Stanford GSB Expands Course on Female Entrepreneurship
Stanford Graduate School of Business‘s course on female business leaders has become so popular it has a lengthy waiting list. According to a recent profile in Fortune, “Entrepreneurship from the Perspective of Women,” taught by Professor Fern Mandelbaum, will now be offered as a full, quarter course, beginning in 2015.
The idea for the course came ten years ago, when Professor Garth Saloner, currently dean of the Stanford GSB, created a two-week seminar on female entrepreneurship with the simple goal of exposing business students to a multitude of entrepreneurship examples.
According to the current course description, this seminar shows how successful women entrepreneurs navigated finding an idea, forming and building a team, being an effective leader, raising money, overcoming setbacks, and assembling a board. It also explores some of the unique challenges women face when approaching entrepreneurship.
“Something that we talk a lot about [in the class] is, ‘how do you use your differences as strengths?’” Mandelbaum tells Fortune. “And [these feelings] could come from being an Asian or African-American person or an introverted male. It’s not just women, but the fact of the matter is, 50 percent of the population is women, and many of them view their differences as weaknesses.”
Female enrollment at the Stanford GSB currently stands at 42%, and perceptions are evolving so that participants no longer view the topics covered in the course as women-specific issues; rather, they are simply people issues, and are important for anyone who wants to be successful in today’s diverse business environment.
“Everything in the class is as important for men as it is for women,” Mandelbaum says.