join, I want to see women in leadership. If they can have it all, then that’s something I can strive for,” Peng said.
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