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Jul 2017

ROMBA Student Leader Profile: Brian Balduzzi

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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: Brian Balduzzi

School (Program/Concentration): Johnson School of Management at Cornell University (Concentrations in Financial Analysis & Financial Investing and Minor in Real Estate)

Summer Internship: MBA Summer Associate at J.P. Morgan U.S. Private Bank in New York

How did your first year in business school prepare you for your summer internship?
Cornell offers a breadth of finance-related courses, and Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management and Behavioral Finance made me curious about the work and space, while giving me the tools and understanding to converse about and add value to my summer internship.

What experience(s) do you hope to take away from your Internship this summer?
I hope to take away two things from my summer internship: (1) the curiousity and engagement in the world and people around me, and how to reflect upon how different pieces fit together to form a meaningful whole; and (2) the ability to stretch myself out of my comfort zone and look for how to add value to organizations and systems around me.

What’s the most valuable piece of advice going into summer internships you can offer the Class of 2018?
Take advantage of as much as you can from your summer internship, whether it is meeting people from your team or other departments, asking to be put on projects that stretch you outside of your comfort zone, or researching ideas or problems affecting the company in your spare time! Be strategic, but also be available to learn as much as you can from the experience. 

What are you most excited about for 2017 ROMBA Conference?
I love seeing friends and colleagues from around the country who I have met at past ROMBA and recruiting events. It will be a great weekend to deepen relationships while meeting new people!

Any advice you have for people going into the ROMBA Conference for the first time?
Try to research companies and plan your weekend before you arrive. You will likely need breaks and time to plan for interviewing (and fun!), so be strategic in how you allocate your time. Planning ahead can help you not feel overwhelmed by the number of opportunities, and avoid missing anything.

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Jul 2017

Class of 2019 LGBTQ MBA Fellowship Retreat

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Reaching Out hosted its third class of Fellows this month at the LGBTQ MBA Fellowship Retreat in New York City over the weekend of July 21st. The Class of 2019 is comprised of 54 Fellows representing 36 schools around the world, and will collectively receive over $1.3M in scholarships for each of their two years as LGBTQ MBAs.

Friday morning was set aside for travel and sightseeing with Fellows coming from as far away as Indonesia and as close as the Bronx. The retreat officially started with the MBAs introducing themselves with the help of some prompts. Each introduction ended with a response to the question “Who are your people?”. Their answers drew from a wide range of areas, below is just a short list of who they mentioned:

  • trans community
  • people of color community
  • comics/cos-play fans
  • outdoor adventurers
  • cat people
  • dog people
  • book fans
  • travelers
  • educators
  • military community
  • foodies
  • arts and theater community

Friday wrapped up over dinner where the Fellows were able to spend more time getting to know each other and the Reaching Out staff.

Saturday’s agenda delved into specific fellowship content, leading with a panel of rising MBA2s to share their MBA1 experience. First day jitters, recruiting for internships, effective networking, and ways to manage life during an MBA were among the topics of discussion. Following the panel was a leadership workshop led by McKinsey & Company. Through a number of interactive exercises, the McKinsey staff were able to get the group to identify what leadership qualities they already possessed, areas where they could be further developed, and an understanding of what environments inhibit or engage their ability to lead. Over lunch, several LGBTQ MBA alumni sat down with the group for an informal Q&A about the evolution of their career and relationship with Reaching Out. A brief presentation on fellowship benefits and opportunities finished the day’s informational content.

Reaching Out is inherently an LGBTQ organization and to stress that importance the retreat always includes an LGBTQ tour which highlights the history of the local community. This year’s class was treated to a tour of the west village where much of the LGBTQ movement of the 20th century took place. The tour guides led the Fellows to the streets of the aids crisis, the site of the stonewall riots, the front door of an underground gay speakeasy, and other places of note for LGBTQ history and culture.

The retreat ended with a reception style dinner at a local restaurant known for its LGBTQ clientele where the Fellows continued the conversations and connections that will support them as they begin their MBAs.


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Jul 2017

Summer 2017 Admitted MBA Career Treks

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This summer Reaching Out traveled with over 70 admitted MBA students to attend the LGBTQ MBA Career Treks in five major cities. The treks are designed to give admits early exposure to the top companies in specific industries during the summer before business school. With that experience they can begin their MBA with a better understanding of what they can pursue as an LGBTQ professional.

Marketing & Retail: Minneapolis, Minnesota
(General Mills, UnitedHealth Group, Target, 3M, Land O’Lakes, McKinsey & Company, PwC Strategy &)
Occurring in the middle of Pride Month, the twin-cities professional network and the trek students were invited to the General Mills Pride Reception which kicked off with an improv skit centered around LGBTQ identities. The reception also had a cocktail hour and interview with the Honorable Margaret Chutich, the first openly gay Minnesota Supreme Court Justice. The following day found the group back at General Mills where they walked through the marketing strategy of a new product, met with members of their Pride group, and toured the campus. Unitedhealth Group was up next and delivered an engaging look at the history of healthcare marketing and the recent viral campaign that launched UHG into mainstream media. The day ended at Target’s headquarters where a presentation on their Pride Month marketing led to a brainstorming session about retail strategy and pitfalls. The last day of the trek took students to 3M, Land O’Lakes, McKinsey & Company, and PwC Strategy &.

Finance: New York City, NY
(EY, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, Bank of America, JP Morgan, Barclays, Morgan Stanley, PIMCO)
Just after New York City Pride weekend, Reaching Out and 12 admits walked up and down the city visiting eight companies over two days. Areas of focus covered venture capitalism, asset management, investment banking, and corporate finance. Individual staff members presented an overview of what a typical day in their job entailed and spoke about the specific culture of their team. Several Reaching Out members were also on-hand to discuss their internship experience. At one company, the group was invited to attend the morning address which covered the latest findings and numbers for a large client.

Technology & Retail: Seattle, WA
(T-Mobile, Expedia, Microsoft, Starbucks, Amazon, Slalom)
The Seattle trek took admits to the sites of several large tech and retail companies where they learned about the various backgrounds and roles of their LGBTQ staff, how teams accomplished their projects, and gained some exciting insights on new developments. The first day started off with a T-Mobile presentation on coming back as a leader in telecommunications after nearly shutting down and becoming acquired. Expedia shared processes on how they function as an organization of travel aggregators with different markets and  the demographics they serve. Microsoft, Starbucks, and Amazon gave tours of their large headquarters and discussed the technology they use and create to drive sales forward.

Technology: San Francisco, CA
(Apple, Genentech, Facebook, Google, Walmart, Salesforce, Boston Consulting Group)
Students on this trek were able to speak with top tech companies about how their latest developments are doing on the market. Discussions also focused on products and technology that launched with higher- or lower-than expected success and the processes to correct or continue those models.

Consulting: Chicago, IL
(Kraft Heinz, United Airlines, PwC Strategy &, A.T. Kearney, McKinsey & Company, Boston Consulting Group)
Admits were taken through several personal experiences of consultants, ranging from exploring the cases that brought their clients massive success, the cases that stuck with them long after completion, expectations and realities of traveling, and ways they have learned to manage and adapt their work/life balance. Several Reaching Out members who are currently interning were also able to join the presentations and answer questions that the admits had about pursuing a consulting career and how their first year prepared them for the experience.

As the admits start their programs in the fall, we hope that they take the experiences of the treks into their classes, share what they learned, and bring visibility to the many opportunities and paths available for LGBTQ MBAs.




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