A good mix makes the difference.

#digitalmba student and Women+ in Business Scholarship recipient Marija Puetz tells us about her mission to empowering women in business and her study experience at GBS.

When I decided to join the Digital MBA program, I had no idea how enriching my time as an MBA student would turn out to be. I imagined my journey at GBS to be a challenging time, especially because studying while working full-time would not be an insignificant commitment. However, I underestimated how rewarding the MBA experience would be for me.

We were the first cohort to have the opportunity to apply for GBS Scholarships and I decided to apply for the GBS Women+ in Business Scholarship as I had already been working for several years on how to empower women in business to achieve their goals and reach their full potential. Until today, I am active in various networks and at work I support other women to dare to do what they want. This is especially important to me because in the past I often experienced that women, due to personal experiences and entrenched behavioural patterns, often do not take risks like many men do.

I was always aware of why the topic was important to me. However, what made me get personally involved in the advancement of women is something I didn't consider until I was writing my motivation letter for that scholarship. Coming from Latvia, where gender equality goes without saying and therefore does not need extra public attention, I grew up in an environment where equal advancement opportunities are available to all genders.
From this personal background, I derive my mission to share my personal experiences with decision-makers in order to give more importance to gender equality in the workplace. Furthermore, I try to provide tools to female colleagues so that they empower themselves and represent their own interests and opinions with full conviction. In the end, it is worthwhile to stand up for yourself and your personal interests. I am convinced that it is an obligation of the current generation of women, to which I also belong, to enable young women to pursue their path in the business world. Thanks to modern female role models such as the previous German Chancellor or the President of the European Central Bank, who have gone their way against great odds and made a difference, it is now time to stand up and intensify efforts to bring about gender equality in society. If not now, when then? Therefore, I felt very honoured to receive the scholarship, but that was just the beginning of my journey at GBS.

In the first months of the study, I became more and more aware of how diversity improves results, enriches the path to the goal and increases creativity enormously. In our cohort, we all have very different backgrounds: different origins, ages, and occupations. We are so diverse that the discussions in both the large and small groups often open up perspectives that we were not aware of before.
In the first year of study at GBS, students are assigned to a fixed group in which they have to jointly work on assignments together. The group I belong to includes seven people from five different countries. Each one of us has a particular professional background and our group includes, for example, lawyers and engineers. As part of the group work, I was able to experience how bringing together different views can open a completely new perspective on a wide variety of topics. From the construction of a paper bridge on the first day at the university to the design of a digital business model in the Digital Business Models course, we have successfully demonstrated creativity, solution orientation and teamwork. The communication at eye level and the quickly developed trust in each other made our journey as a group particularly exciting. Thus, we not only functioned as a great group, but also became good friends, who enjoy spending time together besides university.

This experience showed me that now is the right time and place to address and celebrate diversity – in this case, especially gender diversity. I think that this process is going to be difficult for some. However, I am sure that by taking a holistic view on diversity enrichment by mixing teams with people from different social environments, mental status, abilities, religions and beliefs, it is possible to bring work results to higher level and make the way to a final destination more rewarding.
I am very grateful for this fruitful experience and the enriching time at GBS and wish more students to enjoy and feel this positive change in mind during their studies.

Be sure to follow us for future chats with GBS students and alumni, and find out what achievements define our community. With 700+ alumni in our network, we have 700+ fascinating stories to tell!