Fewer than 4 percent of Fortune 1000 chief executive officers are females. Furthermore, women comprise only 30 percent of the enrollment in full-time MBA programs.

Hitting the books

Chantel Adams, a recent MBA graduate, isn’t satisfied with those statistics. She’s encouraging other women to take the plunge.

Upon graduation with a bachelors degree, Adams found herself in a powerful, yet unfulfilling finance job. “After I entered the ever so male-dominated financial services industry, I began to feel the need for an association that promoted women’s empowerment in business and business school,” she recalls. 

 “A full-time MBA is possible for women at all stages of their career and lives. You just have to look at all the statistics, not just the ones that are likely to deter you from applying.”

She found what she was looking for in the Forté Foundation, a non-profit consortium of companies and top business schools which helps women access business educations. 

Adams conquered her self-doubt, as well as her fear of missing out as peers continued their careers, and embarked on her quest for an MBA. “A full-time MBA is possible for women at all stages of their career and lives. You just have to look at all the statistics, not just the ones that are likely to deter you from applying,” she says of the degree she earned in two years.

Conquering the classroom

Her advice for women contemplating higher business degrees;  study early for the GMAT exam, join a group which offers a GMAT prep program and research schools and careers that match your post-MBA goals. “I almost gave up after I took the GMAT the second time,” says Adams, who adds a pep talk from a mentor gave her the nudge to push her score up 70 points. “There is a misperception that women are not as quantitatively gifted as men, but it’s just like anything elseit takes practice.” 

And don’t let the gender composition of the classroom or boardroom derail dreams. “When you are admitted to business school, it will be because you deserve to be there. When you land the job you want, it will be because you’re qualified for it,” she says. Adams is proof: she will shortly assume a position as marketer for the world’s leading nutrition, health and wellness company.