One of the most frequent questions the Reaching Out receives from prospective students, current LGBT MBA students and the media is “How many LGBT MBAs are there?” or “What is the most inclusive school for LGBT MBA applicants?”
These questions are virtually impossible to accurately answer in part because tracking data for LGBTQ individuals within business schools depends on individuals’ disclosure/being out. Many schools may have 5-8% LGBT MBA students, but only 20% of them are out while in school.
However, for the past two years Reaching Out has turned to its club affiliates in an attempt to track progress in overall percentage of out self-identifying LGBT MBAs in business school at any given time and the number of students participating in on-campus LGBT clubs.
Last year, working with a small sample of 16 MBA programs we found that approximately 2.7% of MBAs were openly LGBTQ. This year, working with a slightly larger sample of 33 of our LGBT MBA Affiliates (6 participating survey programs opted out of numbers disclosure), we found that the approximately 2.94% of current MBAs self-identify as openly LGBTQ. Additionally the median on-campus LGBT MBA club membership at the 39 participating affiliates is 45 individuals (most clubs incorporate active ally members).
As previously stated, this data is not scientific nor does not give a full picture of any specific schools’ LGBT inclusiveness or lack thereof. It simply helps us gauge progress and overall openness within the LGBT community over time.
However, given that even conservative estimates up LGBTQ individuals as approximately 3.5% of the population, it appears we may have some work to do through programs, like the LGBT MBA Fellowship designed to attract more out LGBT applicants to business school programs.