Mills breaks ground on MBA school

April 10, 2008 6:51:57 PM PDT
One of the first women's colleges in the nation used a creative stunt Thursday to call attention to its upcoming new home for MBA programs. Mills College, in Oakland, broke ground for a new building in a very different way -- by literally breaking the glass ceiling.

By shattering the proverbial glass ceiling, the West Coast's only all-women MBA school has started construction on the new Lorry Lokey Graduate School of Business. It's a green grass topped eco-friendly design that will replace the former preschool that has served as home to MBA students for the last seven years.

"We are today going to break ground officially for Mills next bold move forward," said Janet Holmgren, president of Mills College.

While law and medical schools have equal numbers of men and women enrolled, it's not so in business schools. In the Bay Area, from Berkeley to Santa Clara, only about one-third of the MBA students are women. That gives an all-women business school a special focus.

"All of our students have a foundation in economic theory, quantitative methods, in accounting and in finance, and all of those fields are important if you want to get to the CEO position of a corporation, I think for women in particular," said Nancy Thornborrow, dean of the Graduate School of Business.

But the newest generation of MBA grads admire more than women CEOs.

"Small business owners who are women really are my role models because they have taken the initiative to go out and create their own businesses," said Jacqueline Famor, a Mills College MBA student.

The impact of women-owned businesses on the economy is growing.

The U.S. Small Business Administration says there are 9.1 million women-owned businesses, providing jobs for over 27 million workers and pumping $3.6 trillion into the economy, though the administration admits there is still a lot to be done to level the playing field for women entrepreneurs. An inspiring new MBA school for women in the East Bay is a step in that direction.


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