SDA Bocconi Believes in Women

SDA Bocconi recognizes that in today’s world women need to occupy a more prominent role in business and have greater access to leadership roles. As a strong believer in gender equality and the importance of women’s contribution to the business world, SDA Bocconi is committed to promoting their professional development.

Currently women represent around 20-35% of the student population in the School’s MBA programs. However, SDA Bocconi is committed to increasing this percentage through a number of activities that aim to attract more women to its programs, monitor their presence in the industry, and promote their professional development.

In particular, SDA Bocconi offers a number of scholarships for women for the full-time MBA as well as for all Executive MBA programs, aiming at supporting talented women applying to these high-profile programs.

March 8, International Women’s Day, is NOT just a day for formal statements of principles: the Women & Money event jointly organized on that date by three SDA Bocconi’s Master Student Clubs (ETHICA, Luxury&Arts e Finance), clearly stood for that: a meeting between four female managers and an audience of young participants – mostly women – in the Full-Time MBA and other SDA Bocconi Master programs, with concrete issues on the table, strictly related to business and employment relationships.






Chiara Berlendi of Badenoch & Clark, Ilaria Bertizzolo of NatWest, Gini Dupasquier of DonnaLab, and Tiziana Bocus of Allianz Bank were there to deal with these issues from their different points of view, as well as from their different professional experiences – just to wipe out the cliché that women “think as one”. Moderating the discussion, Żaneta Motkowicz, Career Development Counselor at SDA Bocconi.

Special MBA Club Event: Women & Money with Gini Dupasquier, Chiara Berlendi, Ilaria Bertizzolo, Tiziana Bocus
Special MBA Club Event: Women & Money with Gini Dupasquier, Chiara Berlendi, Ilaria Bertizzolo, Tiziana Bocus

ME-TOTEM project

Co-financed by the European Commission DG Justice

For six months, 12 female MBA students will receive advice from top European female managers on how to make their way professionally and assure themselves equal opportunities in the world of work. All thanks to the participation of SDA Bocconi in the MEntoring as a TOol Towards EMpowerment project (ME-TOTEM), part of the strategy of the European Commission to promote gender equality. The project was developed and is spearheaded by the Professional Women’s Association Milan (PWA Milan) within the Advisory Board of the Diversity Management Lab. The main objectives of the two-year ME-TOTEM project are to create a direct relationship between qualified women and board members through mentoring and sponsorship, mobilize board members and top executives around the need to support women’s career paths, and make junior professional women (MBA students) aware of the importance of career planning and of finding a mentor and sponsor.

Many PWA members are SDA Bocconi alumnae, who started to take an interest in female presence in high-level jobs through the school’s MBA Ethica club. This club addresses, among other issues, diversity management topics, to inspire women and support their growing presence across all levels of business by promoting activities such as workshops, lectures by influential businesswomen, and networking events.

A major event organized in collaboration with the MBA Recruiting & Admissions team is the Women in Business conference. Taking place each autumn, the event hosts a panel of top speakers addressing issues such as work-life balance, flexibility at work, and career guidance. It also offers a networking opportunity not only for current MBA students, but to women interested in pursuing an MBA as well, connecting them with alumni and faculty.

SDA Bocconi and PWA

PWA Milan (The Professional Women’s Association of Milan) is an international network of women with diverse backgrounds, cultures, and occupations. PWA aims to foster personal and professional development and to provide a friendly forum for networking and growth.

PWA’s members are typically independent professionals, entrepreneurs, or women with a corporate background. PWA Milan is a member of a larger network, the European Professional Women’s Network. Thanks to a new partnership agreement with the school, female MBA participants are offered free membership to the PWA, a great opportunity to enlarge their network and to liaise with Italian and international professional women based in Milan, including SDA Bocconi’s faculty and staff.

Several SDA Bocconi MBA alumnae belong to the association. Annalisa Gigante is presently vice president of the European Professional Women’s Network. Joining this network is a great opportunity for our MBA students to make their MBA experience in Milan even more valuable and enjoyable.

The center has conducted research on topics such as the gender pay gap and the costs of maternity to both employees and companies.

As a partner of PWA, SDA Bocconi is also involved in a project called “Ready-for-Board Women”. This project was started in 2008 to tackle the issue of low female representation on company boards, and its association with the supposed lack of suitable female candidates for board-level positions. The project involved identifying ideal candidate profiles, creating a database of matching candidates, and making it available to companies looking for new board members.

SDA Bocconi Sponsors

The WIN Global Leadership Conference

Among the initiatives undertaken by SDA Bocconi to further the integration of women in business and management, the sponsorship of the WIN Conference (Women International Networking) is perhaps the most successful of its kind. Kristin Engvig, an SDA Bocconi Master graduate, is the engine behind WIN.


The WIN Conference received the backing of the school from the outset, as they appreciate the importance of this type of meetings and sharing of experience and ideas. Topics range from the main economic and social trends under way, to the success stories of large corporations, and the themes of women’s leadership and empowerment.

Each year this international conference draws 700 attendants from five continents, and is sponsored by several major international companies, such as Shell, HP, Cisco Systems, Volvo, Whirlpool, IBM, Continental Airlines, CNN, Reuters, among others.