Last week, Austin held its annual Stonewall Riots Rally at the Texas Capitol to raise awareness about violence against the LGBTQ+ community and to celebrate Pride in a safe space. This year is the 50th Anniversary of the historic Stonewall Riots in 1969 where members of the LGBTQ+ community fought against a police raid on June 28 at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York. A year later, the very first Gay Pride Parades in America took place in New York, California, and Illinois. Since then, cities all over the country host Pride marches and celebrations to highlight LGBTQ+ identities and allies in the community during the month of June.
Austin has many Pride Month celebrations around town in June but for various reasons, its official Pride festival and parade is held in August– this also gives the UT Austin student population, a very active part of the LGBTQ+ community, the opportunity to volunteer and participate. The MBA program is celebrating Pride Month by recognizing the impact, courage, and achievements of our students that are part of the LGBTQ+ community.
At Texas McCombs, we strive to create an accepting and diverse community by partnering with Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA), a nonprofit organization that focuses on empowering LGBTQ+ business students, and by supporting eQUAL MBAs, a social and career networking group for Texas McCombs MBA students who are members, friends, or supporters of the LGBTQ+ community.
eQual works to promote awareness of the LGBTQ+ community among current and prospective students at McCombs, and to keep affiliated alumni connected to the organization. Additionally, the group provides its members with networking opportunities with companies who seek to recruit LGBTQ+ employees.
Reaching Out is a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating, inspiring, and connecting the LGBTQ+ MBA community to make an impact as leaders in business. In 2014 McCombs became one of the inaugural school partners of the ROMBA fellowship. The fellowship grants LGBTQ+ MBA recipients with a minimum scholarship of $10,000 per academic year and access to exclusive mentorship and leadership development programs.
Additionally, ROMBA hosts the world’s largest gathering of LGBTQ+ business students. The conference is hosted once a year in different cities across the nation and is inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer graduate business school students, prospective students, post-graduates, professional business leaders, alumni, and recruiters.
MBA Student Spotlight
Vicky Wu earned a Bachelor’s of Science from the University of Texas and when she reached a point in her career where she was ready to learn more and go back to school, decided to pursue her MBA.
“When I started to actively look at schools, everything pointed to McCombs. You’re going to get a stellar education and career opportunities at any of the top MBA schools, however, McCombs has a rare culture that is very intelligent without being overly competitive, all while being in the best city.”
When Vicky was accepted into McCombs, eQual reached out to provide information on the ROMBA fellowship, their pre-MBA trek, and their annual conference.
“ROMBA provides a unique opportunity for the LGBTQ community to come together and network in a fun yet professional setting. The pre-MBA trek and conference were the only times in my life where I didn’t have to come out to every new person I met. Everyone had an unspoken kinship and we were able to embrace it while companies actively sought after us.”
Scott Seel worked in professional services marketing in Washington, D.C. for six and a half years and knew he wanted to eventually pursue his MBA. Scott wanted to focus on what drives change and ethical management decisions within companies and found McCombs had exactly what he was looking for.
“McCombs had the collaborative, positive student-led community, top-notch professors and experiential learning opportunities I sought in an MBA program. Also, Austin is the perfect backdrop, as a growing, entrepreneurial city focused on leveraging technology to innovate.”
Scott learned about ROMBA from LGBTQ MBAs that served as on-campus leaders. Before the ROMBA conference, Scott worked with the MBA Career Management Office to prepare for interviews and networking. He credits Daniel Liu, Director of Full-Time MBA Career Management, and Melissa Murphy, a McCombs MBA+ Communications Coach, for helping him concentrate on interviewing strategies and how to best leverage the conference for career opportunities.
“ROMBA really was an incredible conference. It was refreshing to see so many LGBTQ McCombs alumni at our McCombs reception, and hear their own journeys, as well as how much has changed for the better for LGBTQ employees in the past decade, though there is still much work to do. The companies themselves had many LGBTQ employees at the conference to network and provide support to MBA students.”
Texas McCombs recognizes and encourages all students that are a part of the LGBTQ+ community to consider joining the Longhorn family. For more information on eQual MBAs please email firstname.lastname@example.org and for information on ROMBA and applying to be a ROMBA fellow, visit reachingoutmba.org.