Highly motivated and ambitious are distinguishing characteristics of our MBA candidates. Throughout March we're finding out more about the women on our MBA to discover what makes them tick. Our third blog of the series celebrates the achievements of Full-time MBA candidate Brittany Walker.
What makes Brittany a stand-out MBA candidate?
As a Student Blogger, a Leader on the MBA London Consulting Trek, and a member of the Warwick Women’s Network Committee, curating conversations on gender equality in leadership, Brittany Walker has immersed herself in life at Warwick and continues to strive for excellence through her studies and within the student community. Restless in her pursuit of a challenge, Brittany had successfully navigated U.S. pageants and an accomplished career in New York before sacrificing a promotion in favour of a Full-time MBA that offered her the chance to realise her potential. We spoke to Brittany to find out more.
What led you to pursue a Full-time MBA?
I had been working in New York as an Associate Buyer at Saks Off Fifth and was at the point where my path was set and I could choose to do the leadership programme for the next promotion to the Buyer position. I had thought I was on the path to my dream job but I realised that the career I had chosen was not fulfilling enough. I knew I wanted a change and desired more engagement and connectedness with innovation and transformative solutions. The MBA presented an opportunity for me to broaden my scope, develop my leadership skills and further my learning of business environments outside of the retail industry.
As an international student, what led you to choose an MBA in the UK?
I love it here. I did a semester in the UK during my undergrad and that’s why I decided to come back. I chose to come to the UK because it’s a one year programme and I wanted the opportunity to travel and get away for a little bit. When I met the Warwick staff in New York I immediately felt their support, they were just so warm and welcoming, and so I knew that WBS was where I wanted to go.
You discussed the role of women within leadership on The MBA Show, what have you noticed from your experience in the retail sector?
The U.S. is similar to the UK, and as you get further up, leadership positions are predominantly held by men. It's something that’s changing, but even in retail, where 90 percent of staff are women, the top leadership positions tend to be held by men. Last year, just before I left my role at Saks, we got our first female CEO. It was a great thing to see and you could tell that everyone in lower positions were inspired to see a woman in that leading role – that it was something doable and achievable. To see that progression right before I left and headed over here to do my MBA was inspiring.
How might the MBA promote gender equality within business?
Earlier this year the Financial Times published an article on the gender pay gap that claimed that men cash in more than women after an MBA. It was an interesting article and one point that they made was that men negotiate their pay a lot more. I personally agree with this as I know that I’ve never really negotiated my pay in a position. I’ve never felt confident enough to do that, where I felt I might lose that position, and so I went along with whatever pay I was given. This is a skill I look forward to learning on the MBA so that when I come out of it I can go into a positon and feel confident to negotiate pay. I feel that men have naturally done that from the beginning of their careers whereas perhaps women tend not to do that first-hand.
What advice would you give to any prospective MBA women?
Just go for it – whatever your goal is. Don’t be afraid of going after a goal because you don’t think that you’re qualified or good enough. Just be confident in whatever you want to achieve.
Find out more about the Full-time MBA.