Recently, the inaugural NUS MBA Conclave 2019 brought together 12 speakers to hear multifaceted perspectives of both male and female leaders who are doing their bit in bridging the gender gap in the business space.
Organised by the NUS MBA Student Council – Women in Business Club, led by Shikha Malhotra, the team’s goal was to gather like-minded individuals and have young voices and opinions as part of this conversation.
Shikha said, “We hope to start conversations about gender diversity, build on the culture of inclusion, expose students to multiple ways of breaking stereotypes and gender-driven myths and drive them to overcome societal influences when making career choices. We might have come a long way as far as women empowerment is concerned but, we have miles to go before the diversity of ideas, experiences and social intelligence is accepted, respected and promoted. The time isn’t here just yet.”
The event focused on topics such as the significance of alleviating unconscious biases, advice to bridge the gender-based career mentoring gap and importance of including women in leadership especially in the times of digital disruption.
The ShEnspire panel, moderated by Shikha, comprised senior leaders from global organisations and Forbes 30 under 30 Asia recipients who shared how they had to break the glass ceiling and emerge on top. While it was one story to get to the top, it was another ball game to stay at the top by being relevant, determined and even more inclusive. Some advocates believe that gender may not play a role in digital transformation of organisations but, some others believe that conscious female input is required in data science and technology so that the outcomes are balanced.
With the MANbassadors panel, the role of men in overcoming the biases and supporting other men while they do so, was discussed. Men in the audience were curious to know how the panel actively championed inclusion in workspaces that were traditionally dominated by only one gender. The panel was moderated by Arvind Rajendran, a current student of the NUS MBA programme.
On the WOMENtoring panel, alumni shared their journeys as a mentor and mentee. Through mentorship, the two-way relationship really helped themselves to learn, build and develop skills as well. Mentorship plays a crucial role for individuals navigating careers and starting from scratch in unchartered territories. The session was moderated by Jessa Hontiveros, Vice President, of the NUS MBA Women in Business Club.
Meggy Chung, Head of Data Services APAC and EMEA – Global Consumer Technology at Citibank said, “It was my pleasure to be engaged in conversations on breaking the glass ceiling; opportunities the digital world offers women; the importance of diversity in Data; the importance of mentoring. Last but not least, we need men on this journey with us.”
Shikha added, “We believe that values and the spirit of diversity and inclusion can be best inculcated in the future leaders while they are still pursuing their education. Besides getting individuals ready for the business world, it helps mould students into responsible, thoughtful and inclusive members of the society. It’s an ongoing process where we mobilise others to take small steps towards a gender-diverse world.”
“I loved the fact that there were more men than women in the room. Great turnout, great conversations,” said Anuprita Bhomick (NUS MBA Class of 2003), Global Head, Google Cloud Partner Programs.
Look out for their next event on the week of International Women’s Day 2019 where the emphasis will be on health and fitness that would benefit everyone.