Lord Laidlaw: Women's Business Education Scholarship Programme

Lord Laidlaw discusses his motivation behind the Women's Business Education Scholarship, which currently supports extraordinary women at Columbia Business School and London Business School. First Laidlaw Scholars at Oxford Saïd Business School will start in 2021!

This month we are posting a video interview with Lord Laidlaw every Wednesday, so make sure you check the Network and follow us on Twitter/LinkedIn!

Find out more about the Women's Business Education Scholarship Programme: https://laidlawfoundation.com/women-in-leadership/


Fuelling Women in Leadership 

[What is the purpose of the Laidlaw Women’s Scholarship Programme?]

IRVINE LAIDLAW: The women's graduate programme is to encourage women to get MBA or other business degrees, and that will help them break through the glass ceiling that does exist in most organisations. It shouldn’t exist but, in truth, it does. However, if they have a graduate business degree from a top school, then I think that glass ceiling is easier to break through. 

The graduate women’s scheme has been running for 5 years at Columbia Business School, where I went, so it was natural to start there. We have just started work with London Business School and about to start at Saïd Business School at Oxford.

Another very important part for encouraging women to get graduate business degrees is that our programme is aimed at encouraging women who do not have the funds; who maybe don’t have the background; who aren’t able to borrow the money to do this. So, we are helping disadvantaged women or women who wouldn’t perhaps be able to afford to take the time out to do these programmes.

[Why did you decide to fund scholarships for women?]

IRVINE LAIDLAW: I fund scholarships for women in business because of my own experience. In the company that I built and ran, most of the managers were women and they were superb. I found it a pleasure to work with them and they were more loyal, more hardworking, brighter, more committed and made me more money than the men did. Very simple.

Men are more comfortable with men, working in senior roles. They are uncomfortable often with women in equal roles or indeed in more senior roles than themselves. Any organisation that doesn’t have a reasonable gender balance - it doesn’t have to be 50:50 but at least a reasonable gender balance, not at junior level but at senior and executive level - is a poorer organisation. And by poorer I mean they will be less profitable, and they will have fewer new ideas, and probably less ethical.

- END -

Music:  La Traviata, Brindisi (Verdi) by MIT Symphony Orchestra

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