Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Elizabeth Woodwick, A Current Forté Fellow, on Her Experience at Last Year's Conference

As a Forté Fellow, I was fortunate to attend the Forté Women's MBA Conference in Chicago last June, and I can assure you that it is an experience no prospective student, current student, or alumna should miss. Beginning business school can feel intimidating - like standing on the ten meter platform above a deep, crowded pool. There will be lifeguards and coaches to help you once you get to school, in the guise of professors, staff, and mentors, but think of the Forté Conference as swimming lessons and an opportunity to develop a training plan before you make your big leap.

Attending the Conference last year gave me the perfect opportunity to update my resume, try out my newly-developed elevator speech, and meet some amazing women who were beginning the same journey, or were further down the road and had advice to offer. The panels aimed at first year women were especially helpful - I received recruiting and career search advice directly from recruiters who worked with MBA students, and from MBA women who had succeeded in obtaining careers in industries that interested me. Through the panels and career fair, I met multiple women that I was able to follow up with after the conference, and started networking with some companies that ended up making my internship short-list. Just as important, I was able to decide that that I was less interested in pursuing a few of the functions or roles that I learned about.

While the panels served to educate and connect, the keynote speakers were both educational and inspiring. Women from a variety of industries and backgrounds, they had all been immensely successful in their chosen paths. One of my favorite quotes came from Connie Duckworth, who had a long and successful career at Goldman Sachs and now runs a nonprofit called Arzu Studio Hope. She said “Careers are not a straight line activity. They are full of branches and decision points. If you’re opportunistic, you will have the chance to get engaged in a wide array of activities. My advice is to take each assignment and milk it for whatever you can learn and file that away in your toolbox.”

The Forté Conference is a great opportunity to learn, and to keep building your business and management toolbox. I look forward to attending this year's conference in New York, and I hope that you will join me there!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

An important message from Forté’s Executive Director, Elissa Sangster

It’s time again for Forté’s annual MBA Women’s Conference. Each year I look forward to this amazing event because the women in attendance represent a return on the investment of Forté and its partnering schools and companies. It’s the culmination of months or possibly years of introspection, inspiration, and research leading you to the business school of your choice. And while the Forté conference is both a satisfying conclusion of that process it’s the start of yet another journey—your MBA career.

Our conference theme is Breaking Through: Courageous Strategies for Extraordinary Leadership. What makes a remarkable woman business leader? What kind of preparation do you need to lead, make a difference, have an impact? Recently I read The Gender Dividend, a study published by Deloitte, that makes the case for investing in women. That got me thinking about the meaning of the word dividend—a bonus or reward beyond what you were expecting. That’s exactly what we intend for the MBA Women’s Conference to do for you—leave you with something unexpected, something that catapults you above and beyond your competition and inspires you to be an extraordinary leader.

While you can read all about the conference on the website, my goal is to convey to you the genuine importance and extraordinary benefits of joining us. It’s just two days, but the impact will be far reaching. So often women don’t make the time for critical events like this—they seem indulgent or intangible. But the truth is these opportunities to network, build skills, and invest in yourself don’t come along very often. Forté hosts this conference so you can explore career opportunities at companies early on in the MBA cycle. If you’re just beginning the MBA journey, it’s a chance to figure out what career path is right for you. If you’ve finished your first year or recently graduated, you’ll have the chance to network with other MBA women and our great speakers, panelists, and corporate representatives. At the same time, you’ll develop critical leadership skills through our professional development sessions. And finally, you’ll have a head start on other MBAs out there. Very few opportunities like this exist for MBA women. And because you have been admitted into a Forté sponsor school you are exclusively invited to take advantage of this one.

I encourage you to make the time for this important conference and kick off your MBA career in grand style. If you’ve already registered, block your calendars and visit this blog regularly for the latest conference news; and if you haven’t – then make the commitment to be with us!

Elissa Sangster
Executive Director,Forté Foundation

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Registration Now Open for the Forté MBA Women's Conference!

Breaking Through: Courageous Strategies for Extraordinary Leadership
June 10 - 11, 2011 New York, New York

Register by April 20 and automatically be entered into a drawing to win one of two--$250 shopping sprees to Banana Republic!

Learn more and register at

Friday, March 11, 2011

2011 Forté MBA Women's Conference Registration opens next week - get ready!

If you'll be starting your MBA this Fall at a Forte Foundation sponsor school, or are a current student, you're invited to attend our MBA Women's Conference on June 10-11, 2011 in NYC. This year's theme is "Breaking Through: Couraegeous Strategies for Extraordinary Leadership." You'll get insights into what really makes a leader -- insights that you might not get on campus. And you'll also get to meet other MBA women, from your school and other Forte schools. What a great opportunity to have a network in place before you even begin your program. Stay tuned for more information!