Oxford and the 30% Club work towards bridging the gender gap in the boardroom

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The winner of the first Oxford EMBA Scholarship for Women, offered in association with the 30% Club has been announced today

Arefe Khosravi, a commodity trader at TMT Metals AG has been awarded the first Oxford EMBA Scholarship for Women, offered in association with the 30% Club. Arefe will join the Oxford Executive MBA programme in January 2015.

‘It is a privilege to receive the Oxford EMBA scholarship which acknowledges the importance of supporting women to achieve excellence in business,’ said Arefe. ‘Business education, as with all education, is equally important for women and men. It happens to be that in business there remains an imbalance between women and men at senior level, but by ensuring that women are able to access higher level qualifications will allow them to progress through to senior leadership positions. As a 30% Club scholar I hope to become a role model for other aspiring female leaders and will support the mission of the initiative to encourage high potential colleagues strive for board level positions.’

The announcement was made at the 30% Club’s 'Nurturing Young Female Talent' event held at BNY Mellon today by Kathy Harvey, Director of the Executive MBA programme at Saïd Business School. She said the scholarship was a critical step towards ‘raising awareness of the benefits of a business education for aspiring women leaders.’

‘An Executive MBA can be a bridge to the kind of boardroom performance which should be within the grasp of many high potential women managers,’ said Kathy. ‘We hope that by working closely with the 30% Club, we can break through to women, and their employers, around the world and convince them of the benefits of investing in business education.

Women hold the potential to be truly transformational at board level and there is growing evidence of the value that they can bring. Having a homogenous team of like-minded employees will prevent creativity and the type of forward thinking that can allow companies to develop more quickly, particularly in addressing some of the challenges currently facing organisations. The skills and attributes in which women are known to excel – creating a compelling vision for their organisations, building effective, collaborative cross-disciplinary teams, and valuing honesty and candour to find and scale innovation – add balance to a board and improve effectiveness.’

Helena Morrissey, CBE, CEO of Newton Investment Management and Founder of the 30% Club said: ‘I am so thrilled about the new partnership between the 30% Club and Saïd Business School. The Oxford Executive MBA Scholarship for Women is a tremendous opportunity for talented women like Arefe to benefit from the world class EMBA offered by Saïd. I’d like to thank Saïd for their generosity in awarding this first 30% Club scholarship and look forward to a long term relationship, as we seek to build a continuum of change from schoolroom to boardroom.’

‘We are delighted that Arefe will be joining the Oxford EMBA programme,’ said Kathy Harvey. ‘Arefe’s passion for her chosen career, her determination to succeed in what has been, traditionally, a very male dominated arena, and her determination to act as a role model for other women who are seeking to make a difference to their organisations meant that she stood out as the right candidate for this scholarship. We look forward to welcoming her to the school.’

The Oxford Executive MBA is a 21 month modular programme which allows participants to combine study with a demanding job. It is also an opportunity to reflect on leadership style and to build a professional and personal development plan to manage career acceleration up to board level. Together with the support from the 30% Club the Oxford scholars will have access to the knowledge, insights, resources, networking and mentoring that will help bridge the gap to senior leadership positions.

For more information or to speak with Arefe Khosravi or Kathy Harvey please contact the Press Office:

Clare Fisher, Head of Public Relations, Saïd Business School
Mobile: +44 (0) 7912 771090; Tel: 01865 288968
Email: clare(dot)fisher(at)sbs(dot)ox(dot)ac(dot)uk

Josie Powell, Press Officer, Saïd Business School
Tel: +44 (0)1865 288403, Mob: +44 (0)7711387215
Email: josie(dot)powell(at)sbs(dot)ox(dot)ac(dot)uk

Notes to editors

1    About the Scholarship
The aim of the Scholarship is to support female candidates of merit and to encourage an increase in women considering senior leadership roles. The scholarship will be awarded to an outstanding female candidate based on the breadth and depth of work experience as well as past academic or professional qualification performance. The award is worth £32,000 towards the programme fee. The successful scholar will have access to mentoring and advice from both Saїd Business School and senior members of the 30% Club community. http://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/programmes/degrees/emba/fees-funding/oxford-university-alumni-scholarships

A second scholarship for women is also available: The Oxford Forté Foundation Fellowship for Women. Saïd Business School is a proud member of the Forté Foundation. Forté Foundation is a non-profit consortium of major corporations and top business schools working together to launch women into fulfilling, significant careers through access to business education, opportunities, and a community of successful women.

2    About the 30% Club
The 30% Club is a group of Chairs and CEOs committed to better gender balance at all levels of their organisations through voluntary actions. Business leadership is key: this takes the issue beyond a specialist diversity effort and into mainstream talent management. The Club launched in the UK in 2010 with an aspirational goal of 30% women on FTSE-100 boards by end 2015. There are now 94 members of the UK Club and the proportion of female FTSE-100 directors has risen from 12.5% to 20.8%. The 30% Club is now becoming an international, business-led approach focused on developing a pipeline of senior female talent. It is complementary to individual company efforts and existing networking groups – adding to these through collaboration and the visible commitment of senior business. The 30% Club does not believe mandatory quotas are the right approach. Instead, the Club is aiming for meaningful, sustainable change. More information can be found at http://www.30percentclub.org.

3    About Saïd Business School
Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford blends the best of new and old. We are a vibrant and innovative business school, but yet deeply embedded in an 800 year old world-class university. We create programmes and ideas that have global impact. We educate people for successful business careers, and as a community seek to tackle world-scale problems. We deliver cutting-edge programmes and ground-breaking research that transform individuals, organisations, business practice, and society. We seek to be a world-class business school community, embedded in a world-class University, tackling world-scale problems.

In the Financial Times European Business School ranking (Dec 2014) Saïd is ranked 10th. It is ranked 14th worldwide in the FT’s combined ranking of Executive Education programmes (May 2014) and 23rd in the world in the FT ranking of MBA programmes (Jan 2014). The MBA is ranked 7th in Businessweek’s full time MBA ranking outside the USA (Nov 2014) and is ranked 5th among the top non-US Business Schools by Forbes magazine (Sep 2013). The Executive MBA is ranked 21st worldwide in the FT’s ranking of EMBAs (Oct 2014), and No 1 in the UK (No 4 in the World) in The Economist’s 2013 ranking. The Oxford MSc in Financial Economics is ranked 7th in the world in the FT ranking of Masters in Finance programmes (Jun 2014). In the UK university league tables it is ranked first of all UK universities for undergraduate business and management in The Guardian (Jun 2014) and has ranked first in ten of the last eleven years in The Times (Sept 2014). For more information, see http://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/

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Josie Powell
University of Oxford
+44 1865288403
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Clare Fisher
University of Oxford
+44 (0)1865 288968
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