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24

Nov 2017

Meet the LGBTQ MBA Fellows: Yang Zhang

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, 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 YANG ZHANG (VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY, OWEN GRADUATE SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT)

Born and raised in Northwest China, Yang moved to Eastern China where he attended pharmacy school. After obtained his Bachelor of Medicine, he accepted full scholarships to pursue a master’s degree in pharmaceutics at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. Upon graduating from Duquesne in 2014, Yang headed to Tenseness to join the Department of Pathology at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Working as a biomedical scientist during his time there, Yang came to realize that current technology falls short of the clinical needs. For this reason, he is convinced that accelerating the conversion of new technologies to commercialized clinical products is imperative. After spending three years at St. Jude, he decided to change his career focus from biomedical research to the development and commercialization of new technology by pursuing an MBA. Yang is excited about joining the Class of 2019 at Vanderbilt Owen with a focus on finance and strategy. He is also a tennis enthusiast and an amateur painter.

What made you consider business school?
The career change I am making is so significant, from biomedical research to financial services, that I need a place where I could take a step back to focus on the bigger picture and become well-rounded. I cannot think of a better way to accomplish this than going to business school. I hope an MBA will help me leverage my academic credentials and financial skills to play a more business-oriented and client-facing role. I also come to business school to meet more liked-minded people. I believe the two years I am about to spend at Owen will be the most amazing time of my life.

What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?
Flexibility. I enjoy taking control of my own time. I tend to be more productive and creative when I have the flexibility of hitting the gym, having a nice breakfast and taking a nap whenever I feel I need to. I also really look forward to going on many trips with my classmates. We are all young, energetic and adventurous. What is going to be more fun than traveling together!

Who are some of the leaders (in the LGBTQ community, in business, or in society) that most inspire you?
I find many athletes very inspiring. Some top athletes are extremely successful both in sports and business world, such as William sisters, Maria Sharapova (did I mention that I am a tennis fan?), Lewis Howes and Lebron James.

What’s one thing everyone should know about you?
If you’re a foodie, we will get along just fine.

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20

Nov 2017

Meet the LGBTQ MBA Fellows: Taylor Kunkel

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, 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 TAYLOR KUNKEL (VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY, OWEN GRADUATE SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT)

I was born in Corpus Christi, TX and until leaving for college I lived in the same house in the small suburb of Portland, TX. I think this stationary beginning to my life is why I love traveling so much now. I have undertaken two one-month solo backpacking trips along with some additional smaller travel stints and I cannot get enough. After high school, I attended Texas A&M University in College Station, TX beginning my studies in Biomedical Engineering and later switching to Petroleum Engineering after talking with some people in the industry. I was very drawn to the idea of working in a non-conventional office in the field and witnessing the physical manifestation of technical and financial work done in the back office. I had the rare opportunity to work for ENI Petroleum as a Deepwater Drilling Engineer both in the office and on the rig in the Gulf of Mexico. As an Italian based company ENI introduced me to working with cross-cultural teams and when they sent me on business to the United Kingdom and Italy it was the first time I had been outside of the United States. I continued to work with and manage teams from around the world on the rig with additional experience ranging from day to day logistical operations to cost and risk analysis. I am an extremely curious individual so in my free time I like to explore by trying new cuisine, traveling to new destinations, or meeting new people.

What made you consider business school?
I invested in my first mutual fund of my own accord in seventh grade with money I had saved from birthdays and chores. So, I have had a long-standing fascination with business for some time now and while in engineering was drawn more towards the financial aspects of a project. MBA programs offer the opportunity to learn and improve with the added benefit of having an established real-world perspective. Business school is also an incredible opportunity to switch tracks and embark on a career path with high growth potential.

What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?
I am most excited about working and networking with other highly ambitious people who share the same passion for business that I do.

Who are some of the leaders (in the LGBTQ community, in business, or in society) that most inspire you?
Martine Rothblatt has such an incredible and inspiring story. She has consistently been at the top of her field pre and post transition. She fostered the creation of significant portions of the satellite communications industry and then completely switched gears and created a multi-billion dollar biotechnology company originally founded to help cure her daughter’s illness. She has not let being transgender define her or limit her aspirations in the slightest.

What’s one thing everyone should know about you?
Presidential debates are my equivalent to the Super Bowl. As a former debater, I hang on every word and love to think about the strategy used to come out on top.

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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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