Women in the MBA

Women in the MBA

Our Focus

The leadership of today looks very different than in years past. Today's leadership is much more diverse and includes women, cultures from across the world and various demographic groups, which represents an important shift from our past. However, according to Sheryl Sandberg, of 190 heads of state across the world, only 9 are women; of all representatives in parliament across the world, only 13% are women; solely 20% of the heads of not-for-profit organizations are women; and, only 15-16% of women make it to the top of their professions in the corporate sector as CEO and Board members. Furthermore, these numbers have been relatively stagnant since 2002. With acknowledgement of the above statistics, academic institutions play a fundamental role in supporting and encouraging diversity, including gender diversity. This is particularly so for the Business Masters' Office as we develop, inspire and prepare students, female and male, to assume influential leadership roles in society.

Locally, the Alberta Government has created a Status of Women Ministry, whose mandate it is to lead the Government's work to improve gender equality in Alberta. In addition, the City of Edmonton is leading the 'Women's Initiative' whose goal it is to foster and promote equality, opportunity, access to services, justice and inclusion for women in Edmonton. These are two examples of forward-thinking local public bodies that are seeking to enact change for the betterment of women.

At the University of Alberta, there are more female than male students represented in our undergraduate programs. However, only 1/3rd of all applications made to the MBA program are from women. Ultimately, we would like to play our part in expanding opportunities for women around the world by increasing the number of applications made from women to the MBA program.


"Gender diversity and inclusiveness in the Alberta MBA program is not only important, but it is essential to us. We recognize that the representation of women in corporate leadership roles is connected to positive outcomes for women, families, organizations and society as a whole. Academic institutions play a vital role in developing and inspiring women, and we take this seriously in the Alberta MBA program through a number of initiatives. Our course on Women and Leadership as well as the Women's Network are just some of the areas in which we focus our efforts on female leadership development."

Dr. Michael Maier, Associate Dean, Business Masters' Office

Karen Hughes

"Organizations around the world increasingly recognize the value and importance of developing female leaders. Our course on women's leadership has two goals: to support aspiring leaders in identifying the skills, networks, and mindset needed for success, and to spark essential discussion about how we build more gender diverse and inclusive work cultures. With a dynamic mix of students, our discussions are always rich, thought-provoking, and productive."

Dr. Karen Hughes, Professor, Women, and Leadership Strategic Management and Organization

Our Women's Network

Guiding Principles:

Learning through engagement, supporting through connection, and advancing through sharing.

The Alberta MBA Women's Network has been in existence since 2012, with the purpose of providing opportunities for women through engagement, to support and be supported through connection, and to advance through sharing. The intent of this group is to create continuity between female students' past, present, and future. The network is run with the spirit of inclusion and collaboration and is aimed at female students and alumni from the Alberta MBA program. Since its inception, this network has become a permanent fixture in the MBA program and has proven to meet the diverse and authentic needs of the participants.

Zahra Somani
Kim Campbell

The Women's Network has organized a number of high-profile Speaker Series Events for the benefit of our students and alumni:

  • Zahra Somani, Chair of the Stollery Children's Hospital Foundation Board of Trustees, March 2015
  • Right Honourable Kim Campbell, the first and only female Prime Minister of Canada, October 2014
  • Eveline Charles, Founder and leader of the Eveline Charles high-end salon brand, February 2014
  • Lorna Rosen, CFO at the City of Edmonton - October 2013
  • Danielle Smith, Leader of the Wildrose Official Opposition - September 2013
  • Janet Wood, Head of the Global Strategic Service Partners organization - March 2013
  • Deb Manz, MBA Alumni and the CEO of the Alberta College and Association of Chiropractors - October 2012

Our Students

Tania de Silva

"One of my primary goals in life is to be a role model for other women who are or aspire to be in leadership positions. The Alberta MBA program provided me with the knowledge, connections and opportunities to support achieving that goal."

Tania de Silva
Alberta MBA Alumni '08

Carmen Maslowski

"The MBA Program at the U of A provided me with the tools and resources to develop a network of like-minded women who are determined, innovative and leading business forward in Alberta. These are the women leading change and challenging the status quo, whether financial, environmental, social or otherwise. The skills I developed while in the program have allowed me to advance my own career and begin down the path of leadership. I continue to meet and be inspired by women who went through the MBA before me, and look forward to meeting the many that will come after."

Carmen Maslowski,
Associate Director, Corporate Financial Services, ATB Financial
Alberta MBA Alumni '14


"The Alberta MBA is all about inspiration. It walks female leaders through a unique journey of personal development. The program provides not only coaching and networking sessions with young women in leadership, but also opportunities for open-heart discussions. After my first year in the program, I ended up calling my classmates my MBA family and believing that young female leaders are my cheerleaders."

Khedija Hentati
Alberta MBA '16

Kristel Owens

"The MBA program has far exceeded my hopes and expectations. I have been both challenged and inspired by my fellow students whose diverse educations, work backgrounds, and life experiences foster meaningful and thought-provoking discussions. Professors have become mentors; they have shared their industry expertise and encouraged me to pursue greater career goals. I have met remarkable women through the MBA program who are ambitious, accomplished, and have become my role models. The school has awarded me for my academic accomplishments and supported me in my endeavours. This network of exceptional individuals will continue to inspire me long after my graduation."

Kristel Owens
Alberta MBA '16