I'm flattered to be quoted in the September 2006 edition of Marie Claire magazine in an article called "How to Figure Out if You're MBA Material," which lays out several reasons why an MBA can be a great credential for women. (I've long argued, for example, that it's a much more versatile and cost-effective degree than the JD. Wish I'd known that when I went rushing off to law school right out of college.) In stark contrast to that article is another in the New York Times from August 6 called "Wall Street's Women Face a Fork in the Road." It profiles a former investment banker who recently decided to leave her job in her early 30's to be a full-time mother after struggling to combine both her roles. The article also makes reference to a study by the Harvard Business Review that came out last year and caused a big stir:
In March 2005, [Sylvia Anne] Hewlett co-wrote a Harvard Business Review article summarizing the findings of a private sector task force, "The Hidden Brain Drain: Women and Minorities as Unrealized Assets." The task force, which Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers sponsored, surveyed 2,443 "highly qualified" women — with high-honors undergraduate, graduate or professional degrees — about their work patterns; among the women in the survey with children, 43 percent reported that they had left work voluntarily at some point in their careers. Of those, 93 percent wanted to return; 74 percent managed to do so, though only 40 percent of that group did so full time. Only 5 percent of women looking to return to work wanted to return to the places they had left. For those returning to business jobs, however, that figure was zero.
Zero. Wowza. Marie Claire is unlikely to touch that one with a ten-foot pole.
The Street has quite a challenge on its hands if it wants to continue attracting — and keeping — women, particularly among millennials, who, as they emerge from college, ask about work-life balance even more than my generation (X) did, let alone the shoulder-pad-and-bowtie set from the 80s. I also wonder how many millennial guys will put up with the i-banking life long-term.