Foster MBA Program Earns Forté Foundation Membership, Expands Opportunities for Women MBA Students

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Foster Evening and Full-time MBA students, alumni, and the MBA Admissions team at the June 2016 Forté MBA Women’s Conference

As a Forté Foundation partner school, Foster’s prestigious program offers its female students access to an expanded network, impactful leadership development opportunities, and accelerated career trajectory. According to Forté, only 17% of Fortune 500 Board members are women. Women make up 14% of Senior Executives and only 4% of CEOs. A Catalyst and University of Michigan research study, Women and the MBA: Gateway to Opportunity, highlights opportunities for improvement in making the business corporate and academic environment more inclusive for women. This sparked the founding of the Forté Foundation, which began in 2002, when female enrollment in MBA programs was only 28%. Since then, that number has increased to 36%, as Forté membership has climbed to 70,000 women with a cross-section of career stages, and 53,000 participants attended Forté Forums.

Forté aims to increase the representation of women in business, and an alliance with the Foster MBA Program promotes that mission in Seattle and wherever Foster’s graduates choose to pursue their post-MBA careers. Foster’s work-compatible MBAs, such as the Evening MBA Program, provide a flexible curriculum that can be tailored to each student’s demanding schedule. Together, Foster and Forté are firmly focused on providing women access to the tools and resources to pursue their passions and thrive in business.

Erin Town, MBA Admissions Director, and Anna Nordstrom, Evening MBA Class of 2017, reflect on their experience at the June 2016 Forté MBA Women’s Leadership Conference and what a Forté partner school designation means for Foster students.

Erin Town

Erin Town, Director of MBA Admissions

Erin Town, Director of MBA Admissions

We are absolutely thrilled to announce our alliance with the Forté Foundation, a leading non-profit organization that is focused on increasing the number of women who hold significant roles in business. Forté is dedicated to directing women toward leadership roles in business and industry, and to enabling corporations to more effectively attract and retain female talent. As a sponsor school, the Foster community can now take advantage of the Forté Foundation’s series of professional development and networking events, scholarship opportunities, and online career planning resources.

For many years, the Foster MBA program’s small size and personalized, hands-on approach to learning has offered students from a wide variety of backgrounds the chance to make a real impact, transform their careers, and to make lifelong connections and friendships. This welcoming and empowering culture is one of the reasons we have generally seen higher percentages of women in our programs than the typical MBA program. Now, as a Forté partner school, women at Foster will have even more opportunities for professional development and, most importantly, access to a powerful network of female business leaders from around the globe.

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M?gan Lewis, Senior Associate Director, and Erin Town, Director, MBA Admissions

In June, my colleague Megan Lewis and I attended our first Forté Foundation Women’s Leadership Conference along with a group of incoming and current Foster MBA students. The conference was filled with inspiring moments and learning opportunities, but what struck me most was the fact that every session, every keynote, every discussion, was led by a woman. The presenters were incredibly honest and uninhibited. At the end of every session there was a line of women waiting at the microphone to ask questions and to present their thoughts. While the conference offered incredible opportunities for professional development, being surrounded by so many ambitious women was what really left me feeling inspired. I can’t wait to bring a new group of students to the conference next year!

Anna Nordstrom

Anna Nordstrom, Evening MBA Class of 2017

Anna Nordstrom, Evening MBA Class of 2017

I was so inspired by my time at the Forté Conference!  The women in attendance were all so impressive, and the organization brought in speakers who were accomplished and eloquent and shared their own experiences and practical advice to help prepare the women in attendance for greater success in the business world. It truly energized me and got me excited about heading into my final year of the program!

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Photo credit: Anna Nordstrom

I had three major takeaways from the conference. One was how rigorous the process was for Foster to be accepted into Forté, and what that means about Foster’s commitment to support women in business.  Another was that it is important to think about what you are excited to do for work, and to pursue that field – it shows when you are passionate about your work versus when you just show up each day and put in your hours.  Finally, I came away from the conference with a sense of responsibility – to pay things forward for future women, and to not undervalue the impact each one of us can have on others.

View highlights of the 2016 Forté MBA Women’s Conference:

Want to learn more about the Foster advantage? Connect with us at the Seattle Forté Forum on August 22. We will also be in San Francisco on Tuesday, August 23; Los Angeles on Wednesday, August 24; and Houston on Thursday, August 25.

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Wondering if the Foster Evening MBA Program is the right fit for you? To make an appointment with the Foster MBA Programs Office, call 206-543-4661 or toll free at 1-866-778-9622, or email us at mba@uw.edu.

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