HHL MBA Student Shalini Dave

HHL MBA Program: Highest percentage of female students in the world

by Stefanie Sanches | August 05, 2021
A diverse classroom also means an enriched and inclusive learning experience for our students. We asked full-time MBA student Shalini Dave to share her experience as one of the women in the current MBA program with the HHL community.

MBA program bridging the gender gap

As an international business school, we believe it is our responsibility to create a study environment that welcomes, encourages and fosters diversity, equity and inclusion. We are therefore especially proud that HHL stands out among business schools across the world with the highest percentage of female MBA students in the world, namely 65 percent.

A diverse classroom also means an enriched and inclusive learning experience for our students. An MBA is an opportunity to come out of your comfort zone, to gain new perspectives, to broaden your horizons. For this reason, we are thrilled to have so many women, so many nationalities, and so many academic and professional backgrounds represented in our current MBA class.

“Everyone talks about gender parity, but HHL has taken a real step in the direction of bridging the gender gap.” – Shalini

We asked full-time MBA student Shalini Dave to share their experience as one of the women in the current MBA program with the HHL community.

Women in Business Interview: Shalini Dave

Shalini, why did you decide on HHL for your MBA studies?

I applied to HHL because of its highly recognized full-time MBA program and the wide array of opportunities it creates for a successful career in business. Even though I was not looking at women-specific factors, it is a welcoming change to see more women than men in a management class.

Percentage of female MBA students

Everyone talks about gender parity, but HHL has taken a real step in the direction of bridging the gender gap. The diversity in our class is the result of several years of hard work by the management. In my interaction with the MBA program director, Prof. Dr. Vivek Velamuri, he seems very passionate about doing his bit in achieving a fair society for both genders.

The power of a strong ally

It is heart-warming to see someone from the other gender acknowledging the gap and trying to do something to improve the situation. And he proves the point that ‘men can play the role of a strong ally in our pursuit of equal opportunities’.

About Shalini Dave Read more

Shalini Dave is a full-time MBA student at HHL. She has 5+ years of work experience in Strategy, Board Governance, and IT Consulting. As a future leader, she wants to work towards incorporating ethics and sustainability as core drivers of business strategy. She believes this is the most fitting way for driving social and environmental change.

Why are diversity and women’s representation in business (schools) so important?

I feel that higher participation of women boosts individual confidence and helps to get over the hesitation of speaking up and sharing honest opinions. At every step, I see women supporting and helping other women and motivating each other. The varied personal, educational and professional backgrounds also add to the diverse flavour. Most importantly, it gives me hope that one day we will overcome the gender gap and become an equal society.

I believe every single step forward by a female enables many others to follow suit.

With more participation of women in business schools, we will have a higher number of women becoming business managers. This will influence the values of businesses and recast their policies and strategies going forward. With a wider range of opinions, healthier debates and prolific discussions, we will achieve better decision-making to make business more responsible and even more successful.

Culturally diverse MBA classes are nothing new at HHL. However, for the first time in almost two decades of my teaching tenure, I was absolutely delighted to have taught an MBA class with a clear majority of female students. The current MBA class is one of the most cooperative classes I can remember. The students were able to learn from each other and benefit from their natural approaches both in terms of value creation as well as value claiming. Diversity pays off also in negotiation!

Prof. Dr. Remigiusz Smolinski
Innovation and Negotiation Professor

What advice do you have for women in business?

Till the time we create a fair world for everyone, we, the women, must be each other’s support system. We must encourage each other to go out of our comfort zone to explore our full potential and let us not settle for anything less than what we deserve. ‘Believe in yourself and believe in others’ – I can already feel this spirit at HHL.

Encourage female empowerment

I believe every single step taken by a female in the forward direction enables many others to follow suit. What I am today has only been possible because women of the earlier generations have paved the way for me to follow my dreams. And I would consider myself successful if I am able to inspire and enable at least one woman to hold onto her aspirations.

Celebrating a high percentage of female MBA students

There are economic reasons to push for diversity: research shows that more diverse teams lead to more innovative solutions. But there are also intrinsic reasons to want to see more diverse individuals in leadership positions: we cannot exclude large sections of our population from decision-making positions. For this reason, it is incredibly important for us – as a business school that aims to educate the leaders of tomorrow – to create an environment that welcomes, encourages and fosters diversity, equity and inclusion.

Check out our Women Interview Series

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