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17

Oct 2017

Meet the LGBTQ MBA Fellows: Aaron Lai

Posted by / in LGBTQ BUSINESS STUDENT BLOG / No comments yet

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 AARON LAI (JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY, CAREY BUSINESS SCHOOL)

Aaron is a first year MBA candidate at Johns Hopkins University, Carey Business School. Previously, Aaron was a senior auditor at PricewaterhouseCoopers where he worked with more 20+ companies throughout Asia. He has extensive experience in fields such as accounting, auditing, internal control, risk management, legal compliance, etc. Aaron graduated from National Taipei University in Taiwan, where he majored in accounting and minored in financial management. He grew up in South Africa and later spent his life living in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Taiwan. Outside of his professional life, Aaron is a financial advisor for the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights, the main NPO in Taiwan advocating for equal marriage rights which also trail blazed Taiwan to become the first country in Asia to recognize same-sex marriage. Aaron is also a fervent soccer fan and avid reader of fantasy novels.

What made you consider business school?
After working in the accounting/finance industry for 5 years, I realized that I wasn’t satisfied with my ability to resolve some of the issues that I encountered. As I had the opportunity to talk with management with a lot of different companies, I realized that a lot of the issues that management encountered on a day to day basis required a variety of skill sets. As I started to research on what skill sets were required to resolve these complex issues, I spent a lot of time reflecting also on what I wanted in life. In the end, I realized B-school was the perfect pathway for a lot of my aspirations.

What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?
I’m mostly excited about finally going back to school. This time around, after having worked in the industry, I’m really looking forward to how my perspective has changed towards learning about business knowledge in the classroom. I’m also looking forward to JHU GMBA’s flagship program called Innovation for Humanity, where students are divided into groups, based on their skill sets, and travel to developing countries to solve real world issues by applying what they learned throughout the semester. It’s exciting because not only do you get the opportunity to “get your hands dirty” but also you also get the opportunity to really impact the lives of people locally.

Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
I’m always inspired by people who are willing to do things differently. Some of the leaders that I look most up to are Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Marilyn Manson, and Hans Zimmer. These people have inspired me by the way they approach their respective fields—often swimming against the stream and not with it because they believed in what they were doing.

What’s one thing everyone should know about you?
I am the epitome of a global citizen. I grew up in South Africa and later spent my years living in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Taiwan. Later in life, as an auditor working for PwC, I had the opportunity to travel throughout Asia. Now that I am pursuing my MBA in the US, I’m eager to travel to as many locations in the US as possible to see what exciting things await me. The funny thing is that I never deliberately devised a checklist or anything like that to specifically aim to travel to as many countries as I can, but I guess since my childhood, my life was always destined to be one that was mobile. But hey, I’m surely not complaining!

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03

Aug 2017

ROMBA Student Leader Profile: Rhett Chase

Posted by / in LGBTQ BUSINESS STUDENT BLOG / No comments yet

In addition to Reaching Out’s staff, each year the Reaching Out LGBTQ MBA & Graduate Conference’s content is developed and produced by MBA & graduate students from business schools across the world. These core group of the students working on the ROMBA Conference are known as the “Student Leadership Committee.”  The Leadership Committee comes up with the conference’s theme, ideates all breakout sessions, and is seen prominently on the ground at the conference!

Over the next few weeks we’ll highlight each of this year’s 11 organizers and share some of their tips for those planning to attend this year’s 20th ROMBA Conference in Boston (Oct 12-14), which this year will include an inaugural Professional Day for alumni and our 20th ROMBA Gala Celebration with Anderson Cooper!  

Not only will the leaders tell you what they are most excited about for this year’s conference, but they’ll also give inbound LGBTQ MBA students tips on the summer internship search & experience!

LGBTQ MBA & business graduate students, alumni and applicants can register
for the 20th ROMBA Conference in Boston (October 12-14) here.

Name: Rhett Chase

School (Program/Concentration): Rice University – Jones School of Business: Finance

Summer Internship:
 Senior Consultant at EY’s M&A Transaction Advisory practice in NYC. I travel weekly to the client site in Delaware and stay there Monday – Thursday.

How did your first year in business school prepare you for your summer internship?
Beyond the fundamentals of business that we learned in class, my first year prepared me by giving me new ways to look at problems. It taught me that the first place to start may be to question why the question is being asked because context is everything. I learned to ask the right questions and use my curiosity as a tool to get beyond the surface level problem statement. I learned that my greatest resource is the team of smart and driven people around me who offered new perspectives and insights. My first year also taught me the importance of building a professional network and how these connections can help you develop, open doors, and be personally satisfying.

What experience(s) do you hope to take away from your Internship this summer?
I hope to take away three things from my summer: (1) learn if consulting – particularly in the mergers, acquisitions and divestitures space – is something that excites me and gives me the constant challenge and dynamic aspect that was lacking in my previous roles; (2) learn if EY is the firm I can picture myself at long-term – get to know the culture, people and form relationships with my colleagues and intern class; (3) get one data point on the lifestyle of weekly travel and living in NYC to help me decide if it’s for me.

What’s the most valuable piece of advice going into summer internships you can offer the Class of 2019
Pick your head up – there is so much more going on around you beyond what task/workstream you are working on during the summer. Learn as much as you can from others and pick their brains on what other projects they have worked on and the challenges/successes they have experienced.

What are you most excited about for 2017 ROMBA Conference?
To see everyone’s hard work come together! It is truly a team effort to get this done: from the brainstorming sessions (keeping session content relevant and thought provoking), all the way down to coordinating to get the right company representatives on the panels and logistics to run smoothly – we are excited to make the 20th ROMBA one for the books!

I’m also excited about reuniting with my ROMBA friends from around the world! Something that is unique about this conference is that it fosters organic connections and focuses on advancing the LGBTQ community in business by supporting each other.

Any advice you have for people going into the ROMBA Conference for the first time?
Prioritize! Decide what your top two goals are for the conference and plan your time accordingly. There is so much to do that you can’t do it all – so decide up front which areas you want to focus your time and energy on so that you don’t walk away three days later disappointed that you missed an opportunity that was important to you. Remember to make some time to have fun (i.e., don’t schedule two straight days of all interviews). If you are recruiting, get your resume in the database ASAP and check the boxes on your registration for all the companies you are interested in.

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25

Jul 2017

ROMBA Student Leader Profile: Ana Testolini

Posted by / in LGBTQ BUSINESS STUDENT BLOG / No comments yet

In addition to Reaching Out’s staff, each year the Reaching Out LGBTQ MBA & Graduate Conference’s content is developed and produced by MBA & graduate students from business schools across the world. These core group of the students working on the ROMBA Conference are known as the “Student Leadership Committee.”  The Leadership Committee comes up with the conference’s theme, ideates all breakout sessions, and is seen prominently on the ground at the conference!

Over the next few weeks we’ll highlight each of this year’s 11 organizers and share some of their tips for those planning to attend this year’s 20th ROMBA Conference in Boston (Oct 12-14), which this year will include an inaugural Professional Day for alumni and our 20th ROMBA Gala Celebration with Anderson Cooper!  

Not only will the leaders tell you what they are most excited about for this year’s conference, but they’ll also give inbound LGBTQ MBA students tips on the summer internship search & experience!

LGBTQ MBA & business graduate students, alumni and applicants can register
for the 20th ROMBA Conference in Boston (October 12-14) here.

Name: Ana Testolini

School (Program/Concentration): Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management / Concentration in Marketing and Strategy

Summer Internship: Summer Consultant at The Boston Consulting Group in Chicago

How did your first year in business school prepared you for your summer internship?
My first year at Kellogg has taught me to look at problems differently. More than learning how to solve them, I learned how to ask the right questions that will lead to the right answers. I learned that from a combination of courses and also recruiting experiences, in addition to each and every interaction with my Kellogg classmates. I have learned an incredible amount by seeing how my peers solve homework problems. Ultimately, they’re the ones that teach me the most, and prepared me for my Summer with BCG.

What experience(s) do you hope to take away from your Internship this summer?
There are two things I want to take away from my summer internship: (1) understand the day-to-day life of a consultant and get hands-on experience on solving complex problems with a very smart team, and (2) develop relationships with my internship class that will last for years to come!

What’s the most valuable piece of advice going into summer internships you can offer the Class of 2018?
The MBA experience is incredible but it can also be overwhelming. FOMO is real! But don’t lose sight of what is important to you, and most importantly: prioritize, prioritize, and prioritize! Be intentional on how you spend your time, and you will take the most out of the experience.

What are you most excited about for 2017 ROMBA Conference?
The leadership team and session directors have worked hard to put together an incredibly thoughtful line-up of sessions, and I am looking forward to seeing it all come together!

Any advice you have for people going into the ROMBA Conference for the first time?
Even though it will feel like all you do at ROMBA is recruiting, try and have some fun! Talk to people from other schools, make deep and meaningful connections with peers, those are the most valuable things you will take away from ROMBA.

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