The pane may be thinner, but the glass ceiling is still very much intact.
Women remain underrepresented at all levels of leadership, accounting for 48 percent of all entry-level positions but making up just 21 percent of C-Suite executives, according to McKinsey’s most recent Women in the Workplace study.
The statistics may seem bleak, but it’s not all doom and gloom.
A string of recent studies have found there is a positive correlation between women in senior management roles and overall company performance. In fact, all evidence suggests that a gender mix at the senior level significantly boosts the bottom line.
Despite this, women still face many obstacles when it comes to career progression.
The ‘boys’ club’ nature of business is just one reason often cited for why women find it harder to climb the corporate ladder. A tight-knit network of men, often formed at business school, can seem impossible to penetrate if you weren’t part of it from the beginning.
But that’s not the case at the International School of Management (ISM) in Paris, where 43 percent of the students in its IMBA, DBA, and PhD programs are female.
Along with teaching the hard and soft skills that every business leader needs to be successful, ISM helps students get into leadership positions by introducing them to business networks while they study.
"We are also connecting students to a community of like-minded people, who can mentor them and help them through the process,” explains Alison Knight, General Director at ISM.
And it's clearly working.
Just ask Kimberly Reeve, an alumnus of the PhD program at ISM. Her time at the business school successfully enabled her to develop a network that, since graduating, has become integral to her career.
“It gave me the chance to make professional connections around the world. Now I have access to other professionals and academicians in this space.”
Kimberly found the professors at ISM played a crucial role in helping her to take the next career step by introducing her to their own networks.
“One of my professors helped me navigate the system and make connections at an academic conference. This provided me with opportunities to participate in additional academic research and writing.”
Before receiving her PhD from ISM, it had been one of Kimberly’s career goals to teach at college level. Since graduating, she has had the opportunity to teach as an adjunct professor at two colleges in New York City.
“Having both practical business experience as well as academic training helped me quickly establish credibility with my colleagues and students.”
Kimberly isn’t the only ISM graduate who has seen career progression following her studies.
The most recent ISM Alumni Survey shows that 50 percent of PhD program graduates had gone on to get a promotion, while 45 percent have seen a salary increase since graduation.
Likewise, 42 percent of the alumni of the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program at ISM received a salary increase following graduation, with 42 percent getting a promotion in the two years preceding the survey.
For South African DBA candidate Sthu Zungu-Noel, an executive education at ISM has paved the way to career paths she may otherwise not have taken.
“The DBA broadened my view of things and allowed me to explore areas and opportunities I would never ordinarily have looked at,” says Sthu, who is the Founder and CEO of ZUZUTHO Consulting.
She believes her education at ISM is significantly contributing to her personal growth, along with giving her with the knowledge and confidence she needs to push forward with her career.
“I currently sit on a board of a great non-profit organisation and have found that my studies at ISM have tremendously enhanced my contribution to the board,” she says.
Much like Kimberly, the program has introduced Sthu to a whole new network of people and opened up more opportunities for her in the wider business world.
“I’ve met so many people and made new friends from all over the world in different fields and industries,” she enthuses, adding she has learnt a great deal from her new contacts.
Find out more about how an executive education at ISM can put you on the path to the C-Suite. Speak to a member of the Admissions Team.
This article was produced by The Local Client Studio and sponsored by ISM.