Emma Kent.

From chartered engineer to tech director: a woman’s journey to the top

23 October 2023

The article at a glance

Executive MBA alumna Emma Kent discusses the lack of gender diversity in technology and how the EMBA helped her achieve a senior role in the industry.

Historically the technology sector has lacked gender diversity. The lack of visible female role models in the sector reinforces the idea that tech, science and construction are ‘jobs for boys’. However, progress is being made as businesses and schools, as well as women and their allies challenge these stereotypes. As a result, these disciplines are becoming more equitable thanks to increased STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) inclusion in schools and universities, in addition to recruiting from diverse backgrounds across these industries.

Emma Kent (EMBA 2019), a Chartered Engineer and former Director of Construction for the Metropolitan Police, has broken these gender stereotypes.

Views on diversity within the tech industry

She has recently started a new role as Managing Director of the VINCI Technology Centre and shares her views on diversity within the industry.

As the tech sector can lack gender diversity, especially in senior positions, how do you feel about your achievement of being offered this role and how does it reflect on your previous roles?

“My new role is at the intersection of technology, construction and materials science; all these industries lack gender diversity so your question is very pertinent. I am extremely proud that VINCI have entrusted me with leading this business. I’m really excited about the role the business can play in the future of the built environment. The VINCI Technology Centre has a unique position in solving the biggest challenges facing the built environment including decarbonisation, resilience, and long-term asset performance.”

“VINCI made it clear from the outset that they are focused on diversifying their senior leadership and recognised that they need to be more flexible about their approach to work to achieve this goal. I find it particularly empowering that I am being supported to work part-time in this senior leadership position, on a permanent four days per week basis, so I can raise my young family.”

What role did the Executive MBA play in helping you achieve your new position?

“The EMBA definitely unlocked this new role for me. In my previous post, I was working client-side in a very large public sector organisation. The skills I learnt on the EMBA have bridged the gap from my experience to date to equip me to run a business effectively. For example, I was able to read and interpret the company’s financial statements prior to interview. I built my interview presentation using frameworks and processes I learnt in strategy and innovation management classes. Undertaking the EMBA also demonstrated I am comfortable learning new concepts and picking up ideas quickly, which was important, because this role is quite a pivot from my previous experience.”

Emma’s experience is an inspiration to those wanting to break into sectors obstructed by stereotypes and demonstrates that additional skills such as those learnt on our Executive MBA programmes are vital in supporting these career transitions.

Emma would be happy to connect with women in the STEM sector who are considering the Executive MBA programme.