Each year Reaching Out's staff selects a team made up of 8-10 current LGBTQ MBA (and related degree) students to help craft the theme and content at the annual LGBTQ MBA & Graduate Conference (ROMBA Conference), the world's largest business conference for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer MBA students and alumni. These students, who are selected via a competitive application process in mid-October, spend 9 months setting the agenda for our community.
As we approach the 2018 ROMBA Conference in Minneapolis (Oct 4-6), we'd like to introduce you to this year's Student Leadership team. Each of them has worked hard to make this the best possible conference for our 1,600 student and alumni attendees. Each team member will tell you a bit about them, share what they are doing for their summer, and also offer advice to incoming LGBTQ graduate students at business schools around the world.
Chris Ralphs (Indiana University, Kelley School of Business)
Chris Ralphs is a MBA candidate at Indiana University Kelley School of Business. Chris is from Los Angeles and obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Studies at American University in Washington D.C. Prior to starting business school, Chris was an
International Relations Specialist at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the part of the Department of Defense responsible for stopping the spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction. In that role Chris led cross functional teams to help improve the safety and security of chemical,
biological and nuclear material in Africa. In his free time Chris enjoys rugby, surfing, skiing, and traveling.
What are you doing for your Summer?
I was at Walmart in a Business Analytics role in the Bentonville office developing a strategy to increase OGP penetration for Dry Grocery and Commercial Bread.
How did your first year in business school prepare you for your summer internship?
My first year of business school provided me a strong set of skills that I was able to apply in my internship this summer. Through IU’s core, I gained a strong base level of skills in marketing, finance, operations and accounting that provided me the foundation I needed for my internship.
What experience(s) do you hope to take away from your Internship this summer?
From this summer I gained a better understanding of how the third largest organization in the world operates. I had the opportunity to see the wholistic business process from going to pick items in the store for an online order to getting to ask questions to the CEO.
What's the most valuable piece of advice going into summer internships you can offer the incoming Class of 2020?
Make sure that you know as much as possible about the company and industry before your internship. By building your knowledge of the periphery environment before your internship you can spend more time focusing on your project and meeting people in the organization
What are you most excited about for ROMBA 2018?
I’m excited to see everyone that I’ve connected with from past ROMBA events. From the ROMBA Pre-MBA summer treks, Club Leadership Summit and ROMBA 2018 Leadership Team I’ve made some fantastic friends that I can’t wait see again.
Any advice you have for people going into the ROMBA Conference for the first time?
The coffee chats during ROMBA are different than your typical on campus interview. The coffee chats have a more relaxed setting which allows you really connect with recruiters and get a better understanding of the company.