Embracing LGBT Identity in Business School Apps | MBA Admissions: Strictly Business
Marketing efforts to attract lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender MBA applicants are not on the fly. While business schools can easily target potential applicants by ethnicity, asking applicants to identify themselves based on their sexual orientation is not a standard demographic question.
Nonetheless, LGBT applicants can greatly benefit from researching the outreach efforts of their target schools, campus clubs, and inclusion towards their LGBT community as an important factor when selecting potential schools.
Many gay and lesbian applicants wonder if they should speak openly about their sexual orientation when they begin the MBA admission process. The LGBT student association in Harvard Business School, on the one hand, urges candidates to be “out” in their MBA application and notes that the admissions office is not only very gay friendly, but is excited to increase the LGBT presence at business school.
The admissions officers want to know more about you as a person, beyond your GPA and GMAT scores. “It is perfectly appropriate – and, again, probably advisable – that the essays reflect who you are as a whole person, including your sexuality and your gender identity / expression, if you choose to do so,” explains the group of students.
I once worked with a client, “David”, who apparently had a lot of background. He’d taken an extremely traditional progression from undergraduate Ivy League to banking to business school, but something about his story was lacking in depth.
David’s essays didn’t provide much detail about why he made certain decisions or what fueled different times, experiences, and reactions. Then, during a phone call, he came to see me. It had been a very personal struggle for him, and at the time, even his parents did not know his sexual orientation.
Our discussion opened the terms of his pressures, his decisions and his personality. I encouraged him to reveal this side of himself in the nominations because it really shed light on who he was. His sexuality did not become the focus of his essays, but acknowledging it allowed him to speak more openly about who he was and what mattered to him.
He ended up being accepted for Colombia Business School when it reapplied. He hadn’t revealed his sexual orientation the first time.
I don’t think the fact that he’s gay brought David in; However, I believe that his willingness to be introspective and to be more open about himself in his candidacy has helped immensely.
While business schools have made significant strides in LGBT issues lately, more can be done. In a recent GMAC article exploring awareness raising efforts among LGBT candidatesColumnist Ronald Alsop says that while schools have increased their marketing efforts to LGBT applicants, they still represent only a very small minority of MBA programs.
“According to GMAC’s 2013 Application Trends Survey, only nine percent of graduate business programs globally and only 13 percent in the United States reported special LGBT outreach efforts,” he said. said Alsop.
Liz Riley Hargrove, Associate Dean for Admissions at Duke University Fuqua Business School, notes that the school started hosting an LGBT weekend in 2011 to show off its gay-friendly culture and dispel any negative perceptions of southern congestion.
“We need more LGBT students so that the classroom is representative of the workforce our students will manage,” she told Alsop. “Exposure to different perspectives will affect the management and leadership styles of our students.”
Despite this, student Arnab Mukherjee told Businessweek that as a gay man he would like to see more alumni or LGBT teachers address gender and sexuality issues in the workplace through studies. academic cases, guest speakers or career-related events.
“I don’t think these are criticisms that would be unique to Cornell Johnson, as I have heard the exact same comments from friends of other top programs, such as Chicago Booth, HBS, NYU Stern and Stanford,” Mukherjee said. .
Fortunately, students don’t have to rely solely on networking opportunities within LGBT clubs and organizations on campus. Annually MBA Reaching Out Conference and Career Fair, for prospective and current MBA students, several hundred LGBT students from across the country can come together and significantly expand their professional networks.
New York University Stern Business School Former student Matt Kidd, executive director of Reaching Out MBA, recounts Poets & Quants this component is especially important for LGBT MBAs outside major metropolitan areas – places where there may not be a large gay or lesbian population.
“The difference is, you really have to focus on your classmates, and if you only have one or two, that’s a pretty small LGBT population.”
The LGBT population in business schools may be small, but its visibility is increasing and the diverse perspectives that members of this community can offer to an MBA cohort are not lost on business school admissions committees.