The Melbourne Business School, Chief Executive Women (CEW) and the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust (HMST) have launched new a scholarship to support emerging women leaders in the for-purpose sector.
The scholarship will give three recipients the opportunity to improve their leadership and management skills at Australia’s leading business school with a full tuition scholarship – worth $120,000 – to complete an MBS Executive MBA.
“This scholarship will be life changing for women and organisations in the sector,” said Deidre Willmott, Chair of the Scholarship Committee at Chief Executive Women, whose members include more than 1000 leaders across Australia’s corporate, public service, academic and for-purpose sectors.
“CEW advocates for diverse women leaders at every decision-making table,” she said.
“More and more women are stepping up as CEOs and leaders in the for-purpose sector, but we have a way to go until the number of women in senior executive roles reflects the makeup of the workforce across the sector.”
A boost for women and their organisations
Women represent around 80 per cent of the for-purpose workforce and are more likely to volunteer their time and money than men, but they remain under-represented at the board level.
Catherine Walter AM, Chair of the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust, one of Victoria’s most respected and generous charities for women, said the new scholarship would provide a much-needed boost to women in the sector – as well as the organisations they work for.
“Social purpose organisations are critical for a sustainable, fair and inclusive society,” she said.
“Supporting their leaders to help them innovate and adapt to changing economic, social and political contexts, while developing sustainable revenue streams, will enhance the impact and longevity of these critical organisations.”
Professor Caron Beaton-Wells, Dean, Internal at Melbourne Business School, said the CEW and HMST Scholarship would give three Victorian-based women leaders at for-purpose organisations the deep and practical business knowledge they need for success.
“Melbourne Business School has a long-standing collaboration with the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust to advance women in leadership and build capability in the social-purpose sector,” she said.
“It’s wonderful to have their support in this partnership with CEW to develop talented women in the sector, who will contribute even more to their organisations and the community through this opportunity.”
Making high-quality education more accessible
The new scholarship will allow women in the for-purpose sector to continue working while they study Melbourne Business School’s top-ranked Executive MBA, which is delivered in intensive four-day modules spread over 18 months.
During each module, students live and study on campus from Thursday to Sunday, away from the distractions of work and home. The program also includes an international module in Asia.
Ms Willmott said making high-quality business education more accessible would have a meaningful impact on the career of women leaders in the for-purpose sector.
“A scholarship is one of the most direct ways to accelerate the career of a high-potential woman and help her break through to senior leadership,” she said.
“An Executive MBA from Australia’s leading business school will give three outstanding women what they need to step up and lead organisations that make a critical difference in the lives of Australians every day.”
Prof Beaton-Wells said the scholarship would provide support for women at a critical stage of their career and she was excited by the opportunity it created for people from different sectors to learn from each other in the classroom.
“It’s hard for talented women to advance their career through work or study, especially if they have caring responsibilities,” she said.
“Our MBA students thrive on the diversity we help create in the classroom, which means women from not-for-profits will be highly valued for the different perspective they bring to discussions.”