The 30% Club and Henley Business School announce winner of Women in Leadership Scholarship 2013

4 September 2013

The 30% Club and Henley Business School announce winner of Women in Leadership Scholarship 2013

The 30% Club and Henley Business School have awarded the first Women in Leadership Scholarship to Surbjit Kaur, a senior supply chain and operations manager at EY...

The 30% Club and Henley Business School have awarded the first Women in Leadership Scholarship to Surbjit Kaur, a senior supply chain and operations manager at EY.

The Women in Leadership Scholarship was announced in July and offered applicants the chance to secure a fully-funded place, worth £34,000, on the Henley Business School Executive MBA (Master of Business Administration) programme - a world renowned programme for developing senior managers, encouraging and enabling them to meet their true potential. The 30% Club’s support for the scholarship reflects the ethos of the organisation's Balancing the Pyramid initiative which aims to encourage and increase female gender balance at all organisational levels.

Surbjit Kaur beat off stiff competition from many other applicants to be awarded the scholarship by addressing the issue “What are the key challenges to creating a gender balance at all levels in organisations?” in an essay. The judging panel, chaired by Professor Ginny Gibson, Deputy Dean of Henley Business School,  felt that her assessment of the challenges in the workplace were insightful and nuanced. She commented on the internal and external factors that led to the gender imbalance, including reluctance to change from middle management and lack of confidence from women to aspire to senior management roles. 

The judging panel also commented on the outstanding quality of applicants, who provided a diverse range of perspectives to the gender balance problem.  Because of the high quality of the entries, three people were also offered a 50% bursary for the same programme.

Surbjit, who began her career as an environmental scientist, moved into consulting six years ago and currently holds a Senior Manager role with EY in Supply Chain & Operations London as Transition Manager for the Energy & Assets Market. She will begin the Henley Executive MBA in October this year.

Helena Morrissey CBE, CEO of Newton Investment Management and Founder of the 30% Club said:

“The 30% Club has always been about actions and not just words. It's great that Henley offered this, the FT supported it and we had such fantastic entries. Developing strong female talent is the only way to create sustainable meaningful change and we will keep working at multiple efforts to achieve the goal of better gender balance at all company levels. Well done Surbjit!”

Professor Ginny Gibson, Deputy Dean of Henley Business School, said:

“Henley Business School has a long tradition of supporting all individuals to achieve their full potential and we are delighted to work with The 30% Club and the Financial Times in creating the Women in Leadership Scholarship.  We are at a unique point in time where there is growing momentum, not only to tackle the issue of board equality but also to support the development of women through the pipeline.”      

“The ongoing challenges faced by women in the workforce were brilliantly articulated in the submissions.  These issues included: important observations on unconscious bias; how men would behave were the gender imbalance the other way round; the fact that women benefit from flexible working but that part-time, senior jobs are rarely advertised and the reality of what “having it all” means for women.   Overall the essays were thought-provoking, stimulating and passionate.”

“As the business school in the UK with the highest proportion of female faculty (according to the FT rankings), and close to 1,000 women undertaking programmes from undergraduate to executive education  at any point in time, Henley Business School is in a unique position to make a significant contribution and looks forward to further collaboration with The 30% Club.”

 

The scholarship competition was run in association with the Financial Times and Peter Whitehead, Editor of FT Executive Appointments and the FT Non-Executive Directors' Club, was on the judging panel. An awards ceremony was held at the FT last night.

The judging panel:

Professor Ginny Gibson, Deputy Dean of Henley Business School

Dr Richard McBain, Head of Postgraduate Post Experience Programmes, Henley Business School

Ashley Arnold, Director of MBA/DBA Recruitment, Henley Business School

Peter Whitehead, Editor of FT Executive Appointments and the FT Non-Executive Directors' Club

Pavita Cooper, 30% Club Steering Committee Member and Talent & Gender Strategy Board Adviser