ASU student passionate about advancing gender equality in the business world

Drawing inspiration from her mother, Priyanka Mathur sees women as having no limitations


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Editor's note: This is part of a series of profiles of fall 2017 incoming ASU students.

Priyanka Mathur has already accomplished a lot, working as a high-level marketing professional at a major corporation and winning a spot in a highly competitive MBA program at Arizona State University, yet one of her biggest inspirations remains her mother.

“I was working with Siemens, responsible for all India marketing and strategy for industry services and I was really fortunate to find this great responsibility at a very young stage in my career,” said Mathur, who is in the full-time Forward Focus MBA program in the W. P. Carey School of Business at ASU.

She appreciates the school’s attention to increasing the number of women in business — a trend she’s passionate about.

“My earliest source of inspiration was my mother. She was the first woman police officer in Rajasthan,” the largest state in India.

“India is a very conservative country and Rajasthan is one of the most conservative states, so back in the 1970s it was really difficult for women to find challenging careers and to challenge the system. And my mom was one of them,” she said.

“So I feel there are no limitations to women’s capabilities and they’re equally strong as men.”

Although women are graduating from college in numbers equal to men, Mathur notes that women are drastically underrepresented among CEOs at the largest companies.

“As of 2017, there are 32 female CEOs on the list of Fortune 500, meaning that only 6.4 percent of the U.S.'s biggest companies are run by women and this is the highest proportion of female CEOs in the 63-year history of the Fortune 500,” she said.

“Post MBA, I want to be a successful business leader and a trusted adviser to aspiring women. Gender equality is the vision of my generation and I want to be at the epicenter of the movement.”

Meet Priyanka Mathur:

Question: Why did you want to pursue a Forward Focus MBA at ASU?

Answer: I am keen on exploring and harnessing the potential of data analytics in marketing and operations. W. P. Carey’s highly ranked Forward Focus MBA Program will not only provide me deeper insights on expanding my knowledge base on data analytics to solve complex business problems, but also help me hone my leadership skills to effectively collaborate and lead across various cross functions at a global level.

Q: What are you most excited to experience your first semester?

A: The firsthand experience of interacting with people coming from 24 nations and understanding different cultural nuances that come to play both in business and in real life.

Q: What do you like to brag about to friends about ASU?

A: We have all the numbers to brag about. We are U.S. No. 1 school in innovation, No. 3 in supply chain, No. 25 in global MBA program; the list goes on. But what I would like to brag about is the feel of being a part of this small close-knit community where everybody wants to help each other. This makes ASU an ideal environment conducive towards learning for growth and development.

Q: What talents and skills are you bringing to the ASU community?

A: My professional network finds me as a creative problem solver and an articulate communicator. My solid background in marketing and project management will enable me to contribute in various team-based projects, case-studies and classroom discussions, especially in courses such as service innovation and business-to-business marketing.

Q: What’s your favorite TV show right now?

A: “Game of Thrones.”

Q: What do you hope to accomplish during your MBA study?

A: I seek to understand business from a global perspective, gain cross-cultural experience and acquire a growth mind-set to advance my career towards being a global business professional in my niche.

Q: What’s one interesting fact about yourself that only your friends know?

A: I’ve been writing in my daily diary since I was 15.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem in our world, what would you choose?

A: Back in the 1970s, a woman police officer was unheard of across the country. Ms. Pramila Mathur rose up to the challenge and fought her way through the system to make it happen. I have been fortunate to watch this amazing woman every day of my life because I am her daughter. Since childhood, I have firmly believed that gender is no ceiling to capabilities and aspirations.

Currently, the representation of women in business is far from ideal. MBA is one of the primary pipelines for supply of future leaders. And clearly there is a dearth of women leaders in the business world. I believe a financial stimulus could accelerate things. Taking inspiration from ASU’s Forward Focus program, I will like to start a fund. Potential women candidates who have the ability but lack means need to be identified across the world and must be trained extensively to become our future business leaders. With $40 million, I can make a start toward bringing a shift in the current scheme of things.

Top photo: Priyanka Mathur is in the Forward Focus MBA program in the W. P. Carey School of Business. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

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