Women Yale SOM Professors Share Perspectives at Club Event
Yale SOM's Women in Management club kicked off its 2012–2013 speaker series on September 20 with a panel of women professors sharing their perspectives on being in male-dominated fields and navigating business school. Panelists included Elisa Long, assistant professor of operations management; Heather Tookes, associate professor of finance; Connie Bagley, professor in the practice of law and management; and Heidi Brooks, senior lecturer in organizational behavior.
Zi Dong '13, Women in Management Club forums chair, said the event was designed to serve as an ice-breaker. "Personally, it's helpful for me to get to know my professors," Dong said. "It builds mutual understanding. We invite them every fall to have a personal, informal conversation with us."
Bagley began the discussion by telling stories of her experiences working at a law firm and as a faculty member in primarily male departments at universities. "You don't get a presumption of competency as a female professor in a business school," Bagley said. She stressed the importance of finding good mentors and told students that Yale SOM is a collaborative and supportive environment.
Long agreed. Noting that female students have a tendency to second-guess themselves and blame themselves—rather than situations—for performance issues, she said, "All of the faculty are on your side. Remind yourself that you deserve to be here, and earning a graduate degree at Yale is a major accomplishment."
Panelists also offered students advice on making the most of their time at Yale SOM. Brooks asked students a clarifying question. "Imagine yourself 20 to 30 years in the future," she said. "Create a rich picture of this aspiration. What kind of personal life and career do you picture? Then ask yourself how to get there. Plan backwards to help guide your decision-making today."
Building the necessary skills is a good start, Bagley said. She encouraged first-year students to choose activities that cultivate new skills. "Get out of your comfort zone," she said. "You get to play at a variety of roles here and get a sense of what feels comfortable and what doesn't."
Tookes added that taking risks is part of the MBA process. She advised students to explore new interests and to speak up in the classroom. "Be more confident and express that confidence," she said.