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MBA group provides support, mentorship for women in business

Carolina Women in Business provides professional and personal development opportunities for women preparing to be leaders in the business world.

An aerial photo of the UNC Kenan-Flagler's two brick buildings.
The UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (Photo by UNC Kenan-Flagler)

Even before she was officially a Tar Heel, the Carolina Women in Business student organization at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School played a critical role in Darby Casey’s experience as an MBA student.

As a young professional working in the energy industry, Casey attended a conference led by the group and immediately made connections with alumnae and found mentorship that inspired her path to UNC Kenan-Flagler. One alumna even offered to mentor Casey through the application process, which was key to the next steps Casey has taken in her career.

“I don’t know that I’d be here without that connection,” said Darby, now a second-year MBA student at UNC Kenan-Flagler.

Now president of Carolina Women in Business, Darby is looking to provide more of those connections and supports to Tar Heels. The group, open to MBA students at UNC Kenan-Flagler, provides professional and personal development opportunities for women and their allies preparing to be leaders in the business world. The business school also has a similar group for undergraduate students.

Continue reading to learn more about the Carolina Women in Business and what the group is working to achieve on campus from Darby.

What is the goal of Carolina Women in Business?

Carolina Women in Business is the largest UNC MBA club, and the primary goal here is to increase women’s representation at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School and beyond. That’s done through four key components: providing opportunities for career and personal development, inspiring male allies, facilitating networking opportunities and connecting with alumni.

These four goals are achieved in several ways throughout the year. Two common ways we accomplish these goals are through panels and workshops specifically geared at women. For example, this year, we’ll be doing one for women in energy. We’ll likely also do one for women in finance. The other way we support our mission is by fostering the community here at Carolina. We provide social opportunities that offer students the ability to connect with new people across the MBA program.

Why are the goals of this group important for our students?

Carolina Women in Business is important because it supports the women at UNC Kenan-Flagler throughout their MBA journey. We’ve come a long way in terms of business practices over the years to support women better. However, we still have a long way to go. Not only does our group support our members and allies through personal and professional development, but it’s also important because we’re shaping these individuals. It has an impact on the UNC Kenan-Flagler community, and it will have an impact on corporations.

During your MBA journey, it is easy to feel siloed when you are hyper-focused on your career path. By having women’s organizations like Carolina Women in Business, we can better support each other and find the resources that we need to make effective change within our organizations and the systems that we are within. Coming together as a community to build each other up is really important, and Carolina Women in Business provides women and allies the opportunity to do that.

What is your favorite part of being in Carolina Women in Business?

The social aspects are my favorite. We have programming like lean-in circles, which are small groups that allow you to meet other people that you may not have met. Carolina Women in Business has been an opportunity for me to meet people outside of my own career interests and learn from them.

In the fall, Carolina Women in Business is hosting its 17th annual conference. Why does the group host it each year?

The main objective is to connect women. It has been a great opportunity, especially when it’s been in person, for prospective students to connect with each other. It is also an opportunity for our current students to meet with our sponsors as well. This event has upwards of 400 folks in attendance, which is what we’re trying to get back to this year after COVID. Last year was more hybrid, and this year, we’ll be back in person. The bulk of our attendees are typically prospective students, current MBA students, and then our sponsors and some alumni.

The event is on Nov. 11, and the theme is “Leadership for Tomorrow.” The world has changed, especially merging from COVID and the new business models that resulted from it. The goal of this conference is to touch on how we can best lead in this new and evolving business environment.

Register for this year’s Carolina Women in Business Conference