Professor in the Spotlight: 3 Questions for Dr. Patricia Kraft

Portrait of Dr. Patricia Kraft, Professor at Munich Business School

In this series, we hold regular interviews with members of the Munich Business School (MBS) faculty to gain insights into their research projects and discover how this work benefits business and students. Today, we’re speaking with Dr. Patricia Kraft, Professor of International Business, Academic Director of the Bachelor’s program in International Business, and the dedicated founder of the Women in Leadership initiative at MBS.

MBS Insights: Dr. Kraft, you’ve been a Professor of International Business at Munich Business School for many years as well as Academic Director of the Bachelor’s program in International Business. Beyond these duties, there is another issue close to your heart: female leadership and empowerment. In 2018, you came together with other dedicated women and the Dean to found the Women in Leadership initiative at MBS. Why do you believe this topic is so important?

Prof. Dr. Patricia Kraft: Even though we can point to many areas where there is equality between women and men here in Germany, especially in comparison with other countries, there is still a lot more to do. Examples include the low percentage of women in leadership positions in companies and organizations, and the discrepancies that become evident when a couple decide to have a child, because the birth primarily presents downsides for the woman. In the student context specifically, we can see the importance of this issue at the personal level, because female students are often less self-confident and assertive. We’re addressing this and providing support through different event formats, and also at the interpersonal level by promoting networks and mentoring partnerships as well as highlighting role models and different career paths and routes through life. Our initiative aims to bring future female leaders together at MBS and support them in a strong network of students, teaching staff and alumni as well as companies and organizations.

MBS Insights: How do you connect this area of interest with your research? What projects are you working on at present?

Prof. Dr. Patricia Kraft: Together with my colleague Prof. Dr. Barbara Scheck, I’m currently working on two research projects related to female empowerment.
The Women Entrepreneurs in the Maghreb project is a cooperation with two other European universities from France and Belgium as well as Tunisian universities in Sousse and Gafsa and the Hassan 1 and Abdellah universities in Morocco. The project, which is co-funded by the European Commission, aims to leverage teaching and research focuses to increase entrepreneurial activities by female students and graduates in the African universities by developing knowledge together and identifying solutions for (gender-specific) challenges.
The second project is called EASE, which stands for Empowering Adult Survivors of Domestic Violence through Entrepreneurship. It aims to support women who have suffered domestic abuse as they recover and reintegrate into the workforce through training and mentoring programs in relation to start-ups and entrepreneurship. In this project, we are cooperating with European partners from France, Belgium, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic. Training courses, including mentoring and coaching programs, are currently underway in three countries.

MBS Insights: Thanks to your involvement in the Women in Leadership initiative at MBS, you are also a key face of this topic on campus. Do you also integrate issues related to (female) leadership, and your research in general, into your teaching? What is the best way to rouse your students’ interest in doing so?

Prof. Dr. Patricia Kraft: We lay the foundations in various extracurricular teaching events in the Women in Leadership initiative, such as workshops, business breakfasts and discussion panels. We then address some aspects as part of the curriculum, especially the results of the aforementioned projects, including in the Human Resource Management, Responsible Leadership and Entrepreneurship courses. My colleagues and I are often approached at events by students who want to finish their studies by writing their thesis on female leadership or related topics. We have noticed particular interest from students on our MBA program, for whom the topic is often very relevant given their professional experiences to date. Final theses on this topic have led to promising practical projects: two studies have already been carried out with the Mission Female careers network, with another project on the gender pension gap currently underway with Allianz.

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You are interested in economics and want to acquire in-depth business know-how?
Then the international business degrees at Munich Business School (MBS) are just right for you! At MBS you won’t cram dry theory from old textbooks, but learn in a outcome-oriented way and gain valuable practical experience. Convince yourself:

Bachelor’s in International Business
Master’s in International Business
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