Student and staff representatives from The Richmond MBA program attended the Forté Foundation’s conference entitled “The MBA Value Proposition” in Arlington, Virginia, in September.   Representatives had an opportunity to interact with prospective female MBA students from Virginia and surrounding states.

According to the organization’s website, The Forté Foundation is a consortium comprised of key corporations and renowned business schools that has become a powerful change agent in educating and directing talented women toward leadership roles in business.

Their mission statement is “to substantially increase the number of women business leaders by increasing the flow of women into key educational gateways and business networks.”

Lois Vogle, Program Coordinator of Graduate Studies, and Debbie Fisher, Assistant Director of the MBA Program, attended the event, along with MBA candidates Connie Mattox and Patricia Wescott.  The event was composed of a career fair style recruiting session which was followed by two breakout sessions.  One breakout session was an admissions panel for prospective students and another provided an alumni panel discussion in a question and answer format.

Vogle and Fisher agreed that including Mattox and Wescott, who understand first-hand what it’s like to be a prospective female MBA student, was essential in their recruiting efforts during the conference. 

 “We felt that having current students available to answer questions from prospective students provides a strong reflection of our program,” Vogle said.

Likewise, Fisher said that the best way for prospective students to learn about an MBA program is to hear directly from someone who’s going through the program.

“We strive to market The Richmond MBA program to women and having current MBA students attend the Forte gathering gave prospective students the opportunity to ask questions of those who are actually living the life—questions about balancing work and personal lives along with the demands of a first-class MBA program,” Fisher explained.

Mattox, who is co-founder of the Women’s MBA Association on campus, explained that women who are interested in pursuing an MBA often think that they might feel out of place in a historically male-dominated program.

She said, “There are many women in the state who are exploring an MBA education, but feel like they are stepping into a man’s world.”

As a result of this sentiment, The Richmond MBA program is committed to recruiting female candidates because of the value and different experiences that women bring to the classroom.

Fisher said of the importance of fostering a varied classroom environment, “Diverse perspectives in the classroom enrich student discussions-- whether it be different ethnicities, gender, or business expertise.”

Vogle said that bringing a female executive’s perspective into the classroom is vital. “More and more women are being appointed to management roles in their organizations.  It’s important that we’re able to communicate to prospective students our strong dedication to being a catalyst in propelling women in their careers,” she said.

Mattox, Vogle, Wescott and Fisher were pleased with the event and the opportunity it provided them to further brand The Richmond MBA program to female candidates.

Fisher’s advice to any candidate is, “Think carefully about your reasons for wanting to further your education and whether or not the timing fits with the rest of your life.  And if your reasons are sound and the timing is right, The Richmond MBA is here for you.”