St Petersburg Times
By Katherine Ters
Photo by Alexander Belenky / SPT
More women in Russia are interested in going to business school than in Western Europe, and the number is on the rise.
Women made up a record 35 percent of Russians interested in going to business schools, according to a recent survey by TopMBA Tour, a UK-based MBA promotion and research company. This level of interest is higher than the world and European averages and it is the highest level of interest registered among women in Russia to date.
One-third of MBA students in Russia are women, so if this year's inquiries turn into applications, the class of 2004/2005 will be a record for women, said Nunzio Quaracquarelli, director of World MBA Tour.
Tatiana Shved, the director of Andrews Travel House St. Petersburg, got her MBA from the International Management Institute of St. Petersburg (IMISP) in 2002. Shved decided to take an MBA because she felt she lacked general managerial knowledge and skills. Her company offered her the option of a salary increase or study, and she chose study.
She said her MBA broadened her mind, gave her new social contacts, new knowledge and higher social status. Shved thinks more women should consider doing MBAs to improve their career prospects and to further their personal development.
More and more women may be taking MBAs in Russia; however, the levels of women's representation in business schools are still far higher in the U.S. and in Asia. In American MBA programs, women now typically make up between 45 and 50 percent of classes, and in Taiwan and Thailand, there are more women than men in most business schools.
In Western Europe, women are far less interested than men in undertaking MBAs than men. Enquiries are lowest in France (15 percent), although Italy (23 percent), the U.K. (25 percent) and Germany (31 percent) are all below the global average, a TopMBA report said. In Eastern Europe, the numbers are slightly higher, and in Hungary, 52 percent of MBA applicants are women.
Worries about work-life balance, a shortage of female role models and a lack of encouragement from employers are the most commonly cited reasons by women why say they are not interested in pursuing MBAs, according to Catalyst, a U.S. based research tank. Catalyst's most recent survey about women and MBAs also said that lack of confidence with math was a factor that turned women off doing business degrees.
When asked why she thought fewer women than men went to business school, Shved replied, you may as well ask why 90 percent of top managers are men.
"There a lot of women who think that in Russia it's impossible to compete with men in their career and they don't even apply to their employers to do MBAs," she said. "A lot of women aren't ready to sacrifice time, money and family life to their career and an MBA as a part of their career growth," she said, adding that you see this particularly among middle-aged women.
"MBAs are expensive and there aren't many women who can pay for them themselves," Shved continued. "Also, there aren't many women in positions where their companies are ready to pay for them, and there aren't many women who think that MBAs would help them grow in their careers," she said.
News source: times.spb.ru
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