Launching the Women in Tech Initiative at HBS

Angel Wang, Contributor
Nikita Jagadeesh, Contributor
Monica Mishra, Contributor
Monika Berankyte, Women Leadership Editor

Angel Wang (MBA ’22), Nikita Jagadeesh (MBA ’21), Monica Mishra (MBA ’21) and Monika Berankyte (MBA ’22) report on the inauguration of the Women in Tech Initiative at HBS.

This past year the HBS Tech Club launched a new group called the HBS Women in Tech Initiative. The mission of this group is to connect women who are interested in the tech industry and to empower women with the skills, confidence, and network to pursue a meaningful tech career. The motivation behind the group was to address the lack of diversity in technology and provide a platform to connect HBS women as they embark on their own journey in technology. 

The Motivation

Historically, women faced widespread challenges in gaining employment and growing professionally at technology companies, as evidenced by several industry-wide statistics:

  • Women represent 47% of employees across all US job sectors, but the five largest tech companies (Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft) only have 34.4% women in their workforce (Source: Built In);
  • Only 26% of executive, senior-level, and management positions in tech companies are held by people identifying as female (Source: Statista);
  • 27% of female respondents to a PwC study considered a tech career, compared to 62% of males respondents (Source: PwC).

In light of these industry trends, five RC and EC members came together to launch the inaugural Women in Tech Initiative. The founding members of this group included ECs Monica Mishra (MBA ’21) and Nikita Jagadeesh (MBA ’21) and RCs Angel Wang (MBA ’22), Jordan Naylor (MBA ’22), and Sadhana Bala (MBA ’22). This group brought together a mix of past experience as tech operators, investors, and engineers from companies such as Facebook, Bridgewater, Nutanix, Tenable and McKinsey. 

Goals and Charter of the Group

As a new group, the team was focused on establishing a stable foundation upon which future generations of women in tech could continue to grow. This included goals to:

  • Build partnerships with companies looking to hire and companies working on initiatives to increase diversity and inclusion;
  • Run workshops and panels of relevant topics to women in tech;
  • Help build community for the group through small group events and act as a liaison for the various other women groups on campus;
  • Publish communications and resources around women in tech events and community.

Activities and Events from this Past Year

Since its founding, the initiative has hosted a series of speakers including Michelle Zatlyn—COO, Co-Founder of Cloudflare (MBA ’09), Carey Kolaja—CEO of Au10TIX, Kaye Kirschner—Director of Product Development at Mastercard Artificial Intelligence Express (MBA ’16), and Lara Awoyemi—Facebook Business Integrity and Operations Manager, with over 100 attendees total across all events.

The HBS group also formed relationships with MIT Sloan School of Business by connecting with SWIM (Sloan Women in Management) to host the first-ever MIT x HBS Pen Pal program. Over 80 women were paired in small groups to meet, connect, and support one another. Finally, the group sent newsletters with resources, reading, and advice for women in tech. The group also met with representatives from tech companies, including Google and Accenture, to identify partnership opportunities.

Looking ahead we are so excited to grow this initiative and take it to new levels in 2021. We feel fortunate to have this opportunity to found this group and look forward to seeing this community grow! 

Angel Wang (MBA ’22) is a Michigander, ex-management consultant, and former Facebook Operations Manager within the Trust & Safety team, focused on political and electoral ads. She loves playing tennis and walking dogs in her spare time.

Nikita Jagadeesh (MBA ’21) is a native of California. Prior to HBS, she worked in Silicon Valley, in product management at Nutanix, a fast growing cloud computing company and as a strategy consultant at McKinsey. Her background is in product and go-to-market strategy for early-stage tech companies and she loves all things outdoors. 

Monica Mishra (AB ’17, MBA ’21) was at Bridgewater Associates prior to HBS and writes about her glory days as a software engineer and other tech topics on Medium. She is passionate about closing the gender gap in tech, her home state of Colorado, and T-rex jokes.

Monika Berankyte (MBA ’22) is from Lithuania and lived in London prior to coming to HBS. Monika is a whole-foods plant-based enthusiast, who loves the outdoors and swimming in particular. She describes her happy place as reading an exciting book coupled with fresh mint tea.