UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A new partnership gives Penn State Online MBA students access to resources through the Forté Foundation, a nonprofit consortium of multinational corporations and top universities and business schools that seeks to empower women to advance in the workplace.

The partnership with Forté is made possible by the internationally ranked Penn State Smeal College of Business, which leads the Penn State Online MBA that is offered through Penn State World Campus.

Students can now attend exclusive Forté events, gain access to the organization’s job posting and résumé database, and tap into Forté’s extensive network of women business leaders.

Smeal College of Business graduate MBA students at the Penn State University Park campus and in the Executive MBA program are also eligible through the partnership.

The mission of the Forté Foundation is to change the balance of the workplace by giving women equal access to an infrastructure — business education, role models, professional networks, leadership training — that empowers them to succeed.

“Diversity at Smeal is about creating an environment that welcomes, celebrates, and promotes diversity of all forms, including support for student associations such as the Smeal Women’s Network, Women in Business, Women’s MBA, and Men As Allies,” said Brian Cameron, assistant dean of professional graduate programs for the Smeal College of Business. “This partnership with Forté only further enriches the experience of all our students, regardless of gender.”

The Forté Foundation was launched in 2001 to address an inequity found in a landmark research study, “Women and the MBA: Gateway to Opportunity,” which looked at why women are underrepresented in top business schools compared with medical or law schools. In 2005, its member schools grew to 25 in the United States, and today, it includes 54: 39 in the United States, four in Canada, and 11 in Europe.

“We are thrilled to welcome Penn State Smeal to our roster of outstanding MBA partners,” said Elissa Sangster, CEO at Forté. “An active and engaged Forté undergraduate partner since 2016, Penn State has demonstrated a commitment to furthering Forté’s mission of launching women into fulfilling, significant careers through access to business education, professional development, and a community of successful women.”

The partnership includes the opportunity to name a number of MBA students as Forté Fellows. The Forté Fellowship offers financial support to MBA candidates who exhibit exemplary leadership, represent diverse backgrounds, and demonstrate a commitment to advancing women in business through mentorship or community involvement.

“MBA program partnerships and the Forté Fellows program have been key to increasing the number of women represented in MBA programs,” Sangster said. “By providing financial support and access to key networks and opportunities, the Forté Fellows program empowers women MBAs to change their career trajectories, their earning power, and their lives. Since 2003, Forté partner schools have awarded $277 million in scholarships.”

The Penn State Online MBA is a 48-credit degree program that focuses on the principles and practices essential to modern management. It ranked in the top 10 of the 2021 U.S. News & World Report “Best Online Programs” rankings, and the program is accredited through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Learn more about the Penn State Online MBA.