When Marilyn Beaudry-Corbett attended the Marshall School of Business as an undergraduate student in the early 1950s, she was one of the few women at the school. But she didn’t let that stop her. She went on to enroll in the Harvard-Radcliffe program in Business Administration, and later returned to Marshall for her master’s in industrial sociology. Eventually, she became the chief operating officer for market research firm Audience Studies, Inc., according to Marshall’s website.
Although women entering business face different challenges today than they did when Beaudry-Corbett was a student, these difficulties still exist — and Beaudry-Corbett’s $4 million donation to the Marshall School of Business hopes to combat that problem, by providing scholarships for female MBA students 30 and older, according to Trojan Family Magazine.
“Marilyn Beaudry-Corbett’s extremely generous donation is visionary and courageous,” Marshall Dean James Ellis told Marshall News. “She understands firsthand the challenges women still face in advancing their business careers. Her investment helps level the playing field by offering [women] access to a critical educational opportunity.”
U.S. News reported that 36.8 percent of full-time master’s students are women, and at USC, 32 percent of the Marshall MBA program’s 2017 entering class was made up of women, according to Marshall’s website. Women also face gender gaps in corporate leadership — only one in five executives is a woman, and 60 percent of firms have no women on their board, according to a 2016 article from The Economist.
“Marilyn’s gift is particularly significant given the events she lived through as a single, professional woman in an era when women weren’t necessarily allowed to be either,” Anne Ziemniak, the director of the Marshall MBA program, told Marshall News. “Despite those challenges, she went on to became very successful, and with her gift, she is in essence paying it forward to the next generation of women business leaders.”
Despite enjoying success in her corporate career, she decided to change course about 10 years later, and developed an interest in archaeology, according to UCLA Newsroom.
She earned a master’s degree and doctorate in archaeology, from UCLA, where she later became a professor.
Like with business, pursuing a career in archaeology presented challenges for Beaudry-Corbett. According to UCLA Newsroom, the advisors she spoke to initially discouraged her because she lacked academic credentials for the career path.