Brittany Norris was torn between attending the private liberal arts school Agnes Scott College and her father's alma mater, Georgia Tech.
Ultimately, she chose Agnes Scott, because she felt most comfortable at a small school. But thanks to the Bridge to Business Program, she got to benefit from three weeks of training at Georgia Tech College of Management during summer 2011.
A partnership between the College of Management and Agnes Scott College first held this year, the Bridge to Business Program is designed to encourage more women to pursue careers in business and management. The non-credit program acquaints Agnes Scott students with different aspects of business education, covering a wide array of topics, from accounting and business communications to international business and management.
Norris, who plans to pursue a corporate career after graduating with an economics degree in May 2012, says, "I feel like we got a piece of every area covered by an MBA," she says. "I became very excited about participating when I realized when I'd get to delve into all these different topics."
Eventually planning to earn an MBA and status as a certification as a certified managerial accountant, Norris adds: "I loved the corporate visits we made to CNN and PricewaterhouseCoopers, where we got to meet women who've established themselves in the business world. They told us about the paths that took them there and how they learned to balance and home and work life."
Women continue to be underrepresented in many parts of the business world, making up only 2.4 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs and 15.4 percent of corporate officers at Fortune 500 companies.
"A liberal arts education is ideal preparation for business leadership because it teaches critical and creative thinking, teamwork and excellence in writing and speaking," says Elizabeth Kiss, president of Agnes Scott. "As a college devoted to educating women to lead, we are eager to expand the opportunities available to our students in the business world. Research shows that the most successful companies are those with diverse leadership teams. So creating a stronger pipeline to business leadership for women is not only good for them, but also good for our larger economy and society."
Sri Narasimhan, senior associate dean of the College of Management, says: "We believe that this program will lead to broader career opportunities for its participants. The confidence and business acumen they will gain could inspire them to take their careers to even greater heights through eventual MBA studies."
The 30 women who participated in the program each received a $1,000 stipend and got to experience business simulations, interactive case studies, and experiential learning, such as a simulated stock exchange at the College's Ferris-Goldsmith trading Floor.