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4 Ways Women Can Thrive In Business School

You’ve come a long way, baby.

But there’s still a ways to go.

Women have received plenty of advice on how to succeed at work. Lean in. Speak up. Take credit. Talk louder. Accept praise. Take up space. Be decisive. Stop deferring, repeating, and hedging. And quit caring so much about what others think.

You belong – act like it!

This advice boils down to one thing: Confidence. Too often, women are perceived as soft and indirect. They build relationships and consensus at the expense of their careers. And they’re perennially terrified of being labeled with the b-word.

Of course, this mindset can also manifest itself at business school, where women are heavily outnumbered by men.  In this environment, women can struggle with doubt and fail to assert themselves too. So how can women overcome these self-limiting behaviors in the classroom? US News and World Report suggests four ways:

1) Raise Your Hand: Amy Hillman, Dean of the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State, advises women to prepare three to five ideas they can contribute to class discussions to build their confidence and credibility. She adds that women can also save their points until the end of discussion to give them the “decisive and final word.”

2) Speak With Authority: Too often, women qualify their ideas with denigrators like “I don’t know if this is right” according to Daria Burke, Founder and CEO of Black MBA Women. In the end, such phrases only make the point (and the speaker) less convincing.

3) Look Professional: Appearances matter. They communicate who you are. As Burke notes, “Don’t wear anything [to class] that you wouldn’t wear in front of your co-workers.”

4) Talk With Professors: What’s the secret to getting called on in class? Talk to your professor after class so they can see that you have valuable insights and experience to contribute.

Source: US News and World Report

actonStartup School: An MBA Designed For Entrepreneurs, Not I-Bankers


Itching to become an entrepreneur…but can’t afford the six figure tuition at Palo Alto or Ann Arbor? Maybe you should head down to Austin, Texas – but not to check out McCombs. Instead, stick your head into the Acton School of Business, the emerging hotbed of entrepreneurial education.  Ranked near the top 10 in The Princeton Review’s ranking of graduate entrepreneurship programs – despite a 24 student enrollment – Acton is turning business education upside down. And they’re doing it with a nine month accredited program that costs less than $50,000.

What makes Acton so different? Start with the curriculum. Acton doesn’t teach disciplines like finance and marketing as separate entities. Instead, they’re integrated within the entrepreneurial process of launching, growing, and selling a business. Then, take a look at their faculty, who are volunteers and entrepreneurs themselves. In fact, Acton bills their faculty as a team that has built businesses with $4.5 billion dollars in assets (and counting). In fact, Acton grounds itself as a teaching institution whose faculty doesn’t publish research (though they hold advanced degrees from academic powerhouses like Harvard, Stanford, and Booth).

So how does Acton work? It starts with a four month online curriculum, where students learn the basics of finance and Harvard’s case method. In the spring program held in Austin, students begin study group at 6 a.m., with another four hours devoted to classroom time discussing assigned cases. In fact, 100 hours a week is the normal spring study load. Acton also prides itself on assigning unusual challenges, such as sending students door-to-door to sell children’s books or negotiating 80 percent markdowns on full-priced merchandise. In other words, students perform the thankless grunt work so key to growing a business.

Acton was founded in 2002 by Jeff Sandefer, a Harvard MBA, entrepreneur, and millionaire, who spent over a dozen years growing the graduate entrepreneurship program at the University of Texas-Austin. After leaving his post, Sandefer built the Acton program to provide a lower cost, shorter time alternative to the MBA program. Currently, Acton is also offering a shorter online program and licensing parts of its curriculum. Still, Acton remains focused on its biggest asset: Its real world curriculum and business savvy faculty. And Sandefer never forgets why he started Acton:

“…we saw our best and brightest students going into consulting, investment banking, private equity–and they would come back five years later making a lot of money and hating their lives.”

In Acton, Sandefer may have found the solution: Helping students learn how to run a business of their own.

To learn more about the Acton School of Business, click here: Acton

Source: Forbes