BARONESS Karren Brady is launching a new MBA course with Arden University to unlock the potential of entrepreneurs, especially women entrepreneurs, to combat gender imbalance in the boardroom.
One of the UK’s most prominent businesswomen, Baroness Brady has developed the course with senior academics to give students, regardless of their gender, the confidence and risk-taking acumen to get to the top in a male-dominated world.
The MBA programme will promote so-called soft skills that champion a diversity of perspectives, such as personal communication, negotiation, self-development and character traits associated with emotional intelligence.
This will be balanced with real-world advice on developing resilience and the strength to “speak up and be heard” among senior managers.
Primarily a distance-learning course delivered by specialist online degree provider Arden University, each of the MBA’s modules will feature a masterclass with a business leader, including Baroness Brady, in which she will draw on her personal experiences in a career that has taken her from top-flight football management to the House of Lords.
Baroness Brady said: “Creating a programme for people from different backgrounds, especially women, and giving them the skills and confidence to succeed in the corporate world is a vital step in improving boardroom diversity and the productivity of UK plc (public limited company).
“The Karren Brady MBA is suitable for both men and women. Undoubtedly, men will benefit from the promotion of skills that are often lacking in macho senior management teams. However, it is also true that women face barriers to promotion, which this progressive MBA will address.
“Diversity and inclusion is crucial for successful team performance and the fact remains that there is a glass ceiling for far too many women. Our new MBA has a high degree of relevance for female managers in this country. About 30 per cent of MBA completers are women in this country and that cannot be right in 2020.”
Progress at addressing the gender gap in business has been slow. Women hold just 16.9 per cent of board seats globally and 4.4 per cent of CEO positions, according to Deloitte Global’s sixth edition of Women in the Boardroom: A Global Perspective published last year.
Matthew Cooper, head of school, Business and Management at Arden University, who developed the MBA with Baroness Brady said: “It’s astonishing that boardrooms in the 21st century still lack diversity. It means businesses often miss out on the broadest range of skills, including attributes of emotional intelligence. These are essential skills that can enhance business productivity, employee motivation and staff retention.”
Students will benefit from optional residential workshops, including a training session delivered by consultants from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts to boost communication skills. Students will also receive one-to-one career coaching on brand concepts and personal development plans.
The Karren Brady MBA course begins in November 2020.