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Oct 2015

Meet the LGBT MBA Fellows: Aqeela Nanji

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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 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.


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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Feb 2015

Transgender Inclusion in Business School

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UMass alumnus & HRC employee Beck Bailey at ROMBA 2014 in San Francisco

Today’s New York Times has a great article that focuses on transgender inclusion, its progress, challenges, and how ultimately business school and graduate degrees may be the key to more transgender inclusion in the workplace.

The article includes interviews with Reaching Out’s Executive Director Matt Kidd, MBA alumni including Beck Bailey (UMass Amherst alumnus now at The Human Rights Campaign) and Danielle Piergallini (Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management alumnus now at American Airlines).

Read the full article at the New York Times

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Jan 2015

Carlson School of Management Joins the LGBT MBA Fellowship

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We are thrilled to announce that The University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management is the 14th MBA program to join the Reaching Out LGBT MBA Fellowship, created as a joint effort between top graduate business schools and Reaching Out to demonstrate that business schools & MBA programs are outstanding opportunities for self-identifying and out lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) young professionals and their active allies to build their careers.

Each Fellowship recipient will receive a minimum $10,000 scholarship for each academic year during his/her full-time MBA as well as free access to various Reaching Out programming (including the annual ROMBA conference), mentoring and LGBTQA leadership opportunities, some of which would be developed specifically for these Fellows.

As part of accepting the Fellowship, the students will also agree to take a national leadership role in planning content for at least one Reaching Out initiative during his/her time in business school.  Learn more about the Reaching Out LGBT MBA Fellowship & Scholarships

We’re thrilled to have Carlson as one of the founding members.  Keep an eye out for a few month additions next month!

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