Tech-Women Scholarships for MBA in Digital Transformation and MBA in Data Analytics
Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences has launched a special scholarship aimed at attracting 'Tech Women' to study MBAs. The scholarship will provide a 5,000-euro fee reduction for women with a technical background in the new Wittenborg MBA specialisations Digital Transformation and Data Analytics.
Wittenborg already started developing more technical specialisations for its degree programmes in 2016-2017 after regular discussions with technology companies in Apeldoorn and the region, who pointed out their need of talent immediately and in the future. Maggie Feng, CEO of Wittenborg, has spent the past three years leading discussions with a broad range of 'tech' and manufacturing companies in the Apeldoorn region.
ICT talent - management shortage
“Back in 2015, it was clear to me that ICT talents were in short supply and that the talent gap would only increase in the coming years. This is still the case today, 6 years later. I spoke and listened to directors, CIOs and managers at a range of companies in the ICT and manufacturing industries as well as government agencies, such as the tax authorities and the land registry. I also worked together with colleagues at the regional research and development agencies to identify the human resources needs in Apeldoorn and the greater region, and to define the direction of our Tech MBA programme and curriculum development,” says Feng.
"As early as 2011, the CIO of the Municipality of Apeldoorn made it clear to me how important it is for a manager to be able to translate the needs of the organisation into technology solutions and at the same time understand the impact of the implementation of any tech solution to the operations and culture change of an organisation."
According to Wittenborg's industry advisors and its associated professors, the need for these 'tech-interpreters' will be huge, and on the basis of this advice the MBA specialisation in Data Analytics and the MBA specialisation in Digital Transformation have been developed. “Our graduates will meet the needs of the job market,” Feng says with confidence.
Careful development of MBA tech specialisations
However urgent the demand for tech graduates with a management MBA degree may be, rushing into promoting new tech MBA specialisations was not an option, as the programmes need time for development and to be underpinned by the employment market. Wittenborg aims for its MBA students to be in work before graduation.
Diversity imbalance - lack of women in management
Feng, who was runner-up in the Netherlands Ethnic Business Woman of the year awards in 2017, says that she noticed the diversity imbalance among the workforce in the technology industry, as well as at management level in general in Europe, with only around 5% of leadership positions in the technology industry being held by women, and only 1 out of every three managers across the EU being a woman (Eurostat).
Goal of at least 40% female tech MBA students
A classroom full of talented gentlemen is not going to contribute positively towards the diversity mission statement of Wittenborg, and Maggie Feng started her search of tech women leaders through her EZVN (Ethnic Business Women NL) network, and developing commitment from organisations such as 'Women in AI' and 'Women in Tech', as well as the 'Board of Believers in Female Leadership'.
Wittenborg hopes to attract a good number of female students for the 2 new MBA specialisations, with the goal of having at least 40% of student places filled by female candidates.
“If more than 80% of the students are female, what will Wittenborg do?” was one of the questions asked. “We will have to subsidise these two MBA specialisations then, but I am happy to do so to make a start to change the landscape of the leadership in Europe. Maybe more institutes will follow. That would be wonderful,” Feng answered.
Wittenborg has committed to this scholarship for at least 5 years, from 2021 to 2026.
by James Wittenborg