New Georgetown MBA Course Focuses on Women Leaders

Georgetown MBAGeorgetown’s McDonough School of Business has further expanded its efforts to groom young female leaders through a new MBA course titled Developing Women Leaders: Cultivating your Human and Social Capital, the school recently announced.

Professor Catherine Tinsley, who has been instrumental in building the Georgetown University Women’s Leadership Initiative (GUWLI), created the six-week course. The GUWLI is a program that aims to cultivate young female leaders and connect them with already established female leaders out in the world.

A series of conferences, networking events, and panels inspired Tinsley to create a course based on the three activities that she has found helpful in advancing and empowering women: rigorous research documenting gender dynamics, active workshops targeting specific practical skills women need to build their human and social capital, and listening to other women.

Tinsley notes that with all the technical skills and experience students bring from their previous modules, “This course is designed not to help them get a job, but to help them advance once they have a job.”

The second-year MBA course, which began in March, will be structured around the six human and social capital skills that Tinsley believes everyone needs to advance in their careers.

The course title might seem to indicate it is intended solely for women, but Tinsley says the examined skill set is one from which women and men both would benefit. As Tinsley comments, “There’s no skill that women need to have that men don’t need to have, so this course is about advancement and building your own capital.”

Though there is a great deal of advice about career advancement readily available to women today, very little of it is based on organized research. Similar courses on female leadership that exist at other institutions are generally based on specific case studies and focus on where real women have succeed and where they have faltered.

Developing Women Leaders differs in that it is fundamentally research-based course, drawing on results from large sample sizes.  Guest speakers will offer students context for these results and insights gleaned from years of experience in the business world.

In the first class, 30 women have enrolled from the full female cohort of 81, but no male students have yet enrolled, the Financial Times notes in a profile piece on Tinsley.

The  professor hopes they will eventually choose to join the course, telling Financial Times that men need to be open to discuss gender issues and what those issues mean to them. “It would be interesting and challenging to include them – it is a dialogue that needs to take place,” she says.


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