USC Marshall is at the forefront of efforts to prepare the next generation of women leaders in business. The school’s commitment to empowering women and advancing their success is seen in the holistic and broad strategies implemented across undergraduate, graduate and alumni stakeholder communities. The results can be striking: As one recent example, USC Marshall was the first top business school in the nation to reach gender parity in a full-time MBA program. The numbers tell a story of a school focused on ensuring that women are able to access and leverage the full range of opportunities a USC education provides.

In partnership with the Forté Foundation, USC Marshall is helping to launch women into fulfilling, significant careers through access to business education, opportunities and a network of like-minded peers. Begun with a focus on increasing the number of women pursuing an MBA, in 2018 Forté expanded its outreach to undergraduate women. Its Rising Stars program, in which USC Marshall is a leading participant, assists undergraduates as they explore business careers. Forté also expanded its college conferences by launching the Women of Color Business Leadership Conference.

Data from Forté shows that only six percent of Fortune 500 CEOs and 21 percent of S&P board members are women. They also reveal that only 36 percent of MBA graduates are female, compared to 50 percent in law and medical schools. USC Marshall collaborates with Forté to address these disparities with tools and programs tailored for women at every stage—enabling them to benefit from application and GMAT preparation support, business and leadership conferences, fellowships, networking and more.

Additionally, USC Marshall is a member of Deloitte and Universities Enabling Together (DUET), a partnership between the industry-leading audit, consulting, tax and advisory powerhouse and select universities. As part of DUET, USC Marshall is building both short- and long-term initiatives to increase diversity in the talent pipeline, including raising awareness among women about exciting career opportunities in the field.

One of the ways in which USC Marshall addresses issues of gender equity is by securing critical funds to support women as they pursue business education. Studies show that MBA programs struggle to attract women, in part because of the age at which students typically pursue the degree (their late 20s or early 30s, a time when many women begin to consider starting families). A USC Marshall scholarship for women MBAs age 30 and older—made possible by a visionary $4 million gift from alumna Marilyn Beaudry-Corbett ’53 MS ’61—seeks to even the educational playing field. USC Marshall is also pleased to offer the Leslie Adkins ’15 Memorial Scholarship in honor of the late MBA alumna. Adkins’ family’s generosity allows female students in the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, of which USC Marshall is a proud member, to pursue their education and make an impact in their communities.

The annual ATHENA conference at USC is another example of how the school nurtures ambition and highlights achievement among women on campus and beyond. This past year, the conference— geared toward women entrepreneurs—attracted more than 500 participants.

USC Marshall has also proven itself to be a groundbreaker in supporting women with careers in technology. For instance, it was the first business school to partner with Girls Who Code (a national nonprofit working to close the gender gap in technology by teaching computer science to high school girls) to host summer immersion programs.

This year, on the heels of reaching gender parity in full-time MBA admissions, USC Marshall hosted the first Everyone’s Business Global Case Competition. Bringing teams from 12 elite business schools from around the world to USC, the competition inspired students to work on the lack of gender equity in global business.

USC Marshall takes pride in the wide variety of campus organizations blazing a trail for women. Graduate Women in Business was founded more than 25 years ago, joining students, staff, faculty, alumni and all other members of the Trojan Family in a collaboration to help women reach their full professional potential. Marshall Women’s Leadership Board—a forum for talented women to share ideas and experiences, learn about diverse career paths, network and build essential business skills—is USC’s oldest organization dedicated to female undergraduates.

Fostering a diverse environment that prioritizes gender equity is central to USC Marshall’s mission and core values. By training its graduates to be dynamic and inclusive leaders, USC Marshall lays the groundwork for a vibrant society that helps women and men stretch, grow and thrive.

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