The Reaching Out LGBT MBA Fellowship is a scholarship and leadership development program for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer 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 access to all Reaching Out programming (including the ROMBA Conference), LGBTQ mentors, digital programming, and a leadership summit exclusively for the Fellows. Since the inception of the ROMBA Fellowship 129 students have received over US$6.2M in scholarship support from participating schools.
This fall Reaching Out welcomed the third class of the ROMBA Fellows. These 56 fellows come from 35 top business schools and over the next month we’ll introduce each of them to you.
41 MBA programs will be part of the Fellowship for the 2017-2018 application cycle. To learn about the Fellowship and let schools know of your interest here.
MEET JOHN BLAKE (RICE UNIVERSITY, JONES GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS)
John was a member of the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business at the Wharton School. A continuing interest in international business cultures and practices took him overseas into the for-profit education industry in South Korea, first as a teacher, and then in progressive leadership roles. After about 5 years, he returned to his hometown, Houston, Texas, and until B-School he served as the Special Programs Coordinator for Language Consultants International. In this position, he not only taught, but also created and sold language learning packages and managed a team of private teachers, with duties that included logistics and HR functions. Teaching grammar, test prep and pronunciation has given him an analytical eye for patterns and processes, and working with students from numerous countries has made him adept at observing and adapting to working with different cultures. He’ll be part of the class of 2019 at Jones Business at Rice University, where he plans to concentrate in Financial Analysis and leverage his soft skills from the classroom into a pivot into consulting or corporate finance, pursuing progressively more responsibility over departments and teams, and eventually assuming a top management position. One day, he would like to be known as a thought leader in the corporate world, and has his eye set on a few “Top 50 African American” and “Top 50 LGBT” executive lists, in hopes of being a role model for minority and LGBT youth interested in the business world.
What made you consider business school?
I really enjoyed teaching and working in the education sector. However, long-term growth opportunities are becoming somewhat limited, as it becomes cheaper and more convenient to learn English online or in-country. Moreover, I have always been interested in economics, finance, and management, and when I shifted from working with children to adult students, I was inspired by their drive and ambition to return to the classroom myself to acquire a more technical toolkit. This decision was confirmed when I visited my first ROMBA conference, and immediately recognized that this was the kind of community I wanted to belong to.
What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?Accounting class. No, seriously. I’m a total grammar nerd, so I’m pretty excited about rules, processes, and formulas. It’s the language of business, right?
Who are some of the leaders (in the LGBTQ community, in business, or in society) that most inspire you?
The Obamas, Tim Cook, Ellen Degeneres, Ryan Murphy and Chris Colfer. Also, the only 2 African Americans on the FT OUTStanding list of top 100 LGBT executives, Torrence Boone and Jonathan Mildenhall.
What’s one thing everyone should know about you?
Isabel Rhonda Wurld, aka I. Rhonda Wurld. Seoul Pride, 2013, Main Stage. Shut. It. Down.