Professional clubs in the Cross Continent MBA program provide students with the opportunity to gain academic and industry knowledge in addition to career management skills around a particular professional area. These professional clubs are managed by students and supported by the programs staff and Career Management Center (CMC). So far we’ve highlighted the Cross Continent MBA Class of 2017’s Energy Club and Consulting Club and next up is the Women in Business Club.
Fuqua alumna Melinda Gates once said, “A woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman. But the search to find that voice can be remarkably difficult.” The Women in Business Club—and its leadership board of Melissa Bernhal, Christina Fazzano, Ashley Previs and Cynthia Yu—has an active membership of 15 students with a diversity of industry backgrounds and have cultivated a strong voice and an enduring presence among our cohort’s clubs.
“We are looking to have open conversations of what everyone is experiencing in our respective workplaces and industries,” said Melissa Bernhal. “It’s important for everyone involved with the club, whether women or men, to be able to have a safe space to talk about our challenges and successes in the workplace.”
Aside from their meetings and availability during the distance learning period in between each class residency, the group has been one of the most active in planning events during residencies. While in Shanghai for term two, the club had a luncheon and Q&A with Ashley Liu, Cross Continent MBA ’03 and CEO of Mindwalk Studios, a graphics and computer animation studio in Beijing. Ms. Liu spoke about how she built her company from the ground up while navigating the male dominated computer engineering industry. “She was an inspiring woman,” said Christina Fazzano. “To be as open and honest as she was with us about her path, and her experiences across North America, Asia, and Europe, after just meeting us. It’s one of the best things about Fuqua, being exposed to such positive women leaders.”
During the term three residency in Santiago, Chile, the Women in Business Club took their group event outdoors, to the nearby country club for golf lessons. “Golf is social, it rewards players who stay calm under pressure, and there is a lot of time on the course that is not spent hitting a shot, so it tells the people you are playing with a lot about who you are,” said Christina Fazzano.
“It’s an integral part of the business world, and by having a group lesson we can have some fun, and those who play more frequently can help others improve or learn to play for the first time,” added Melissa Bernhal.
The club plans to continue their residency events in India by traveling together to get custom saris made and dive deeper into Indian culture and how it has been changing. To them, it’s all about having the conversations and learning from the other members any way they can. “The club is not women only, that is not the intent,” said Christina Fazzano. “It’s a club for women and men to be able to have discussions about our work, what we’ve experienced, and have some fun in the process.”
Success seems to come naturally to the accomplished women in our class, so it’s no surprise the Women in Business club has also been a huge success.