In the bustling world of business education, ESCP’s MBA programme stands out as a global hub for future leaders. Among the diverse and talented cohort of students, a group of remarkable women has received the prestigious Women in Leadership scholarship. ESCP has established the Women in Leadership scholarship to actively promote and support women in their pursuit of MBA-related aspirations. Three scholars tell us about their journey, from pursuing their dreams to making a lasting impact, offering us empowering examples of dedication and aspiration.
Women leaders and the pivotal role of diversity in the cohort
Among this year’s recipients is Pooja Shah, a dynamic professional hailing from Mumbai, whose journey in finance has been as diverse as it has been enriching. Now a student at ESCP, Pooja underscores the strength of the cohort’s diversity: “In my perspective, the true strength of a cohort lies in its diversity. Each member brings a unique blend of experiences and perspectives, creating a rich tapestry of knowledge.”
Yuan Zhang, whose path to ESCP’s MBA began with the completion of her first master’s degree in Communication and Journalism in 2017, agrees with her fellow student’s statement: “The cohort will strongly benefit from the diversity of its members. As for myself, I am looking forward to making a valuable contribution by bringing my expertise of the Chinese market and culture to the table.” Following her degree, Yuan Zhang embarked on her professional journey in the Automotive industry as a marketing professional in Shanghai. Her experience and skills in marketing and management make her a valuable asset to her fellow students as she not only aspires to truly collaborate with her peers but also to introduce them to her own field of expertise. As she puts it: “I aspire to be the bridge that helps fellow students comprehend the intricacies of the Chinese market. I am glad I can contribute, and absorb much knowledge from my classmates in a mutual exchange.”
Alicia Mejia Martinez, a Mexican MBA Class of 2024 recipient of the Women in Leadership Scholarship, is eager to contribute as well through her unique experience as a professional. Alicia pursued a degree in International Trade and has spent the last few years dedicating herself to working within CONAVIM (National Commission to Prevent and Eradicate Violence against Women), a Federal Government agency located in Mexico City. When considering her most valuable contribution to her cohort, Alicia points to her extensive professional experience within the Mexican Government: “This experience has enabled me to cultivate a deep understanding of the harsh realities surrounding violence against women and the disparities in opportunities in various countries,” she says. “I want to share experiences, and team up with my MBA peers, and together be able to contribute to positively transforming our communities.”
The importance of actively supporting women’s aspirations and ambitions
For Alicia Mejia Martinez, receiving the scholarship meant she could start working towards her professional dream. As she puts it: “I believe this MBA programme is the perfect opportunity to launch my career as an entrepreneur.” But receiving the Women in Leadership scholarship holds an even more special place in Yuan Zhang’s heart. It has not only relieved the financial burden of her studies but has also enabled her to focus on her dream of becoming an influential businesswoman and a beacon of empowerment for women. She states, “Receiving the Women in Leadership scholarship holds two meanings for me. Firstly, it allowed me to focus on studying with less financial pressure, enabling me to focus on my dream of becoming an influential businesswoman and a beacon of empowerment for women. Secondly, receiving the Women in Leadership scholarship is a great honour for me. It acts as a recognition of my commitment, actions, and accomplishments in advancing women’s success in both business and personal life.”
For Pooja Shah, receiving the Women in Leadership scholarship has held similar importance and symbolism: “The cause of Women in Leadership holds a special place in my heart. When I learned about ESCP’s Women in Leadership scholarship, it resonated profoundly with my aspirations. Applying for it was not just about the financial support it could bring, but about the opportunity it offers to actively contribute to a cause I am genuinely passionate about. Now, as a member of the Women in Leadership society, I am happy to be actively involved in organising events and initiatives that empower women.”
The recipients’ piece of advice for applying for ESCP’s Women in Leadership scholarship
To Yuan Zhang, demonstrated dedication is what sets candidates apart. She advises, “Your commitment to furthering women’s success, whether in life or career, is paramount. Demonstrated dedication will set you apart. When preparing a scholarship application, Yuan Zhang advises applicants to not only summarise their contributions to women’s success but also seek testimonials from women they have inspired or supported: “These testimonials will provide compelling evidence of why you deserve the honour and support of the Women in Leadership scholarship.” Furthermore, outlining a vision as a woman leader and detailing plans for continued contributions to women’s success are key elements that can make an application stand out, as Alicia Mejia Martinez emphasises: “Prepare a good application in which you clearly express the contributions and impact you would like to achieve through your professional career”.
Finally, Pooja offers this piece of advice to future candidates: “If you are reading this, it means you are already two steps ahead and moving in the right direction. However, my advice is to be authentic and genuine in your application. Reflect deeply on your passions, experiences, and how you can contribute to the community you aspire to be a part of. Clearly articulate your goals and how the scholarship aligns with your aspirations. Remember, it’s not just about receiving support but also about actively participating in the change you wish to see. Best of luck!”