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What EMBA women are saying...interview with Gretchen Knoll-Rask le 10/04/2015

What Do Our MBA’s Say

Interview with Gretchen Knoll-Rask, Director Quintiles / MBA 2017

As we see our MBA’s as our key connection to trends within the business world, it is always great to get an “insider’s” view of things.  We’ve taken a moment to interview Gretchen on some pretty pressing questions concerning issues involving women and business.  This micro-interview gives some quick-witted ideas about what this modern executive woman is thinking.  I hope you enjoy this interview as much as (being a man) I did…  


Q:  What challenges do women face in today’s business climate? 

G.KR.:  The same ones that they have faced since the middle ages, which was, contrary to one might assume, a period when women had an enormous level of autonomy due to the fact that their spouses were off fighting Crusades and the women were left the castles to run by themselves, like a small company, while fending off robbers, suitors, famine and disease at the same time.

Q:  Is there no real difference between men and women in business?

G.KR.:  There is an enormous difference in our approaches to problem –solving, in our communication methods, in team-building, etc….and the good news is, when both men and women are in the same team, the team is more cohesive and complimentary (see the Harvard article from a few months ago that was in LinkedIn).

Q:  Is feminism irrelevant today? 

G.KR.:  No.  Pick a country, any country, and check out the statistics of what women undergo, the difference in pay for equal jobs, the economic precariousness of women vs men in society, especially single and divorced women, who despite often getting the guardianship of the kids, live on less than divorced men.

Q:  Do women have to work harder to strike a good life/work balance? 

G.KR.:  Ask me that question about men and then define “life” for both… if the “life” and “work” definitions were the same, you would not need to ask that question.

Q:  Can we be a good mother, wife, student and manager simultaneously?

G.KR.:  Can you be a good father, husband, and manager simultaneously? If you have to ask this question about women, you are stereotyping already.

Q:  Undertaking an Exec MBA… worth it?  Why do you think so?...

G.KR.:  To walk the walk and talk the talk. Yes. It evens the playing field a bit and puts (more of) the right tools in our hands.

Q:  Is doing an MBA even MORE critical for a woman?

G.KR.:  I would say that it is STILL not passed along spontaneously and as part of the on-the-job training or pedagogical teachings of parents to women like it is between men in the family &  in the workplace, as if it is still “not our place” –so yes, I think it is even more important.

Q:  What uniqueness do women bring to an MBA programme?  Do they offer something special? (skills, perspectives, behaviors?)

G.KR.:  Like anyone would, yes! And evening out the % of women in these programs is critical.


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