Agnes Scott College initiatives target women in business

As part of a long standing initiative to create more opportunities for women, Agnes Scott College recently developed a degree program for business management at its Decatur, Georgia, campus.

These initiatives began three years ago with the Bridge to Business program (now called Women’s Bridge to Business), a three-week summer course at Georgia Tech that introduces female participants to a potential Master’s in Business Administration.

“They get a chance to meet with women CEOs and work on their soft skills,” said Dr. Carolyn Stefanco, vice president of academic affairs and dean of Agnes Scott College. “As a result of that, they have a better idea if a business career might be in their future.”

Courtesy of Agnes Scott College, copyright 2012.

Agnes Scott is a residential women’s college with just under 1,000 students, many of whom are women of color. The school’s motto is “the world for women,” and they’re committed to empowering women and preparing them for the 21st century world, with an eye on leadership upon graduation.

The new business management program and the other initiatives for Agnes Scott fall right into this goal, as only 4.4 percent of CEOs at Fortune 500 companies are women. Additionally, women hold just 14.3 percent of executive officer positions and 16.6 percent of Board of Director seats.

“Knowing that, we have a long way to go to reach equity or parity,” Stefanco said. “Agnes Scott wants to do our part in supporting students who want to pursue business and change the dynamic for women in business.”

Since the Bridge to Business program was “wildly successful,” the College decided to start a business management major and minor. The idea was proposed about one month ago, passed by a unanimous vote, and will launch in Fall 2014.

Agnes Scott hired one new faculty member for the program – a woman with experience and expertise in business, law, nonprofit management and theology. They’ll use professors from other fields, like economics and accounting, to round out the business classes.

The school also has a Memorandum of Understanding with Georgia Tech for an MBA linkage program. Juniors majoring in anything at Agnes Scott can apply, and they’ll get two years of advising from Georgia Tech faculty, membership in a women in management group, and a GMAT prep course. Then, after working for two to three years in the business field, participants are guaranteed an interview with Georgia Tech’s MBA program.

Stefanco anticipates the minor in business management will be popular among students in other majors as a way to supplement their major fields of study as well. “The minor lends itself to many other traditional liberal arts fields,” she said.

All of these initiatives serve a major purpose: giving Agnes Scott students an opportunity to succeed in business.

“Business is the number one major in the country,” Stefanco said. “While we know that a liberal arts background can prepare you for a career in business, students might not see that connection. We wanted to make sure we were offering what students want.”