Texas McCombs has had the privilege of partnering with the non-profit organization The Forté Foundation to provide access to education, opportunities, and a supportive network to empower women in business education and management leadership since 2001.
Forté is committed to “changing the balance of power in the workplace” and strives to provide women with the resources they need to become leaders in business. The foundation has awarded $180 million in fellowships and has helped nearly 8,000 women earn and pursue their MBA.
“There are no wallflowers in this fight – we all have to be involved.” – @jessicabennett #feministfightclub author & @nytimes Gender Editor 👊🏼final inspiring words from the @fortefoundation weekend #MoreWomenLeading pic.twitter.com/vQrYOYFbFd
— Eva Gurfein (@EvesGee) June 29, 2019
McCombs continues to be an active partner by participating in Forté events across the country and hosts women-focused conferences and events every year. We also attend their annual conference every year. This event brings together women from across the nation for a weekend of professional development and networking with top industry leaders, employers, and peers. This year’s conference was held in Chicago in July.
Firsthand Experience: Being a Forté MBA
Elpidia Ellie Gamez, new MBA and Forté Fellow, said she chose to attend McCombs for the collaborative community and plans to pursue a healthcare concentration. She appreciated that McCombs gives her the opportunity to work with the globally-recognized Dell Medical School and the College of Pharmacy on pharmaceutical innovation and commercialization.
“I can continue to develop and improve my leadership skills through McCombs’ unique MBA+ Leadership Program and participating in student-led organizations, such as GWiB and MBA Healthcare Association,” says Elpidia. “Also, Austin is not only a cool city with great eats and a fun social scene, but also a center for innovation and budding technology.”
McCombs hosted a pre-conference dinner for our Forté fellows at Giordano’s for a taste of famous Chicago deep dish pizza. This gave our fellows the chance to meet and talk about their post-MBA ambitions and goals. The conference kicked off with keynotes and discussions from business leaders. The fellows then had breakout sessions and panels based on their career and industry interests. Forté also held a Career Expo and Networking Reception where the fellows met with representatives from Forté corporate sponsors who were ready to provide opportunities, advice, and insight.
“It was really great to see so many companies demonstrating their commitment to diversity and inclusion and advancing women in leadership with their participation throughout the day and then at the career expo. The room was abuzz with excitement to meet and speak with potential employers so I’m very grateful to our Career Services team who helped us prepare our pitches and for the engagements we had throughout the conference,” says Elpidia.
The second day of the conference kicked off with discussions from industry-leading women from Chevron, Google, Liberty Mutual, and Walmart. Forté then hosted career development breakout sessions like, “Leveraging Men as Mentors & Sponsors,” “Classroom Communication Strategies,” and “Set Yourself Apart with Personal Branding.” The fellows also got the chance to vote on Power Pitch Presentations where women-led teams pitch a business plan to panel of judges for feedback and chance to win seed money to continue their business idea during or after business school.
“I thought it was incredibly brave and empowering to see these ladies present their business plan with so much passion and polish to a room full of strangers who were all there to support with cheers and applause,” says Elpidia. The day wrapped up with the Edi Hunt Award and a conversation featuring Jessica Bennett, author of the Feminist Fight Club.
In conclusion, Elpidia expresses one of the best takeaways from the conference:
“I left Chicago inspired and better prepared to further the progress driven by the women who came before me who are now industry leaders both on-campus and in my future workplace.”
McCombs Graduate Women in Business (GWiB)
The McCombs chapter of the National Graduate Women in Business organization (GWiB) hosts an annual Women in Business Leadership Conference which brings together students, alumni, faculty, and influential businesswomen to address issues and challenges that affect women in today’s business environment.
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Last night we sent off our second years Derby style, combining the greatest two minutes in sports (the Kentucky Derby) with the greatest two years at McCombs (the reign of the class of 2019). Thank you to everyone who was there! Second years, we’ll miss you! 🐎 #whymccombs
GWiB also sponsors a professional development series, meets with prospective students, offers a mentoring program, hosts social outings, and organizes an annual boat cruise across Lake Austin. The org also spotlights it’s members on their Instagram page to highlight goals and achievements.
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Every week, we feature a woman from our community. Our #wcw this week is second-year Manasa Murthy! #whymccombs Name: Manasa Murthy Hometown: Diamond Bar, CA Past Work Experience: Critical Care Clinical Pharmacist (Ascension Health) Future Career Goals: After graduation I will be working at HEB as their Director of Health & Wellness. Our goal is to improve the health of Texans through food and innovative services. McCombs organizations and leadership positions: Past Co-President: Health Innovation Fellows, Past Co- VP Events: GWIB, Past VP: Indian Graduate Business Association, Past Board Fellow: Half Helen Foundation, Past Co-Women’s Weekend Chair, MAC Member Who is YOUR #wcw and why? I have many #wcw at McCombs but if I had to pick one it would be Lily Trieu. Lily is always the first in a group to make others feel welcome and included. She is passionate about education and diversity and goes above and beyond to make meaningful change. I respect Lily for always standing up for what she believes in and know she will do amazing things in the future.
Discover McCombs: Women’s Weekend
In addition to conferences and meetups, Texas McCombs encourages all women MBAs interested in the program to attend our annual Discover McCombs: Women’s Weekend held each fall. Students get the opportunity to tour the beautiful UT Austin campus and Rowling Hall, plus engage with our community through panels, events, and sessions on program resources.
Last year’s Women’s Weekend welcomed 56 MBAs and kicked off at the Kendra Scott Home Office! The attendees also helped FloCode put together 315 Flo Packs for women in need and participated in Google’s #IAmRemarkable workshop. It was truly an amazing event.
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#PowerCouple Jessica and I will be starting business school at McCombs this fall and got to spend the last week in Houston, TX with over 500 incoming MBA students and over 100 industry leaders who are dedicated to Diversity & Inclusion in the business world. Shoutout to The Consortium @cgsm1966 and McCombs School of Business @utexasmba for providing us with this incredible opportunity. #blackexcellence #whymccombs #cgsm #mdmba #reachingoutmba
If you’d like to connect with Elpidia about her experience with Forté, the MBA application process, or her background, reach out to her.
We will be highlighting more students and events throughout the year so be sure to subscribe to our blog. If you would like more information about the Texas McCombs MBA program, we encourage you to attend an MBA event—class visits, campus tours, or info sessions on-campus.
Contact our MBA admissions committee with any questions you have. Hook ’em!