Fuelling women in leadership


Fuelling women in leadership

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Women are still woefully underrepresented in C-Suites and Boardrooms across the world. By investing in extraordinary women completing their MBAs, the Foundation intends to give women the education and networks to achieve equal representation and power. To date, we have helped over 300+ women earn their MBA from Columbia Business School and have begun a Women’s Movement programme with London Business School and Oxford’s Saïd Business School, providing full and half scholarships to women who would not otherwise be in a position to reap the benefits of attending these outstanding schools.

“Understanding the link between women’s empowerment and the wealth and health of societies is crucial for humanity…If you want to lift up humanity, empower women. It is the most comprehensive, pervasive, high-leverage investment you can make in human beings.” — Melinda Gates


London Business School and Laidlaw Foundation share a commitment to women in business and women’s initiatives. We also share a joint vision – to help exceptional females to excel in their careers, regardless of their socio-economic backgrounds. By offering business education scholarships to LBS, we aim to propel more women into leadership roles.

The creation of the Laidlaw Women’s Leadership Fund strengthens the School’s ambition of moving towards 51% female representation across LBS’s degree programmes, in particular the number of women from socio-economically diverse backgrounds. The fund aims to attract the highest calibre women who might not otherwise be able to afford a top-tier business education.

The Laidlaw Women’s Leadership Fund at London Business School will support 20 outstanding female scholars per year in the MBA, Executive MBA and Masters in Management programmes per year from 2019/2020 to 2021/2022.

By arming cohorts of women to aim higher and achieve more through education and in their careers, the LBS and Laidlaw Foundation partnership intends to inspire and encourage the drive for change by promoting women’s leadership on boards and in businesses around the globe.

Together we aim to build and develop a diverse community of passionate and exceptional female leaders, from a wide range of backgrounds.

Full and half scholarships available.

François Ortalo-Magné, Dean, London Business School, discusses our joint vision – to help exceptional women excel in their careers and take positions of leadership around the world.

About LBS

London Business School’s vision is to have a profound impact on the way the world does business and the way business impacts the world. The School is consistently ranked among the best business schools globally and is widely acknowledged as a centre for outstanding research.

As well as its highly ranked degree programmes, the School offers award-winning Executive Education programmes to business leaders from around the world.

London Business School has campuses in London and Dubai, and a presence in three additional international cities – New York, Hong Kong and Shanghai. The School equips its diverse student body with the tools needed to tackle today’s business challenges and connects them with many of the world’s leading thinkers.

The School has more than 44,000 alumni working in over 155 countries. Together, they are a community defined by a wealth of knowledge, business experience and worldwide networking opportunities.

London Business School’s 174 faculty members come from over 30 countries. They cover seven subject areas: accounting, economics, finance, management science and operations, marketing, organisational behaviour, and strategy and entrepreneurship.


On March 9th 2020, it was announced that the Laidlaw Foundation will donate £1.35m to fund full and half scholarships for women at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford. The Oxford Laidlaw Scholars will be joining over 300 Laidlaw Scholars from Columbia Business School whom the Laidlaw Foundation has supported to earn their MBAs; and Scholars at London Business School where the Foundation launched a Women’s Movement in 2019.

‘We are thrilled that Oxford Saïd is joining our Women’s Movement. Our aim is to propel more women into leadership roles by giving extraordinary women, who would not otherwise be able to afford an MBA, access to Oxford Saïd’s exceptional programme and network,’ – Susanna V. Kempe, CEO of the Laidlaw Foundation.

The scholarships are intended to encourage extraordinary women with clear leadership potential to enrol onto the MBA programme when they would not have previously considered the qualification due to financial constraints.

‘We are delighted that the Laidlaw Foundation is generously providing scholarships for women over the next 3 years, giving them an opportunity to create real change in businesses and industries across the world and inspire others.  We are committed to achieving gender parity in education and this gift will materially help us in our endeavours,’ – Kathy Harvey, Associate Dean, MBA and Executive Degrees at Oxford Saïd.

The total gift will enable Oxford Saïd to build on its current position as Europe’s most gender balanced MBA (currently 44% female) and achieve full gender parity.


Embedded in the oldest university in the English-speaking world, the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School is a young and innovative school that seeks to develop the next generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs. Oxford Saïd offers a broad range of business-related degree programmes and executive education taught courses. The school uses its academic strengths and global network to address long-term transformations such as climate change and the impact of new technology.


Together, Columbia Business School and the Laidlaw Foundation aim to build a pipeline of female business leaders and support them on their path to the C-suite.

The Laidlaw Scholarship provides crucial financial assistance to exceptional Columbia Business School women who might not otherwise be able to afford business school. In addition to an unparalleled education, they receive entrée into an expanding community of talented Laidlaw Columbia Business Scholars (LCBS). Through programming, mentorship, and organizational partnerships, the LCBS community supports and augments members’ success both at school and on into their careers.

To date, nearly 300 students from 30 countries have received the Laidlaw Scholarship and joined the global Laidlaw Scholars network.

About CBS

CBS is the only Ivy League business school that delivers a world-class learning experience at the very center of global business. The School’s transformative curriculum bridges academic theory with unparalleled exposure to real-world practice, equipping students with an entrepreneurial mindset that allows them to recognize, generate, and capture opportunity in any environment. The School creates an inclusive culture and educational opportunities that prepare graduates to be leaders and allies throughout their careers and in their personal lives. By nurturing and disseminating the thought leadership and accomplishments of its superlative faculty and distinguished alumni, Columbia Business School continues to have an immediate, measurable impact on the forces shaping business every day.


The Laidlaw Foundation and Trinity College Dublin have announced a new scholarship programme entitled Pathways for Women in Business – Empowering women in business through higher education.

In partnership with the Trinity Access Programmes (TAP), these scholarships will enable 30 diverse and exceptional women, from lower socio-economic groups to study in Trinity College Dublin. As well as strengthening its scholarships for women, TAP will develop, build, and embed initiatives to support female leadership, including skills development programmes and career workshops over a three-year period. The programme will empower these women to access higher education and to progress to successful careers in business.

Susanna V. Kempe, CEO of the Laidlaw Foundation, commented: “This programme extends our successful Women in Business Scholarships at London Business School and Oxford’s Saïd Business School to undergraduates. Trinity’s fantastic track record in addressing educational disadvantage makes them the perfect partner for us as we strive to transform lives through providing world class education and propel more women into leadership roles.”

Lord Laidlaw added: “I have been a strong supporter of Trinity College Dublin for many years. Adding these Scholarships builds on my commitment to the University and the community. I am delighted that we are able to invest in this programme and the futures that it will create.”

About Trinity Access Programmes

Established in 1993, Trinity Access Programmes (TAP) forms a key element of the social mission of Trinity College Dublin and has a highly successful track record of working with schools, teachers, and communities to increase participation in third-level education by people from under-represented groups. TAP is acknowledged as a world leader in addressing educational disadvantage.


How To Apply

Outstanding women who can demonstrate economic need, exceptional academic merit and true leadership potential should apply directly to either Saïd Business School or London Business School. We no longer accept applications for scholarships at Columbia Business School.

Please note that you must apply for your intended programme and be granted admission separately to the scholarship application.