In December 2021, I had an epiphany that compelled me to pivot my career onto a new path. With a decade of experience in the information technology sector, I knew my skills weren’t being fully utilized. So, I made a decision that excited me to my core— I resolved to pursue an MBA degree. However, this excitement was something I could not easily share with most of my acquaintances due to the weight of societal expectations that often burden women. In the spaces I lived and worked in, it was commonly believed that women of a certain age should make decisions selflessly, always placing their family and loved ones ahead of their personal desires. It was never about what a woman wanted for herself.
However, as the popular saying goes, “If you educate a man, you educate an individual. But if you educate a woman, you educate a nation.” Women can take control of their own destinies, make decisions based on passion and ambition, and assert that they can be formidable decision-makers. Thus, I took a bold stance, quitting my high-paying job to pursue what I truly wanted. This journey demanded immense courage, but it has proven to be unquestionably worth every moment.
During my Sustainability course this term, I had a significant realization. It emphasized the inclusion of empowering women and girls as one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 5). This reinforces the notion that women have the capacity to bring about transformative changes in society, and this principle extends to pursuing an MBA as well. An MBA can serve as a key that opens doors to leadership roles, entrepreneurial ventures, and career progression. Women in MBA programs are not just seeking personal growth; they are also breaking barriers in the corporate world. They are pioneers, paving the way for future generations and demonstrating that gender should never be a limitation to achieving one’s professional dreams.
While the journey of a woman pursuing an MBA may come with its share of challenges, it is essential to have a supportive community where like-minded individuals uplift each other. SFU offers an ideal environment for women to embark on this transformative journey with encouragement and mentorship. SFU’s Graduate Women’s Council (GWC), of which I am honoured to serve as President, has been instrumental in fostering this sense of community and empowerment. Working alongside passionate women within the GWC has been a source of inspiration for me, and witnessing their dedication motivates me to continue working towards empowering other women.
In conclusion, the decision to pursue an MBA as a woman is a bold, empowering, and transformative choice. It involves challenging stereotypes, prioritizing one’s passion, and contributing to a more inclusive and diverse corporate landscape. Women in MBA programs, both at Simon Fraser University and around the world, are not merely students; they are trailblazers, leaders, and champions of change. While our journeys may be unique, our destination is a world where women can thrive, free from the shackles of societal expectations and empowered to make choices that reflect their true desires. So, to all the women out there considering the path of an MBA, remember that your journey is not just about education; it is about empowerment and making a difference in the world. Embrace the courage within you and embark on this remarkable journey of self-discovery and professional growth because, in the end, the rewards far outweigh the challenges.
About the Author
Ash Sundaresan began her career with Tata Consultancy Services in 2012 as a software developer, advancing to a pivotal role at Verizon India and later becoming a technical lead at Tech Mahindra. She has honed her technical expertise and strategic entrepreneurship skills. Alongside academia, Ash co-founded a successful Kidzee Preschool franchise, enhancing skills in operations, marketing, and sales. Her commitment to growth led her to pursue an MBA with Beedie, where she is currently serving as President of the Graduate Women’s Council and managing their MBA Games’ social media. Passionate about fostering business acumen and advocating for women in leadership, Ash integrates academic pursuits with practical business management and community engagement.