I would like to share some of the conversations I had with college-age kids, specifically young women, during the holidays. Fortunately, we are in a location with good access to a cross-section of college students and I am in a position to interact with many of them at parties and gatherings during holiday break. I spoke with several young women from both state and private schools; from Princeton to Stanford to the University of Washington. Below are a few primary observations and related profiles I have selected to share with you.
Most of the students I spoke with were seniors in college. In general, the girls I conversed with impressed me as being more mature than boys their same age. In full disclosure I have two sons. I am not sure if expectations make a difference or cloud my judgement here, but nevertheless I wanted the situation to be noted.
Along with being more mature, most young women at around the age of 22 also seemed to be more directed to me. One girl I spoke with who is a senior in college has an internship that will lead to a job after she graduates. Another young lady graduated last spring and has started a job in Seattle. She spoke with me very intelligently about “T” careers, which is having horizontal breadth of communication and interaction across teams and vertical specialization within your professional area of expertise. She emphasized the importance of needing both sets of attributes or skills to grow with jobs today.
The final young woman who stood out to me was the youngest I conversed with during winter break. She is a freshman in college who works 30 hours a week, goes to classes full-time, and runs a small portrait business on the side. I was impressed with both her enthusiasm and initiative.
If larger numbers of MBA schools act upon their commitments to recruit more women, such as young ladies I spoke with over the holidays, the future of the MBA degree will rest upon more of a solid foundation. The result, I predict, will be more women who continue to rise in leadership roles and business professions in 2017.