one of few women in business phd---having a hard time


hi...i'm having a hard time in my business phd program---i feel like there's always this underlying current that i'm not as good as the other students there (and yes, i was told that some of my analytical skills were horrible because of low gmat quant scores)---my background is from the behavioral sciences, not global corp business...a professor i have treats me like i'm not there...i'm thinking about you have advice?


Are you being discriminated against because you're a woman or your academic performance?

Can't really give you any advice about your predicament though. Some people thrive on overcoming serious pressure, tackling the bull by the horns so to speak. On the other hand, I can understand if you've been placed under undue prejudice and duress. If that's the case it's quite understandable to walk out and find a better environment to do your postgrad studies.

But I suspect that you will probably come across the same kind of prejudice and pressure in the real business environment out there, it's still a male-dominated scene in the business world irrespective of what people say about women making more of an impact these days. But if you're doing PhD studies I assume you've already had experience in the business world and probably already know that?


Just another observation - there are also notoriously few women doing engineering, much less a PhD in engineering. But there are a few women there.

The difference between engineering and business is that the presence of women is much more appreciated in engineering than in business. I get the impression the guys tend to be more arrogant in business.


It could be that you are a woman, but then again it could be due to your academic performance.

The thing is, I was also hired for my PhD with a totally different background. And then when I started the PhD I was surrounded by students who specificially came from that particular background. So I totally felt out of my depth. While I was trying to catch up and learn basics, they were racing ahead of me.

On top of that I had a supervisor who started criticising me after 2 – 3 months of starting the PhD… and that was the start of my decline.

However, I always ask: why the heck did my supervisor not hire someone from the relevant background…? Why did he hire me and then not give me space to find my footing….


Rogue says: “Some people thrive on overcoming serious pressure, tackling the bull by the horns so to speak.”

Indeed. I tried and tried to overcome the serious pressure by trying to let my work do the talking, but in that respect I failed. I couldn’t come up with something original, dynamic, cutting edge…. all in the space of 6 months…. so I was sacked.

I’m realising the pressure is really on in academia and if you don’t cut the mustard there is a good chance you’ll be fired.


welll-I don't think its because of my academic gmat was over 610 total out of 800--the cutoff was 600. my verbal scores were over 95%tile. my quant was 60%tile...about 600000 took the test...2 out of 5 women left the program...I had a 4.0 gpa in my masters.

there is discrimation against women everywhere and yes esp in business...I don't get why male students and the prof either say the same thing I do and they get credit
for it...t is happens aa few times/wk....what do I say to that?


Not much you can say to that unfortunately, if you don't have a support system of people in similar circumstances there. Of course if you know how to play the game, there are probably subtle ways to get ahead.

But I often hear stories of people battling the odds and coming out on top, and what do they usually say in the end? They something along the lines of:

"I had to work ten times harder than everyone else to prove that I could succeed in their world because I'm *take your pick* black/female/poor/fat/suffer from ADD/gay/muslim/only have one foot/ugly/likes to wear female underwear/vegan...".

It's almost a cliche now.


Well said Rogue.

I wish I gave a s**t about my previous PhD, but the truth is I didn't.

It's true, many people can overcome big odds if they are truly passionate about something.


I think it's still a bit different when you've got to deal with arrogance and prejudice every day. I imagine it would be heavily taxing on one's sanity.



I agree with Rogue on this one.

Forget the female discrimination issue for a moment (even if it's there).

Is there anything you think you can do to improve your situation? Wd be v. interested to hear.


I also agree with the others, forget this discrimination talk very quickly as it is nothing than a lame excuse for academic lack of competence. Instead, focus on your work, get better and show them how good you are.

I know I sound like an unfriendly arse, but I'm fed up with all rubbish discrimiation talk because of eye colour, eating requirements (vegetarians) and so on.


Actually I wasn't trying to say forget about the gender discrimination issue. I'm a bit vague on about this because sometimes it's really not worth facing the uphill battle when you could easily find another supervisor in another place where you'll be treated with more respect.


o.stoll, ouch! first, this isn't about hair coolor, nor about what I eat. This situation is about my gender. Second, the problem with society today is when people are so quick to dismiss people's experiences without taking time to questioon and acknowledge their validity.
Finally, thank you for reminding me that some things in life will only change when people are courageous enough to admit they have something to learn.

Thank you to everyone for your help and suggestions.


By the way my comment re "I had to work ten times harder..." was actually a jab at the ones who perpetrators of prejudice, not the victims.

Do you have any idea what you'll do?


"This situation is about my gender. "

How can you be so sure about this causality?