This post is part of the series: Women in leadership positions – only with a share or what? (1/4)
A whitewashed, light-flooded room with high ceilings, students from different parts of the world are sitting in a semicircle in front of their laptops opened this afternoon. Discussions are held in English with the teacher, who is standing in front of a smartboard with a headset. Topic: Profitable Growth Strategies. Whoever is sitting here wants a career in management and, depending on the course, has years of professional experience in the field. In all, students have three business training options at the European School of Management and Technology, ESMT for short – all expensive courses. Private school requires up to 50,000 euros. That’s why there are already scholarship programs – and for some years now there have also been special funding for women, explains Stefanie Kluth, head of the admissions office at ESMT:
“I have a little feeling that women have less money: maybe they have lower incomes, they don’t have savings, or they want to invest it in something else. I don’t know if it doesn’t also play a role that women, because they have children, are more likely to take longer breaks, or who are more likely to work part-time, and so on. “
Women who have passed a demanding test at the school are included in the financial support. This means that part of the university fees will be exempt. Many also get the support of their companies or apply for a personal loan, like Nina Walter. The 33-year-old Briton completed his Executive MBA at the Berlin school last April:
“I couldn’t do it without a scholarship. Sure, an MBA is expensive, but without help it would be very difficult.”
diversity in companies
Stefanie Kluth from the Admissions Office goes on to explain that the goal of women’s scholarships at ESMT is to increase the percentage of female students in the school. In her experience, companies demand more and more of her. Key word: diversity. So when selecting students, pay attention to the candidates’ profile:
“If I now have only one type of student, maybe just engineers, who all have an average of five or six years of professional experience and have done projects and who are all just men, then it’s definitely nice for them to have one. Have one. exchange and the possibility of feeling something we have in common. But you learn the most interesting things from a different person “.
However, this idea of diversity hasn’t caught on yet, especially in conservative companies, reports Andreas Bernhardt, lecturer and head coach at ESMT. That’s why women in management positions often face different challenges than men. For example, it’s about assertiveness:
“If you hire a male-only team in a male-dominated company, the teams are often used to a certain management style and the women don’t necessarily copy this original managerial culture, but have a different approach, which often leads to more questions, which is a very effective form of leadership, which can sometimes be interpreted as a weakness in a very male-dominated culture. “
Special coaching for future managers
According to Bernhardt, it is important here to encourage future female managers in their management style. To give you the means to establish yourself and win the trust of colleagues and employees. Since this year, ESMT women have been given the tools to do this in special coaching sessions. Here they also learn to face their strengths and weaknesses more confidently and to apply for a job even if they do not already meet all the desired criteria:
“A classic pattern that I often see is that women first try to develop the skills and then take on the role when they are 100% complete. Men are braver there and say at 50%: ‘I would love to have this position, it’s a challenge, I think I’ll be successful. ‘ That’s where women can really develop. “
More female leadership
Bernhardt reports from experience that women should also be braver when it comes to networking. She encourages students to make strategic contacts at higher management levels, which can be useful for their careers. The executive consultant firmly believes that someday there will be more women in the executive plans of large corporations, “especially when corporate decision makers look to the research that greater diversity definitely leads to better business success. It’s about the difference in thinking. , it’s about the variety of idea generation and the variety of skills that we flexibly put together. “
However, Andreas Bernhardt remains pessimistic when it comes to the question of how quickly this knowledge will prevail among the mostly male board members of companies.