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24

Oct 2016

Meet the LGBT MBA Fellows: Aaron So

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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 AARON SO (LONDON BUSINESS SCHOOL)

Aaron is a MBA candidate in London Business School’s class of 2018. Before business school Aaron was a management consultant at Woolworths Ltd., Australia’s largest supermarket and liquor retailer. Previously he was a Business Analyst at McKinsey & Company, working in Australia and New Zealand across a range of industries including health care, telecommunications, consumer goods and retail. Aaron’s experiences include corporate and business unit strategy, organisational design, cost transformation and commercial initiatives. Aaron holds a B.Com. majoring in Economics from the University of Sydney. Outside of work, Aaron is involved in non-profit initiatives focused on increasing LGBT diversity and inclusion in the private sector.

What made you consider business school?
I wanted to use the MBA as an opportunity to broaden my education and explore new areas of business. Attending business school was also a chance to live in London and engage with folks from around the world.

What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?
I am definitely most excited about the people. I know that any experience is only as good as the company – it’s a privilege to spend 2 years learning and working together with my classmates. I am looking forward to making new friendships at LBS as well as through ROMBA.

Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?Susan Cain (the author of ‘Quiet: The Power of Introverts…’) is a great, recent inspiration of mine. I admire her for eloquently challenging our cultural stereotypes of leadership and advocating for a workplace that is more inclusive and empathetic. Also, Marc Benioff at Salesforce. I believe the private sector can play a huge role in advancing social justice and Salesforce has made consistent, strong efforts to fight LGBT discrimination in the U.S. and abroad.

What’s one thing everyone should know about you?I’m studying Mandarin Chinese and Russian at the moment.
I’m studying Mandarin Chinese and Russian at the moment.

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30

Nov 2015

LGBT MBA Club Focus: LBS’ EurOUT

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Paul Reed (CEO BP Supply and Trading)

Guest Blog by Nicholas Deakin (London Business School, Class of  2017)

13-15 November, marked the 5th anniversary of EurOUT, the Europe’s largest LGBT conference hosted by Out in Business Club, the LGBT club at London Business School. The conference, directed towards graduate students, MBAs, PhDs and alumni from top business schools, welcomed more than 250 participants and included speakers from global powerhouses such as BCG, Bain, Goldman Sachs and Travelex, amongst many others.

Attendees had the chance to not only expand their professional and personal network, but also to hear from and interact directly with the 30 companies taking part in the LGBT  Career Fair. Representatives were present from companies as diverse as McKinsey, Uber, Facebook, Thermo Fisher, UBS and Google.

Jessica Stern (ED, Outright Action International – formerly the Int’l Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission)

The event really did display all that is great about the diverse LBS community. The conference was also incredibly topical. Whilst in the UK we enjoy firms actively seeking candidates who reflect the clients they serve, Jessica Stern from Outright Action International reminded us about the terrible discrimination that LGBT people still face around the world. Paul Reed, a Chief Executive at BP, took us on the very personal journey of his four stages of coming out – and how he now sees it as his mission to support LGBT people ‘coming out’ in the workplace. Closer to home, the Dean shared the brilliant news that LBS is the first European school to offer a Reaching Out Fellowship, a bursary to support those who help the LGBT community. This puts LBS firmly on the map when competing for top LGBT talent.

With the conference finally passing its half-decade mark, EurOUT is going to be back next year – bigger and better than ever – in conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the Out in Business Club.

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08

Dec 2014

LBS EVENT RECAP: 2014 EurOUT Conference tackles Leading Global Businesses of Tomorrow

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This past November, the Out for Business Club at London Business School held it’s annual EurOUT Conference, which attracts participants from business schools throughout Europe.  Here’s a great recap by one of the students leading the event: 

By: Johnattan Leon

“Where are the lesbians?” joked Liz Bingham, Managing Partner at EY at the 2014 EurOUT Conference: Leading Global Businesses of Tomorrow.

Bingham was one of the distinguished speakers at the 2014 EurOUT Conference hosted by the Out in Business Club at London Business School on November 9th. This year’s edition of EurOUT was the biggest yet, expanding over three days to bring together 150 students and professionals from across Europe to the school’s campus. New to the Conference this year, was the first EurOUT Career Fair aimed at connecting more students with the internal LGBT networks of global companies, and a Sunday brunch to give everyone one last opportunity to network and exchange business cards.

On Friday afternoon EurOUT hosted the first LGBT Career Fair for 10 of the world’s leading consulting, finance, and technology organizations – including BCG, McKinsey, Bain, American Express, Google, and Microsoft – and students from leading advanced-degree programmes in Europe, such as Oxford, LSE, Insead, and Johns Hopkins. It was a unique platform for the companies to show their commitment to diversity recruiting and answer questions about what it is like to be LGBT in their organisation, highly relevant as a study by Deloitte noted that over 85% of employees are not out to their colleagues. Like any good LBS Fair, there was plenty of wine to keep the conversation flowing over to Shoreditch for a McKinsey-hosted dinner and drinks late into the night. For networking purposes, of course!

As arrivals began at 9:30am the following day, it was clear that even if EurOUT was not voted the best LBS Conference like it was in 2013, it should at least get a mention for having the prettiest people. All gathered in LT 6, the Conference explored the challenges the LGBT community is facing today to ensure that everyone has the same opportunity to live a fulfilling professional life and become a member of the C-Suite. With keynotes and panels with some of the most successful and influential LGBT business leaders, including Liz Bingham, António Simões (CEO UK HSBC), Nicholas Goad (Managing Director, BCG), and Lord Browne, the audience was challenged and inspired to be authentic in the workplace, and for companies to openly recruit LGBT candidates from the onset. Not only because it might be the “right” thing to do, but as Lord Browne suggested, because it makes business sense: “Is really is important to recruit the best of the best, and it really is good to foster engagement. And I can say this as the member of two minorities, that people from minorities tend to over-compensate [in terms of effort], so why wouldn’t you seek out these groups?” Each speaker provided anecdotes of his/her life to remind everyone that a big part of their success was due to their decision to live an open life, and invest in meaningful relationships with their colleagues and clients. As Lord Browne learned after being outed by the media in 2007, “When you’re in a high-profile position, you have a duty to be authentic and clear on who you are. I wasn’t.”

Later that night, while enjoying a delicious Italian feast at Villandry thanks to BCG, the room was buzzing with excitement discussing the day’s messages and how to apply them to daily life. More so, it was a moment of pride for London Business School, which effectively set the agenda for the discussion around LGBT inclusion in the corporate workplace, bringing together influential leaders with the power to encourage and enforce the message to various corners of the world, particularly those where even today homosexuality is a criminal offense.

And for those who are wondering, the lesbians are at Barclays, claims Amy Stanning, Senior Programme Manager, who shared her moving story of coming out and going through a transition while successfully climbing up the ranks of the bank. She also heads Barclays LGBT Spectrum Network for UK and Europe with…another trans woman!

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