In looking at the fields of medicine and law, compared to business related arenas, the numbers of women seeking out education and beginning their professional lives in previously male dominated callings have been increasing for decades. With 48% of medical school graduates being female in 2011, as stated by statehealthfacts.org, and from 2009-2010, 47% of law school students being female, reported on the ABA Journal’s website, the banking school average of 20% females shows a large disparity in the male - female ratio but also represents a HUGE opportunity for females.
Business schools have become the new “go-to” for females seeking out graduate degrees, and in light of this unbalanced ratio, business schools are starting to recruit females more aggressively as well. According to Fortune.cnn.com, the number of women seeking out MBAs in 2010 was the highest it has ever been (1 in 3), and with record numbers of women seeking out graduate degrees in business fields like accounting and finance, the imbalance of genders will certainly continue to see a narrowing margin.
What Glass Ceiling?
Large numbers of women seeking out graduate degrees have a few years of experience in the working world and see the need to develop their level of talent with further education. The return on their educational investment is manifested sooner with a graduate degree in hand. The dreaded fear of being stuck with lateral move options or becoming “pigeonholed” in a position can prompt an upwardly mobile lady to consider graduate school. And let’s not forget that this 21st century lady needs to maintain the most impressive resume, with all the credentials available, in order to keep up with and hopefully beat out the competition, whether male or female.
A graduate degree in banking can give a leg up on paper- yes. But hey, we all know that women and men choose to seek out graduate degrees for different reasons. Research from the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) has shown that women opt for graduate school to develop their management skills, to add those professional credentials to their repertoire, to grow marketability and competitiveness in their field, and to gain personal satisfaction and sense of achievement. On the flip side of the gender coin, men seeking graduate degrees were primarily looking to increase their technical and operational challenge handling skills. Regardless of the reason for initially heading out on the quest for a graduate degree, we can all see that a female WILL build her confidence, bolster her place in the workforce, and grow stronger in her individual identity, as she blasts through that glass ceiling.
The Changing Landscape
According to Catalyst, 47% of the workforce is female. Women hold 14% of executive level positions in the US and 16.6% of all public company board seats are filled with female representatives, as reflected in the 2012 Catalyst Census: Fortune 500. This report also states that the NAICS category of Finance & Insurance sectors has 19% female representation on its boards- one of the highest. So, it seems that despite the disproportionate number of male to female executives, there is an active movement to increase gender diversity in these financial institutions.
American Banker's Barbara Rehm, concludes that one index that points directly to executive positions are corporate board seats. Internationally, countries such as Norway, France, and Australia have government mandates of gender equality in definitive percentages for board seat filling. Rehm notes that, “In 2009, the Securities and Exchange Commission approved rules requiring management of publicly-held companies to disclose their companies' consideration of "diversity" (which the SEC does not define) in the nominating process for board members.” So, there are initiatives underway to see more women in the ranks of banking institutions and corporate boards of banks.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2011 women represented these sectors accordingly:
|Banking & Related Activities||63.30%|
|Savings Institutions, including Credit Unions||72.30%|
|Securities, Commodities, Funds, Trusts, and other Financial Institutions||38.70%|
Been There, Conquered That
In 2012, American Banker’s magazine announced its 10th annual “Most Powerful Women In Banking” awards. The 25 recipients of this award represent a driven and powerful sampling of the banking world and how success can be achieved at the highest levels for females. In addition to their numerous accolades, both personal and professional, all of these banking superstars have encountered the challenge of being female in a male dominated corporate world. Virtually, all of them can begin their story with having found a mentor and seeking out specialized banking education to catapult their careers forward, fueled with strong perseverance, networking, and maintaining a sense of humor through it all.
GSBLSU and You
The first step on the road to C-level offices for females is education and showing the desire to compete within a world currently populated largely of men. Developing your talent at the Graduate School of Banking at LSU can be a pivotal point in any lady’s banking career and investing back into yourself shows not only on your resume but in your corporate self-confidence and your individual brand or identity. The Graduate School of Banking at LSU has a freshman class of 20% females currently. This ratio is a huge opportunity for any female and a great place to network among potential colleagues. How better to become accustomed to an environment than to train in one?
If the trends in medicine and law carry over to banking graduate school degrees, any woman currently enrolled in GSBLSU will be an early adopter that will have paved the way for so many other females to follow. And, if the numbers of women continue to increase on boards and the corporate diversity begins to levelize, any female starting the trek to that C-level office will now will be the ones shifting those numbers tomorrow!
The GSBLSU brocure, with more specific course information, can be viewed here. And, if you'd like even more reasons why GSBLSU is a great fit for furthering your banking career, click the link below!
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