“People in the workplace have unconscious biases that hold women back in their careers. We need to recognise and challenge these perceptions.”
Raising the bar for an annual conference that’s now in its 17th year is tough. But as one of the leaders of Women in Business club (WiB) at London Business School (LBS), Claire Farrow enjoys the challenge.
“Expectations are high,” she says. “Previous attendees often say this is the best LBS event they’ve been to or it’s the reason they joined the School. For us it’s not just about meeting those expectations, but exceeding them. This year, we’re looking to bring in more male speakers and attendees, and discuss how men and women can establish more inclusive workplaces.”
The conference will focus on gender equality, both in terms of recruiting and retaining women. It will also challenge people’s perceptions about women at work. “People in the workplace have unconscious biases that hold women back in their careers,” Claire says. “We need to recognise and challenge these perceptions.”
Before arriving at LBS, Claire was a consultant at Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in Sydney. She was also part of BCG’s women’s initiative, bringing together female consultants to share their experiences at the firm. Claire joined WiB soon after arriving at LBS in August 2015 – a commitment she juggles alongside her studies and a part-time consultancy role at Expedia. “I’m working at Expedia to better understand the consumer retail sector,” she says.
Claire will return to BCG – where she advised companies across a range of industries – in Australia after she finishes at LBS. Her aim is to work with consulting companies in the consumer retail sector, and believes the MBA has given her the perfect business grounding.
“I’ve gained practical business skills, such as reading between the lines of a profit and loss statement, from studying corporate finance and financial accounting. I’ve also worked inside leading consumer retail companies including Tesco and Expedia. As a consultant it’s easy when you’re looking from the outside in to say to those companies, ‘You should do it this way or that’. But when you’re inside, you appreciate the complexities and nuances of how those industries work.
“Learning soft skills – both in class and as a leader of WiB – such as managing teams and leading change will help me in my career.”