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Oct 2017

Meet the LGBTQ MBA Fellows: Jesse Banwart

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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 JESSE BANWART (JOHN HOPKINS UNIVERSITY, CAREY BUSINESS SCHOOL)

As a new transplant from Chicago to Baltimore, I am starting the MA/MBA program at Johns Hopkins and the Maryland Institute College of Art. My passion lies in helping people to understand why design is important, specifically around the built environment (architecture, engineering, construction,  etc). For the past 3 years I’ve worked in out of school time facilitating programs for teens about architecture. Previously I worked as a graphic designer and still freelance whenever I can. My story is not unfamiliar, small town boy moves to the big city and discovers himself… blah. I’ve loved every part of the experience and plan to dedicate my life to urban, community-focused issues.

What made you consider business school?
Coming from managing after school programming focused on architecture, I saw so many intersections of business in where I could improve. Writing budgets, applying for funding, managing employees, etc. were all essential components of the job. Higher positions only intensify these roles, and I knew getting an MBA would be a smart career move.

What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?Expanding my network base into areas in which I’m mostly unfamiliar is probably what excites me the most. So much of my time had been spent buildng a network in the art and design fields, I’m looking forward to diversifying that.

Who are some of the leaders (in the LGBTQ community, in business, or in society) that most inspire you?
Shawn King definitely is an inspiration in the massive issues he tries to tackle. He recognizes the influence of information and how to effectively fight for social justice. Ruth Bader-Ginsberg is the epitome of firey eloquenence. Often, her writings condence an opinion I’ve struggled to put into words. Lastly, (and yes I recognize how kitschy this is) Rupaul. Drag Race had the potential to play into the standard troupe of reality television and insight as much drama, hatred, and backstabbing between the contestants as possible. However, recognizing that there is already plenty of that in our community, they empower differences and showcase the love. I’ve always admired that.

What’s one thing everyone should know about you?
If you walk down the street with me, I will give you an unsolicited architecture lesson. I can’t help myself.

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