The Women’s Council from the McCombs School of Business hosted its fourth-annual Leadership Symposium. Starting with a panel of businesswomen, the event included speeches from keynote speakers and networking opportunities during the lunch break.
Accounting junior Katherine Mullings, BBA Women’s Council co-program manager, said she thinks the event can be an enriching experience for female business students.
“It is easier to envision yourself in a position of power when you see other women in that kind of role,” Mullings said. “That is why I believe it is important for women to network with women.”
Mullings said the business world she knows is not completely equal in gender.
“The upper management level of every work field is almost always dominated by men,” Mullings said. “We tend to move into more quantitative roles due to familial obligations and other social expectations.”
Citibank recruiter Jackie Birnbaum also described the biggest problems that current businesswomen face.
“Our biggest problem is self-selection,” Birnbaum said. “Women will think banking is a boys’ club and immediately opt out. They don’t even consider if they are strong enough to do analytics.”
Birnbaum said Citibank wants to cooperate with the Council on taking more initiatives to develop young female talent.
“McCombs students speak for themselves,” Birnbaum said. “What makes them stand out from other colleges is that their technical abilities are strong but their interpersonal skills are polished as well. That is why their retention rates at Citi are high.”
Despite the success rates that UT students have at Citibank, Mullings said she wants the Council to do even more for women in the business field.
“My friends and I will be the next generation of women in the workforce,” Mullings said. “We are super excited to shape those notions about what a women can be and what a women can do.”
In response to Mullings’ efforts to promote the power of businesswomen, business freshman Samika Parab said she appreciates the women-only nature of the event.
“Sometimes I feel a bit intimidated in co-ed recruiting events because men exuberate so much confidence,” Parab said. “I’m grateful for these events specifically for women because I’m interested in banking, which is a male-dominated field, but talking with people like Jackie has taught me how to be a female leader.”