Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Women in One Business School

In 1973, there were only 9 women among 22 students pursuing a MS degree in Management at UCLA Graduate School of Management, now the Anderson School of Business at UCLA. There were only 22 women out of 215 (10%) pursuing the new MBA degree at UCLA GSM.

Since that time, enrollment and the number of women have increased significantly.

In the Full Time MBA program at UCLA Anderson:
2007 - 330 enrolled: 102 women (31%)
2008 - 360 enrolled: 108 women (20%)
2009 - 360 enrolled: 122 women (34%)

In the Fully Employed MBA program at UCLA Anderson:
2007 - 196 enrolled: 47 women (24%)
2008 - 197 enrolled: 63 women (32%)
2009 - 247 enrolled: 72 women (29%)
2010 - 253 enrolled: 78 women (31%)

In the Executive MBA program at UCLA Anderson:
2007 - 70 enrolled: 13 women (19%)
2008 - 70 enrolled: 18 women (25%)
2009 - 72 enrolled: 14 women (20%)

Think of it this way: in 1973, there were 215 MBA students enrolled. In the class of UCLA Anderson scheduled to graduate in 2009, there are 208 women enrolled in three different business school programs altogether. How can anyone contemplate saying there has not been major progress in those 25 years?

Monday, May 19, 2008

My Reading Lists

A number of women have asked me to keep them current about my "recommended reading lists." Here they all are in one place:

Corporate Governance:

Women in Business:


Emerging Technology:

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Texas Theory

As we have reported earlier, Fortune Magazine announced its list of top 1000 U.S. firms (by revenue) -- published online in April and in paper with the May 5, 2008 issue.

Most people believe that the top firms remain the same one year to year, but this year's turnover of firms totaled 31 "arrivals and departures" from the top Fortune 500 list. Firms can "depart" the list because of mergers and acquisitions, going private, or because of a drop in revenues. Firms can "arrive" by rising up from the lower tier (Fortune 501-1000 list through increasing revenues), as new company spinoffs, or as rapidly growing new firms.

In looking at this turnover of individual firms in individual states, we observe that the addition of firms with few or no women directors can dramatically change the profile of the total percentage of women on boards of all top corporations. For example, Texas historically has been home to firms in the petroleum, energy, defense and security industries -- sectors that do not usually have large numbers of women at top leadership positions. Texas historically has had an average of 8-9% of top corporate board seats occupied by women -- a relatively lower share than the average overall of 14-15% nationwide.

In 2008, not only was Texas home to the most number of Fortune 1000 firms, but once again Texas added the greatest number of firms to the top Fortune 500 list (adding 7, losing 5 firms). California added 4 firms, while 5 other states added just 2 firms each. Four states lost 3 firms each: California, New York, Colorado and Georgia.

Over the past 7 years, Texas added the greatest number of firms (26 companies) to the Fortune 1000 list: from 87 firms in 2001 to 113 firms in 2008. Over 48% of those firms are based in Houston. Therefore, part of the explanation for a "flattening" of growth in the percentage share of women directors nationwide might well be the increase in the presence, on the Fortune 1000 list, of businesses such as those which have dominated the Texas economy since 2001. reported press release announcements from Texas for only 15 women in 2006 and only 11 women in 2007. Through April of this year, Texas has added only 6 women directors.

Texas continues to add only a few women to their dominantly "war economy" corporate boards. As long as Texas companies dominate the top Fortune lists, then we will have to expect continued flattening of that women-directors curve. But, women can and will be entering top management tiers at petroleum, energy, security, and defense-industry firms. So, it's just a matter of time.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Stanford Business School Video

A panel of three women corporate directors and one male executive search professional was videotaped at Stanford Business Schools’ April 2008 session, "Gaining on Governance," hosted by Evelyn Williams, director of the Center for Leadership Development & Research. View the video here.

It was especially refreshing to hear Elizabeth Davilla "respectfully disagree" with the traditional belief that women's service on nonprofit boards (in today's tougher post-Sarbanes-Oxley marketplace) provides skills that are transferable to the for-profit financial demands of public company director roles.

Patti Hart also emphasized that boards are looking for financial competence and global experience.

John Thompson of Hiedrick & Struggles warned that women also need to be wary of the negative perception of “over-boarding”– specifically women overcommitted to too many nonprofit boards. Be prepared to get off some in order to meet the new challenges of for-profit board schedules.

It was surprising though how few women were in the audience -- maybe it was finals' week?