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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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04

Nov 2015

Meet the LGBT MBA Fellows: Zarrah Birdie

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 and active ally MBAs in full-time programs.  Each Fellows receives at least $10,000 funding per academic year in addition free lifetime access to all Reaching Out programming (including the ROMBA Conference), LGBT mentors, and a leadership summit exclusively for the Fellows.  Over 25 MBA programs will be party of the Fellowship for the 2015-2016 application cycle.  To learn how you can express interest in the Fellowship, click here

This fall Reaching Out welcomed the first class of the Reaching Out LGBT MBA Fellows.  These 25 fellows come from 18 top business schools and over the next few weeks we’ll introduce each of them to you.

MEET ZARRAH BIRDIE (UC BERKELEY, HAAS SCHOOL OF BUSINESS)

An ever-curious adventurer. Zarrah lived in three different continents in the last five years and has a passion for travel and discovering new cultures. She loves having her beliefs questioned and challenged. She is an extroverted-introvert, love riding bikes, black coffee, a good conversation, yoga and meditation. She’s left handed and favorite color is navy blue! She’s intellectually curious and vibrantly playful.

What made you consider business school?

After working for two years in investment banking and another two in international development, I sought a means to bridge my two distinct skill sets. This combined with my desire to develop a career in impact investing, with a particular emphasis on helping develop and grow social enterprises in developing countries, fueled my desire to gain an MBA degree. The MBA will give me the ideal tool set needed to be a trusted adviser for social enterprises in developing countries – helping them strategically grow, gain access to capital etc.

What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?

I am most excited about connecting with my classmates both at my business school and beyond. I’m excited about creating meaningful communities around them. I’m also excited to have my opinions and worldview challenged and broadened through these interactions.

Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?Tim Cook (Apple

CEO) and  Debbie Gupta (Nest Corporation)

What’s one thing everyone should know about you?

I’m a chocolate fiend, if you ever need anything for me, include chocolate and your wish is my command. I love trying new experiences and things, the more outlandish the better!

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12

Oct 2015

Meet the LGBT MBA Fellows: Aqeela Nanji

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 and active ally MBAs in full-time programs.  Each Fellows receives at least $10,000 funding per academic year in addition free lifetime access to all Reaching Out programming (including the ROMBA Conference), LGBT mentors, and a leadership summit exclusively for the Fellows.  Over 25 MBA programs will be party of the Fellowship for the 2015-2016 application cycle.  To learn how you can express interest in the Fellowship, click here

This fall Reaching Out welcomed the first class of the Reaching Out LGBT MBA Fellows.  These 25 fellows come from 18 top business schools and over the next few weeks we’ll introduce each of them to you.

MEET AQEELA NANJI (UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO, ROTMAN SCHOOL OF BUSINESS)

I am currently a student in the Rotman MBA program at the University of Toronto, where I earlier completed a HBA in Gender and Aboriginal Studies. Prior to business school, I started my career in operations and marketing analytics at Flipp, a growing technology company that works with major retailers across North America. I love efficiency and have a track record of streamlining business processes to reduce production time.

Social impact initiatives and community work are very important to me. In addition to establishing the corporate social responsibility program at Flipp, I have volunteered as a consultant for non-profit organizations.

What made you consider business school?

I envision a world where all businesses strive to make positive social impact. My ambition is to bring that vision to life, combining my lifelong passion for helping others with my talent for improving operational efficiency. Eventually, I plan to become Chief Operating Officer at a consumer goods company and show that large companies can grow while maintaining environmental and social accountability. An MBA will provide a solid foundation from which I can achieve this dream.

What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?

I am especially looking forward to partaking in Rotman’s ‘International Consulting Project’ (ICP). ICP will provide me with the opportunity to work with international clients prior to graduation and build upon my experience as a volunteer consultant, helping prepare me for my short-term goal of joining a management consulting firm.

Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?

I am inspired by El-Farouk Khaki, a Canadian human rights activist and lawyer who represents people fleeing persecution. I deeply admire El-Farouk’s work in this area and in supporting Toronto’s LGBT Muslim community.

What’s one thing everyone should know about you?

In my spare time, I like to swing dance and do crafts. When I was four years old, my grandmother taught me how to sew and I have been doing it ever since.

What were you doing during the summer before you started business school?

In the summer before starting business school, I wrapped up my work at Flipp and spent a week exploring some of Canada’s beautiful eastern islands (Prince Edward Island, Magdalen Islands) with my fiancée.

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