Women and B School


This post of part of a series sponsored by Pinchot. Read more here

20120512_BGI_Island-Wood-Intensive_248smThe New Yorker recently published “Why Women Should Skip Business School” where they recommended that “a woman should ask herself whether her time is best spent listening to male classmates openly ruminate on whom they would ‘kill, sleep with or marry.'”

We see it a bit differently. Bainbridge Graduate Institute (BGI) is a business school where women make up the majority of our student population (53.8 percent in 2010, 56.1 percent in 2011, 60.6 percent in 2012 and expected 62 percent in 2013). BGI alumni, including women, work in every sector. They are corporate citizens, nonprofit innovators, civic leaders, and successful entrepreneurs.

Consider these thoughts by a few of our faculty, alumni, and students:

“Not all business schools are created equal. Some are created more equal than others.

At BGI, roughly half of our students are women and they have a major impact on the school’s values and culture, which include an emphasis on collaboration (vs. competition), coaching (vs. discipline), and supporting the earth’s resources (vs. extracting and exploiting them). All of these have been widely hailed as traditional ‘female’ virtues that are likely to be crucial to our future on the planet — as people, let alone business people.

The real reason to go to business school is to build a lifelong network of colleagues with whom to do one’s work in the world. At BGI, our mission is ‘changing business for good’ and we’re pleased to be building a strong network of women and men committed to using business as an agent of social change.”

Jill Bamburg
BGI Co-founder, Former Dean, and current Director of Curriculum Development

“Numerous articles have been referencing the value of feminine leadership qualities in business. The problem is not that two years at business school is wrong for women. It’s that most programs, HBS especially, are built for men and reinforce the old male paradigm that contributed to the excessive risk taking and irresponsible decision making that led to the recession. There are many other options for MBAs of a different pedagogy, BGI being first among them. I was classmate to young and future mothers, executives and entrepreneurs, fathers and grandmothers. The MBA does not have to ‘take’ two years of your life. Instead it can fit with a full time job and/or raising children, without $180K of debt and lost wages or childbearing years. All potential business leaders, not just women, need to be more critical of the high price of money and time in a program like HBS and consider the alternatives that teach a more balanced (financially, time, and leadership wise) approach to business.”

Suzanne E Pinckney
BGI Class of 2012
Co-Founder & Owner, sustainABILITY simplicated

“I’ve earned both a BS in Business Administration from the University of New Hampshire and an MBA from Bainbridge Graduate Institute. My studies and the connections I made in business school created opportunities that led me to a meaningful career path. I am a successful entrepreneur in large part because of my business school experience.”

Allison Grappone
BGI Class of 2009
Founder and CEO of the newly launched Nearby Registry

“Business school changed my life. Specifically, Bainbridge Graduate Institute changed my life. I chose BGI because it wasn’t Harvard or Stanford or Yale. The program’s promise wasn’t that it would make me a millionaire. The promise was that it would show me how to be a leader and how to change the world through business. And so it did. My MBA helped me join a USAID sponsored team formed to advise several post-war Balkan nations on how to fundamentally change their development and tourism practices to ensure a sustainable future. My MBA helped me secure a position with a United Nations Foundation program, Global Sustainable Tourism Council, where we worked to create a global standard and definition of what sustainable tourism should be. My MBA made me truly consider what kind of leader I wanted to be and helped me to inspire others to pursue their dreams and fulfill their potential. Through this I now find myself the Chair of T-Mobile’s Women’s Leadership Network with the mission of growing women leaders from within. Business school is not for everyone, true. For those who do decide to pursue an MBA it can open doors and opportunities beyond everyone else’s expectations.”

Janice Lichtenwaldt
BGI Class of 2010
Sr. Product Manager, T-Mobile
Chair, T-Mobile Women’s Leadership Network

“Ms. Hemphill neglects to consider that the past is not indicative of the future. Business school is changing and models of success evolving. While Harvard may be slow to change, Harvard is not the only show in town. Innovative business schools like Bainbridge Graduate Institute are flipping past ideas of success on their head. They are not only teaching environmentally sustainable and regenerative business models, but are empowering women leaders to transform business so that it works for them, too. The tragedy of the women’s liberation movement (aka the 1970s) is that women were merely allowed into the male working world, with no change in structure or hours, apologetic for their obligations as women and mothers. For women to contribute fully in society, a new model is needed, one where women can be women, proudly and fully. What’s wrong with choosing jobs that are family friendly and have reasonable hours? I have actively sought a role where I can have flexibility because I care deeply about my family and my career and I want to succeed at both. As the mother of two young boys, my MBA has empowered me to create a life I care to live. I hold a Director level position at a sustainable investment firm, work with colleagues I respect immensely, and have the flexibility to work from a home office, which saves me 15 hours of commuting time per week and allows me time to nurse my baby. Society’s often narrow view of success neglects the whole picture, the whole person, the whole system. Women are creators in every sense of the word, and a woman MBA is empowered to choose her own path, and in doing so create a new system, one that works for her.”

Natasha Lamb
BGI Class of 2007
Portfolio Manager, Director of Equity Research and Shareholder Engagement, Arjuna Capital

I sought my MBA for its versatility, network, and the new material. And I only sought my MBA after I learned of BGI. If you told me three years ago I would be in business school, you would have been met with an expression of disbelief and offense by the mere association of myself and the culture I originally associated with that branch of academia. Halfway through my experience at BGI, I feel like I have already been slingshotted upon a path that speaks to my true self, and how I want to interact with my local and the global community. It’s one thing to get an education and to get your MBA; it’s another thing to be a part of a movement that is challenging not only what we do, but how we think and do things.

Alana Kambury
MBA Candidate at the Bainbridge Graduate Institute, Class of 2014
Intern at Cria Global

It’s true, the challenges facing business and our world today cannot be solved within the paradigm of traditional business schools. The answers needed to transform a growth-based economy that is beginning to wake up to a finite planet, feed 9 billion people and manage the transition to a Regenerative Economy, or understand why women-led businesses are more profitable cannot be found in 40-year-old case studies or traditional accounting and finance classes. That’s why BGI entrepreneured the business school of the future. BGI students learn Integrated Bottom Line accounting, why diversity is a business imperative, and the business case for sustainability from the practitioners who invented the concepts and remain the thought leaders in the field. There are perhaps 10 business schools in the country in which sustainability is woven throughout every class. BGI was the first, and remains the one teaching the others.

Hunter Lovins, J.D.
BGI Faculty
President of Natural Capitalism Solutions

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Bainbridge Graduate Institute prepares students from diverse backgrounds to design, lead, and evolve enterprises in pursuit of the common good. Degrees include MBAs in Sustainable Business and Sustainable Systems, an MA in Organizational Leadership, and Certificates in Sustainable Energy Solutions, Sustainable Food and Agricultural Systems, and Sustainable Built Environment. Learn more at bgi.edu or by contacting admissions@bgi.edu.

Pinchot University

Pinchot, a university for the common good, is a pioneer in sustainable business and transformational leadership. Housed under Pinchot are both the Bainbridge Graduate Institute and Organizational Systems Renewal schools as well as the Pinchot Edge school of professional development and Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship.A recognized leader in building collaborative learning environments, Pinchot offers hybrid format programs with robust digital learning and campuses in Seattle and Bainbridge Island, WA. Pinchot builds on the intellectual capacity of its home region to shape change agents, from startup entrepreneurs to leaders of the world’s largest organizations, who drive a conversation committed to the common good.

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