01 Dec 2012

Commemorating a Milestone

Focusing on the past, present, and future


A half-century ago, women were first admitted to the two-year MBA Program at HBS. Over the coming months, the School is highlighting this event—and focusing on women leaders in business and society—with public and academic programs, student events, and special projects. (For details, visit www.alumni.hbs.edu/women50.html.) The Bulletin is marking the milestone, beginning with this issue.

As with all "firsts," there's a backstory. Ours involves a number of women who led the way to the two-year MBA path. In "The Accidental Pioneers" (page 34) you'll meet alumnae who transitioned from the Harvard-Radcliffe Program in Business Administration into the MBA Program between 1960 and 1965 and hear from some of the eight women in that first two-year Class of 1965.

Naturally, the hope is that, one day in the not-too-distant future, opportunities for women and men in the business world (not to mention society at large) will be equal. When that day comes, the notion of "glass ceilings" or "old-boy networks" will be quaint curiosities, much like today's Mad Men TV series. Helping the business world move down that road are three HBS faculty members, featured in "Women, Work, and HBS" (page 38), who are exploring issues around equality, gender bias, and entrepreneurship.

In this spirit of looking back and looking ahead, the centerpiece of this issue are the women who came first as well as those who have followed in their footsteps. To showcase the diversity of women's career paths and personal choices, last spring we asked the HBS alumni community to identify alumnae who have demonstrated leadership in its many forms. That initial call prompted more than 200 suggestions, from which we picked about 40 alumnae to answer questions about their lives and experiences. Their responses fill 10 of this issue's printed pages (page 24) —and more than double that amount here on the alumni website. Be sure to see both the printed and online formats; they're a rich and rewarding read.

One final note, about this issue's unique cover. Our goal was to capture in a single image the range of women who have attended HBS. What you see here is the result of a truly global effort in which we asked photographers in Tanzania, Brazil, France, the US, and beyond to capture portraits of these HBS alumnae leaders. We hope you enjoy this special cover, and this important issue, and we look forward to your joining us in celebrating the women of HBS—past, present, and future.


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