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Nov 2016

Meet the LGBT MBA Fellows: Merritt Swain

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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 MERRITT SWAIN (University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management)

I was born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota. I attended Carleton College where I played soccer and ultimate frisbee and graduated with a B.A. in Psychology. I have spent the past four and a half years in IT consulting. The majority of that time was spent leading teams of analysts in the implementation of electronic medical records (EMRs) at large-scale healthcare networks across the country. I also served as an IT project manager contractor at Target as part of their Security PMO. I will be attending the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.

What made you consider business school?
I’ve spent most of my time in Healthcare IT implementing electronic medical records for large healthcare organizations. Healthcare IT and business work together hand in hand but the business drives the needs. Within IT I have been limited to one function and I wanted a broader, system-wide perspective. I want to have a hand in steering the business instead of responding to the direction a business has taken. In EMR implementations you begin to see the same technological challenges, which limits the need for creative problem solving.

What are you most excited about during your business school journey?
I’m looking forward to the experiential learning opportunities that Carlson has to offer its students which provides real-life consulting projects for companies in the area.

Who are some leaders (in the LGBT community, in business, or in society) that most inspire you?
Deb Loch and Jill Pavlak – they started the first woman-owned brewery in Minnesota. They both worked in corporate America (Deb, a biomedical engineer in the medical device industry and Jill, a salesperson and entrepreneur) and decided together to leave those careers to start the Urban Growler Brewing Company in St. Paul. Their mission is to “bring people together through beer.”

What’s one thing everyone should know about you?
I love being active – I played soccer and ultimate frisbee in college and now I’m getting involved in triathlons.

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