Saturday, March 03, 2007

Girls at INSEAD

A short stop-over in a fast technological frontier catch-up is a pretence to talk about one burning topic at INSEAD: Women participants recruitment. Some top Minister where I'm visiting now has just said in the news that to increase further, and sustain the current rapid growth, the country would need its women to participate in the economy.
I'm sure the subject of girls at INSEAD will please the male readership as well...

The issue: some people claim that it is easier to access INSEAD as a woman, hence hinting that the level of female participants is lower than that of their male counterparts.
The facts: women's presence in the MBA has grown from 17% to 25% in just 2 years, and still growing. It is a clear INSEAD priority.
Additional facts: Women in MBA is a assessment criterion of the FT ranking. INSEAD in lower than any other Top 10 on that. Women's average age is far less than men's.
The myths: Share of Dean's listers is proportionally higher for guys, INSEAD has admission quotas (both unverified).

My experience: I have had girls in my project teams. I enjoy working with them. I don't know if it's luck -in which case I'm extremely blessed- but all girls in my teams have been awesome: assertive, bright, hard-working, yet much fun. I have not experienced any Princess syndrom -I would not have tolerated it anyway, neither would they. In the end, I believe that it's NPV that counts, and NPV does not care about the past. It's not so much about who's the brightest, but rather who will bring value to the School and to the other participants.

To bring the debate further: Is INSEAD a right place for minorities?
Given its culture of tolerance, cultural openness (with a slight tendency to PC), I would say so. But then don't expect anything as entrenched as in US B-schools. For one thing, 10 months is way too short to have anything like Minority issues very hot. I know that the Womens group have had special sessions with the Negotiations Professor: Salary negotiations with Women, or something like this.

I'll try to get people involved to speak up for you guys... and girls.
In the meantime, last days of break, and first P4 assignment due this Monday.


Welcome to the first Australians, Swedes, Israeli, and Taiwanese.

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