A business school for women only

Women have stormed graduate schools of law and medicine over the past three decades. Their representation at each now approaches that of men.

But in business schools, they've made less of an inroad. The number of women enrolled nationally appears frozen at about 30 percent.

Trying for a thaw is Simmons College in Boston, which turns 100 this year - and which has run what it calls the world's only business school exclusively for women since 1974.

Now the school is also reaching out to women already in business. Its Graduate School of Management will hold an intensive on-site program Oct. 18 to 22 for female managers of all levels.

Attendees will learn about various leadership skills such as negotiation, presentation, and communication, organizers say.

Simmons's chief departure from traditional business schools: It offers "organizational-behavior" courses specifically designed to help women navigate the male-dominated world of business. It also operates on the notion that the business world undervalues the kinds of interpersonal skills at which many women, it says, excel.

At Simmons, case studies often use the real-life experiences of female executives, some of whom visit to attend classroom discussions. "I think women need a mental Rolodex of role models, and we provide that," says Dean Patricia O'Brien.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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