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16

Nov 2016

Meet the LGBT MBA Fellows: Alejandro Bolívar-Cervoni

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 (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 ALEJANDRO BOLÍVAR-CERVONI (Olin Business School, Washington University in St. Louis)

Alejandro Bolívar-Cervoni is an MBA candidate for the Class of 2018 at the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis. Originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, he is a native Spanish speaker and a conversational French speaker. After completing his undergraduate studies at Duke University, he worked at the National Basketball Association as a Marketing Associate in its competitive rotational program (where he was one of eight hired from 3,000 applicants). At the NBA, he conducted competitive analysis and market research that helped quantify the NBA’s upcoming TV deal renewals valued at $24 billion (versus $930 million in 2007). Alejandro enjoys cooking and public speaking (in 2016 he completed the Toastmasters Competent Communicator Program).

What made you consider business school?
Following my graduation from Duke, I worked in marketing in New York, including at the NBA’s Associate Rotational Program. This opportunity solidified my desire to work in cross-functional teams and global matrixed organizations. Though I had a meaningful impact at the NBA conducting competitive analysis and market research, I desired a more holistic understanding of business. This included obtaining a stronger quantitative and analytical background by taking courses in finance, statistics, and economics. Additionally, in today’s increasingly globalized environment, I sought out deeper understanding of other cultures by working with international classmates. Taking advantage of travel opportunities—including spending a semester abroad—will also introduce me to best practices when working with diverse, multicultural teams. After completing my MBA I hope to work in brand & product management at a consumer packaged goods or technology company. My MBA experience will prepare me for these goals specifically by providing me with the analytical and management skills needed to enhance my background.

What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?
I am most excited about opportunities to discover other international business cultures and customs and solidify my business network during my MBA journey. My ideal business school environment would include a small class size full of bright, diverse students, allowing me to strengthen my network. Identifying this environment early on in my search simplified the process; there are many great business schools, but each offers a different experience. I was extremely blessed to be accepted at the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis, a school that met both of these criteria for me where I am one of 132 members of the class of 2018. I was also honored to have been extended a merit-based full-tuition scholarship as a ROMBA Fellowship. I also wanted a great range of diversity, from cultural backgrounds and nationalities to industry experience. One of my classmates worked within the wine industry in the Midwest; another established an English-education company in China. Olin’s small size means I get to develop stronger ties with my colleagues and learn from their experiences. Olin offers specific experiential learning opportunities, allowing students to organize trips to countries like Japan and Peru, and to consult for local and international companies. I cannot wait to grow through these opportunities and connect with individuals that share a similar passion for business but have different cultural backgrounds.

Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
I am so proud of corporate leaders that have strived to make business more inclusive for LGBT consumers and have given visibility to the LGBT community. I am grateful to Apple CEO Tim Cook for being open about his own experiences in business, leveraging his high profile as the leader of one of the world’s most successful companies. While at the NBA, I had the unique honor of meeting Jason Collins, the first openly gay player in the League. Sports has a truly global reach, and I’m honored that Jason and the NBA have used their exposure to advocate for diversity and acceptance.

What’s one thing everyone should know about you?
My hobbies include cooking and public speaking. I enjoy that they are very practical. Nurturing my cooking abilities has proved beneficial during business school, as not only an affordable way to sustain myself but also to connect with classmates. I have hosted several potlucks this year and have introduced new friends to family recipes such as Cuban picadillo (sautéed ground beef), arroz con pollo (rice with chicken), and salted caramel flan. Last year in New York I bought a homemade ice cream maker as an impulse purchase but had no space for it in my mini-fridge; now I have been crafting new recipes to satisfy my sweet tooth. My goal is to take a cooking class in every new country I travel to (I learned to make Korean short rib while traveling in Seoul last March).

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15

Nov 2016

Meet the LGBT MBA Fellows: Johnny 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 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 JOHNNY LAI (Vanderbilt University, Owen Graduate School of Management)

Originally hailing from Birmingham, Alabama, Johnny headed northwards towards Durham, North Carolina, to obtain his Bachelor’s degree in International Studies at Duke University. While an undergraduate, he began working within the public policy and public health fields, traveling abroad to both Haiti and China to further his studies. After graduating from Duke both magna cum laude and phi beta kappa, Johnny moved to Washington, DC, to work as a procurement official for the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. During his tenure at these agencies, he was responsible for awarding and administering a myriad of multi-million dollar defense and security contracts. After spending six years in the mid-Atlantic, Johnny finally decided to move to Nashville, Tennessee, where he is now a member of Vanderbilt Owen’s Class of 2018. Outside of his professional life, Johnny is an avid runner and outdoorsman, podcast enthusiast, and Game of Thrones junkie.

What made you consider business school?
It’s exceedingly rare to find a place as dynamic as business school; the students come from a diverse range of backgrounds and industries, and the classes are purposefully interactive and engaging. Business school is the best place to connect with others and explore my career options, and I’m thrilled to navigate through the challenge.

What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?
It’s exciting to be a student again, but with the extra bit of wisdom, maturity, and fiscal know-how that comes with having been a working professional for the past few years. Otherwise, I’m looking forward to business school because it’s the perfect opportunity to safely branch out and explore different industries and roles that I may not have otherwise had the chance to consider. And, I can’t wait to meet my classmates, who will not only challenge me professionally but also be friends for the years to come.

Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
Elon Musk (CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors), Tim Cook (CEO of Apple), Barney Frank (Former Massachusetts State Representative), Annise Parker (Former Mayor of Houston), Laverne Cox (Actress).

What’s one thing everyone should know about you?
I’ve got a soft spot for big dogs and a weakness for deep fried foods.

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14

Nov 2016

Meet the LGBT MBA Fellows: Jeremy Chua

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 (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 JEREMY CHUA (John Hopkins University, Carey Business School)

Jeremy is a serial founder and loves building new businesses and organizations. He was Senior Seeker at Singapore telco StarHub i3 and was responsible for designing and piloting its corporate venture Hyperincubation Market Access program for growth stage startups inAsia-Pacific. He was also the Co-Founder and Managing Partner at TechSociety, one of Asia’s first private coding academies for K-12 students that now spans operations across Singapore, Hong Kong, and Vietnam. To give back to the youth startup community, he served as Director of Partnerships for Kairos Society ASEAN.  During the transboundary pollution crisis, he founded SGHazeRescue, a social and environmental enterprise that directed and allocated relief resources across Singapore. Jeremy volunteers his free time mentoring student startups, facilitating migrant worker education and empowerment workshops, and advocating for more inclusive LGBT corporate cultures. After which, he embarks on epic mileage runs.  Despite being a high-school dropout, Jeremy received a scholarship to Vanderbilt University where he graduated with a triple major in English & History, Communication Studies, and Global Business Strategy. He is an alumnus of the Yale School of Management’s Global Leadership Pre-MBA program. His work and thought leadership in Entrepreneurship and STEM Education have also been recognized by President Barrack Obama’s YSEALI, Education Without Borders, and St. Gallen’s Symposium.

What made you consider business school?
Change the world mostly. Find new ways and new friends to do so together. Vague answers aside, I really wanted to take my career and businesses to the next level – break the glass ceiling with a newly-minted MBA scroll.

What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?
I finally get to write papers again! I want to put my rusty financial analytical skills to work again. Get to work closely with some of the most talented potential lifelong friends that I will meet.

Who are some leaders (in business, in the LGBT community, in society) that most inspire you?
Lee Kuan Yew, JK Rowling, William Shakespeare, Jack Ma, John Stuart Mill, Bismarck.

What’s one thing everyone should know about you?
I live, breathe, and eat startups.

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