MasterCard to Close Business and Tech Gender Gap; Introduces Second Scholarship Programme for Women

[Singapore, 28 January 2015 (Wednesday)] “For society to operate at its best, women must be in a position to operate at their best. And that can only happen with equal partnership, equal opportunities and equal participation,” said Ajay Banga, President and CEO of MasterCard at the Breakthrough Inspiration Award where he received an award for MasterCard’s efforts in inclusion and support for women in business and technology.

Continuing in this vein, MasterCard today announced a new scholarship award - the inaugural MasterCard Scholarship for Women at Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). This joint initiative with SUTD complements the MasterCard MBA Scholarships for Women at Singapore Management University (SMU), now in its fifth year.

As a part of its commitment to empowering women and ongoing collaborations with these two Singapore universities, four recipients were awarded scholarships for their excellent academic record and entrepreneurial potential as well as passion for community service:

  • Sweta Kalantri and Veronica Ho Pei Wen from SMU
  • Ong Shi Ke and Poh Wan Han from SUTD


About the Scholarships

The inaugural MasterCard Scholarship for Women at SUTD is awarded to female undergraduates pursuing an education in technology, while the MasterCard MBA Scholarships for Women at SMU which started in 2011 is awarded to full-time female MBA candidates studying at SMU. Both programmes aim to empower awardees, and support and develop them into academically outstanding and socially responsible women.

Associate Professor Gregor Halff, Associate Dean (General Management Programmes), SMU Lee Kong Chian School of Business, said, “Diversity is a key feature of the SMU MBA. Since inception, our class is a mix of diverse cultures, lifestyles and nationalities, and always boasts a significant female representation. I’m heartened that we have a like-minded partner in MasterCard who acknowledges and promotes greater awareness of the important contributions of women in business and society. We are also grateful for the long-standing support from MasterCard towards the SMU MBA programme.  This scholarship recognises high-achievers in our MBA programme who demonstrate entrepreneurial potential and embody SMU’s DNA of contributing to the community. We are very proud of Sweta and Veronica for their achievements; they are certainly an inspiration to their peers and other young women aiming for success.”

Professor Thomas Magnanti, President of SUTD, expressed his thanks to MasterCard for their support, particularly to empower female engineering talent at the young university. He said, “SUTD is dedicated to nurturing a new generation of technically grounded leaders and innovators who can improve lives and meet the world’s challenges. At SUTD, we value diversity and recognise the important role women have in society. More than 40% of our student population are female. I am delighted to have a like-minded partner in MasterCard, whose foresight in establishing the inaugural MasterCard Scholarship for Women provides a meaningful boost to our efforts to attract more women in technology, design and innovation. Over the ages, women inventors have developed devices that save lives such as the life raft and the bulletproof vest, as well as items that improve our daily lives like the hot water heater and the dishwasher. We hope that female SUTD students will continue this heritage of innovation, entrepreneurship and can-do attitude, to further better our society in future.”

Georgette Tan, group head, Communications, Asia/Pacific, MasterCard, said, “There is unfortunately, a disparity between the number of women who study STEM-related topics at university and those who actually pursue a STEM-related career, after graduation. More needs to be done to ensure that women are empowered and encouraged to break the glass ceiling in this traditionally male-dominated field. MasterCard is committed to supporting women of all ages in STEM – by working with organisations such as UN Women to raise awareness and visibility of STEM amongst 10 to 15 year-old girls in Singapore and doing the same across the world with our Girls4Tech campaign, and later in their education journey, partnering with universities such as SMU and SUTD as a way to help advance university-aged women interested in the fields of STEM.”

The scholarship recipients will also undertake an internship with MasterCard, to learn more about the business and operations of the global technology company. To date, a total of 13 women have benefitted from the MasterCard MBA scholarship programme with SMU.

Georgette Tan, added, “Over the past 4 years, we’ve seen how it’s been a win-win situation – the scholarship recipients have a chance to experience first-hand the workings of a technology company and MasterCard gains from the fresh perspective and contributions brought about by these brilliant young women.”

[Photo: (L-R) SMU MBA students, Veronica Ho Pei Wen and Sweta Kalantri.]


For media queries, please contact:

Huang Peiling, SMU, +65 6828 0964, plhuang [at]

Corinna Choong, SUTD, +65 6303 6612, corinnachoong [at]

Georgette Tan, MasterCard, +65 6390 5971, georgette_tan [at]

Sheila Jang, Weber Shandwick, +65 6825 8064, sjang [at]