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Preparing More Women for Success in Business

Goizueta Business School Dean Erika James (left) and MBA student Heidi Laki (right).

As a product innovation manager for Reliant Energy in Houston, Heidi Laki 16MBA designed and developed products for the small-business sector. Now a Woodruff Scholar working toward an MBA at Emory’s Goizueta Business School, she is preparing for a career in strategy consulting.

“Goizueta does a great job of getting you into the career you want to be in,” Laki says. “For consulting you need the ability to approach an ambiguous problem and, based on hundreds of factors, determine possible solutions. At Goizueta I’m learning to understand all the pieces that make up a business and how to look at problems holistically.” 

Laki is an example of the caliber of student that scholarship support attracts, and she is among a growing number of women who are gaining the competitive edge that comes with a Goizueta Business School education. More than a third (35.7 percent) of the current student body is now female, and Goizueta’s new dean, Erika James, is breaking ground as the first African American woman to head a top-25 U.S. business school.

“We must create an environment that recognizes and values the characteristics, capabilities, and competence of women in business,” James wrote in a recent online essay titled “Recognize the rising tide of female entrepreneurs.” 

“Women are not better leaders than men, just as men are not better leaders than women. The natural tendencies and strengths of both men and women complement one another,” she wrote. “Until we create institutions that recognize that complementarity we will fall further and further behind on the world stage.”

Among James’s priorities for the business school is to increase philanthropic support for scholarships, which will improve Goizueta’s ability to compete for the best students. Scholarship support also creates a diverse student body, which in turn helps prepare students to succeed in a diverse global workforce.

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