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 (or $20,000 total for his/her/their two years) in addition free lifetime access to all Reaching Out programming (including the ROMBA Conference), LGBT mentors, and a leadership summit exclusively for the Fellows.
This fall Reaching Out welcomed the second class of the Reaching Out LGBT MBA Fellows. These 44 fellows come from 30 top business schools and over the next month we’ll introduce each of them to you.
35 MBA programs will be part of the Fellowship for the 2016-2017 application cycle. To learn about the Fellowship and let schools know of your interest here.
MEET MIKE BERNARDI (Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business)
Mike Bernardi, from Cleveland, Ohio, is a first-year MBA candidate at Carnegie Mellon Universitys Tepper School of Business. Mike has six years of technical and managerial experience working for Hyland, creator of OnBase, a Cleveland-based digital information management software developer. At Hyland, Mike mobilized a team of software test analysts to improve the quality of the product suites email solutions and productivity tools. Mike was instrumental in evangelizing his products at end-user conferences and established himself as one of Hyland’s top technical presenters. Mike was also an active participant in Hyland’s technical outreach initiative and community engagement projects. Mike earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from The Ohio State University. He was a member of the University Honors Program and graduated with a specialization in Information Systems. Outside of work, Mike plays recreational soccer and practices Olympic weightlifting. He also enjoys exploring new cities, cooking, listening to live music, and spending time outdoors.
What made you consider business school?
At Hyland, I was able to identify opportunities for process improvement, but I didn’t quite know how to develop solutions. I knew I needed stronger management and analytical skills to complement my technical expertise. I was also actively searching for a safe space to take risks and move outside my comfort zone.
What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?
I’m thrilled to have classmates with such diverse backgrounds. I can’t wait to learn from their experiences and start building an incredible network of peers.
Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
An LGBT rights activist in the media whom I admire is Jenny Boylan. In business, Claudia Brind-Woodys work to expand diversity in the workplace is incredibly inspirational.
What’s one thing everyone should know about you?
I’m an ambivert. I love being around people, but I also value my alone time. If I seem quiet, I’m likely just taking a moment to recharge.