Nov 2016

Meet the LGBT MBA Fellows: Ray Phua

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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 RAY PHUA (Columbia Business School)

Ray is excited to join Columbia Business School’s Class of 2018. At CBS, he is interesting in pursuing a role in product management or product marketing at an innovative consumer technology company. After moving every 3 years as an army brat, Ray settled in Seattle to study Finance at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business. Ray then joined Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) as a management consultant, and later as an operations manager, working on a variety of projects across the high-tech, retail, and social sector industries. Most recently, Ray was part of the FP&A team at Twitter, supporting its Networking Engineering & Infrastructure Operations teams. Throughout his career, Ray has been actively involved in advancing programs around Learning & Development and Diversity & Inclusion.  He led diversity-focused undergraduate recruiting programs at two universities, developed a Data Analysis & Business Modeling course taught to analysts nationwide, and supported the planning of multiple events for TwitterOPEN (its LGBTQ group). He enjoys tapping it back in a SoulCycle class, getting shaky legs muscles at CorePower Yoga, running, sailing, watching the Summer Olympics, and eating fried chicken (with a kale salad).

What made you consider business school?
Earning an MBA has been part of my 10-year plan since high school.  Both my parents and grandparents encouraged me early on to pursue an MBA as an experience to help me develop into a versatile and capable business leader. After working in consulting and in corporate finance across roles that focused heavily on quantitative analysis and process improvement, I wanted to bring more social, creative, and human elements into my work. As I aim to transition into product marketing, I know that gaining the leadership skills and global network through business school will be invaluable to me in progressing my career.

What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?
People!  I am excited to be challenged and to grow from the diverse perspectives of a global community, including my classmates, professors, and professional network.

Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
Tim Cook, Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, Ellen DeGeneres, and Sheryl Sandberg.

What’s one thing everyone should know about you?
One of my favorite hobbies is to paint –with makeup, on my face! I have watched too many YouTube tutorials on how to get the best smokey eye to join friends for our brunches in drag.  My fascination with drag has allowed me to realize a creative outlet, appreciate the natural beauty of all humans regardless of gender expression, and value the positive impact the drag community has had on the LGBTQ+ community.  I like to paint abstract landscapes with acrylics, too.

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