The Reaching Out LGBT MBA Fellowship is a scholarship and leadership development program for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and active ally MBAs in full-time programs. Each Fellows receives at least $10,000 funding per academic year in addition free lifetime access to all Reaching Out programming (including the ROMBA Conference), LGBT mentors, and a leadership summit exclusively for the Fellows. Over 25 MBA programs will be party of the Fellowship for the 2015-2016 application cycle. To learn how you can express interest in the Fellowship, click here.
This fall Reaching Out welcomed the first class of the Reaching Out LGBT MBA Fellows. These 25 fellows come from 18 top business schools and over the next few weeks we’ll introduce each of them to you.
MEET BEN FICHERA (UCLA, ANDERSON SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT)
Ben started his career at Accenture working with clients to realize business process and technology changes. His roles focused on project management and delivery of business intelligence technologies. He was an active member of the Accenture LGBT Network, leading the group in Boston for over three years. In the fall, Ben will start his MBA journey at UCLA Anderson, with the goal of using both his engineering and consulting experience to switch into a product management role. In making this switch, Ben hopes to expand his sphere of influence from thousands of business users to millions of consumers.
What made you consider business school?
To successfully transition from consulting to product management, I know that I’ll need a diverse network of colleagues and a strong foundation of business knowledge. I see an MBA as the perfect bridge to both of these things.
What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?
I’m truly excited to tap into the collective wisdom of my peers and professors, and to contribute what I’ve learned in my career as a consultant and as a LGBT leader.
Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
Elon Musk and the team at Tesla took a number of large risks for the sake of a product they knew the world couldn’t continue without, and I admire their tenacity and technical acumen. It’s also really cool that a company that started by making a luxury sports car could eventually be a leading provider of distributed energy storage. I’m also inspired by Tim Cook’s leadership at Apple. Taking over for one of the most beloved and revered figures in the technology industry left some pretty big shoes to fill. Yet since he took over, Apple’s market capitalization has doubled and shows few signs of weakness. And, as the first Fortune 500 CEO to come out, he will no doubt inspire many LGBT professionals to reveal their authentic selves in the workplace.
What’s one thing everyone should know about you?
I’m an avid fan of independent music, and I can’t wait to take advantage of LA’s vibrant music scene.
What are you doing during the summer before you start business school?
I’m moving from Boston to Los Angeles, so any time I can get away from packing and apartment hunting will be spent hiking, sailing, and biking around my favorite spots in New England.