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Nov 2016

Meet the LGBT MBA Fellows: Merritt Swain

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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 (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 MERRITT SWAIN (University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management)

I was born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota. I attended Carleton College where I played soccer and ultimate frisbee and graduated with a B.A. in Psychology. I have spent the past four and a half years in IT consulting. The majority of that time was spent leading teams of analysts in the implementation of electronic medical records (EMRs) at large-scale healthcare networks across the country. I also served as an IT project manager contractor at Target as part of their Security PMO. I will be attending the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.

What made you consider business school?
I’ve spent most of my time in Healthcare IT implementing electronic medical records for large healthcare organizations. Healthcare IT and business work together hand in hand but the business drives the needs. Within IT I have been limited to one function and I wanted a broader, system-wide perspective. I want to have a hand in steering the business instead of responding to the direction a business has taken. In EMR implementations you begin to see the same technological challenges, which limits the need for creative problem solving.

What are you most excited about during your business school journey?
I’m looking forward to the experiential learning opportunities that Carlson has to offer its students which provides real-life consulting projects for companies in the area.

Who are some leaders (in the LGBT community, in business, or in society) that most inspire you?
Deb Loch and Jill Pavlak – they started the first woman-owned brewery in Minnesota. They both worked in corporate America (Deb, a biomedical engineer in the medical device industry and Jill, a salesperson and entrepreneur) and decided together to leave those careers to start the Urban Growler Brewing Company in St. Paul. Their mission is to “bring people together through beer.”

What’s one thing everyone should know about you?
I love being active – I played soccer and ultimate frisbee in college and now I’m getting involved in triathlons.

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Aug 2016

ROMBA Student Leader Profile: Mitch Doering

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In addition to Reaching Out’s staff, each year the Reaching Out LGBT MBA & Graduate Conference’s content is developed and produced by MBA & graduate students from 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 ROMBA Conference in Dallas (Oct 6-8)!  Not only will they tell you what they are most excited about for this year’s conference, but they’ll also give inbound LGBT MBA students tips on the summer internship search & experience!

Name: Mitch Doering

School (Program/Concentration): University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management

Summer Internship:  General Mills – Marketing, Associate Marketing Manager Intern, Minneapolis, MN

How did your first year in business school prepared you for your summer internship?
The rigor in working on client projects through experiential learning as a member of Carlson’s Consulting Enterprise honed my client management skills, furthered my skills in team leadership, and taught me to storyline and deliver compelling messaging in my deliverables. This gave me the opportunity to fine tune the skills I had acquired via my core curriculum before even beginning my internship, which prepared me well.

What experience(s) do you hope to take away from your Internship this summer?
I intend to take away a deeper understanding of managing internal senior-level clients within the natural & organic consumer packaged goods manufacturing industry. Taking advantage of this learning at an industry level will allow me the opportunity to build a skill set of strategic persuasion that uses data to influence brands and people in real ways, which was something I sought to do by coming back to business school. One thing that I was pleasantly surprised to have had the opportunity to experience was owning the development and implementation an e-commerce merchandising strategy for one of General Mill’s highest growth brands, Larabar. What’s the most valuable piece of advice going into summer internships you can offer the Class of 2018?

What’s the most valuable piece of advice going into summer internships you can offer the Class of 2018?
Learn to be okay with ambiguity. These firms are asking you to solve some of the issues that their best and brightest haven’t been able to solve. Take comfort in knowing that you will not always know the right answer and be open to the perspectives of others throughout this 12 week learning process. Ask questions, I cannot emphasize that enough! People are very busy no matter where you go and despite feeling like an annoyance, you need to know that with limited industry experience you have to rely on the expertise of others to get at the data, information, and answers you need to successfully develop the recommendations that your team will support and act on.

What are you most excited about for 2016 ROMBA Conference?
I’m really excited to reconnect with the people that I’ve met throughout this past year in pursuit of my MBA. From the people I met at last year’s ROMBA conference, to my class of fellows, to the mentors and people that have given me their unbiased advice throughout the process.

Any advice you have for people going into the ROMBA Conference for the first time?
Go out of your way to meet new people, I have met people that I would now consider close friends through ROMBA. Whether you are there to meet new people or to also find a job, just know that there is time for both – it’s all about prioritization. Take advantage of every opportunity you have to get in front of employers that are interested in you, because who knows where your priorities will be three months to a year from now. Having those contacts, mentors, and newfound friends to answer your questions and create connections during your first year is what will make you successful now and in the future. Don’t underestimate the power of your LGBT network!

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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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