Female Leadership

Supporting Gender Diversity in Business With the 30% Club

MBA winner Vera Wang-Kukulies on female leadership

Advocates and supporters of gender diversity in business, WHU aims to enable talented women to pursue an MBA on their path to leadership success. Through a partnership with a UK-based organization, the 30% Club, it offers one 50% tuition scholarship to a top female applicant every year. This year, Full-Time MBA student Vera Wang-Kukulies was the winner of this prize scholarship.

With four years at Huawei Consumer Business Group based in Dusseldorf and with a new role at Vivo as E-Commerce Manager for the European region, we find out more about why she chose an MBA and how it impacts her career goals.

What motivated you to study for a master’s degree in Germany?

When I was growing up in China, I was very interested in other cultures and countries. However, I was always particularly fascinated by Germany, from its pianists and poets to its complex historical development. It went through some of the darkest moments in modern history to become the stable and peaceful country that it is today.

What cultural differences have you encountered as an international female?

When living in a foreign country with a different culture, one constantly encounters situations where one may experience misunderstandings. A tiny amount of goodwill and curiosity for new things are the key ingredients to explore cultural differences without getting frustrated. Often, it is these cultural differences that may make a conversation fascinating and insightful.

What motivated you to pursue an MBA?

Having worked for a couple of years, I wanted to embark on a new, transformational journey to develop myself into a leader. I felt that I could learn new hard skills (for example, finance, accounting, operations, marketing, etc.) while also developing my soft skills (communication, teamwork, delegation, etc.). At the same time, I really hope to get to know more people from various backgrounds and learn about their professional journeys and ambitions.

How has your experience been so far at WHU amongst such a diverse cohort?

The experience at WHU has been great so far. I got to know many classmates from different cultural and professional backgrounds while exchanging views with them. Everyone had an exciting story to tell, and I am sure that we will not only have a great year at WHU together but stay connected for years to come. 

How did it feel to discover you had won the Women in Business Scholarship?

I was very excited and deeply grateful when I heard that I won the Women in Business Scholarship. Having read a lot about the 30% Club, I appreciate the financial support and the opportunity to connect with like-minded people, learn from others, and give back to the network. 

Why do you feel mentoring is essential for women in business?

Talking to other people (be it men or women) and learning about their experiences and how they got to the point where they are now is very important. One should, of course, learn from one’s own mistakes, but ideally, one should also learn from the mistakes and experiences of others. For this, exchanging with other people is crucial. I hope that women in leadership positions are more common in the future so that young aspiring women have plenty of role models to look up to and learn from. 

How do you hope your career will evolve once you graduate, with the knowledge of WHU and the support of the 30% Club? 

I am only at the beginning of my long journey to develop myself into a leadership position. WHU and the 30% Club certainly provide me with the crucial knowledge, capabilities, and resources for that journey. Yet, most importantly, they provide me with the intelligent, funny, and passionate people that accompany me on my journey. 

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