Hello hello! It’s Pride Month, and The Art of Applying is loud and proud in our support of our LGBTQ clients and community members.
This week, we’re introducing you to a nonprofit called Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA) that serves LGBTQ MBA students. Our founder, Kaneisha Grayson, sat down for a video interview with Jordan Summers, Program Manager of ROMBA. You can watch their video interview and/or continue reading to learn more.
ROMBA’s Primary Goals:
- Connect LGBTQ professionals to other constituents (pre-MBAs, current students, or alumni) for networking purposes
- Educate LGBTQ professionals on best business practices
- Inspire LGBTQ professionals to be out leaders in business
Who is eligible to join ROMBA and how do I join?
It’s great that you want to join! You totally should. Anyone is welcome to join, although ROMBA’s mission and programming is focused on supporting LGBTQ MBA students. Allies are also welcome to join. Students whose program is related to business or information systems are also welcome to apply!
There is absolutely no fee to join ROMBA. What?! That’s right. It’s FREE to join.
With the amazing benefits that ROMBA offers the LGBTQ community and allies, this is amazing news! To join, all you have to do is sign up for their newsletter and you will officially be enrolled in ROMBA.
How ROMBA benefit students
ROMBA works with LGBTQ pre-MBA, current MBA, and alumni students by providing a variety of resources and events for students to take advantage of.
How ROMBA helps LGBTQ MBA Applicants
In the pre-MBA track, ROMBA connects students to admissions officers at their top schools to learn more about the application process and connect them to current students to understand what their college experience is like. In this track, pre-MBA students have the opportunity to tour headquarters cities and Fortune 500 companies, meet employees who work there, talk about what it’s like to work at that organization, and learn about job and internship opportunities.
Two of the recent treks were to San Francisco to visit Facebook, Google, Apple, Genentech, Salesforce, The Boston Consulting Group, and Tesla and to Seattle to visit Amazon, Expedia, Microsoft, Starbucks, and T-Mobile.
How ROMBA helps LGBTQ MBA Students
For current students, ROMBA offers programs to connect, educate, and inspire students. There’s the Out Women in Business Conference, for example, that students can attend to learn about the different developments in business industries and how to become a business leader. This conference is an especially effective way to connect with fellow business women.
Another example is the Student Leadership Conference that teaches upcoming club leaders how to create inclusive policies on campus, how to interact with admissions officers to get more pre-MBA candidates to join the school, and how to create inclusive and inviting club events.
How ROMBA helps LGBTQ Alumni
For alumni students, ROMBA connects them with pre-MBA and current students to help them attain internship and job opportunities. ROMBA is also great at connecting alumni to a larger community of LGBTQ professionals in the US.
What is the ROMBA Conference?
Each year, ROMBA holds a conference in October. This conference brings together 1,800+ MBA students from all over the world to learn, network, and improve their skills as they work to become confident and strong business professionals.
The ROMBA Conference hosts over 50 sessions that range from finance and consulting to tech and marketing. Each year, keynote speakers are invited to speak to the LGBTQ community and this year’s keynote speaker is none other than Lena Waith! As a screenwriter, producer, and actress, you will get to hear firsthand what her experience being out in the entertainment industry has been like. There are also networking sessions and a career expo with over 95 corporate partners where students can learn about job and internship opportunities.
Note: these networking events are prioritized for LGBTQ students, but if you are an ally (someone who believes that LGBTQ people should have all the rights and freedom that everyone has or who has friends and families who identify as LGBTQ) you are still welcome to attend.
On Friday night is a charity party to collect donations that go to the student access fund, which is used to fund students’ cost of registration, travel, and lodging. But the best part is that every night of the conference, there is a welcome party to eat, socialize, and meet new people. So if you want to learn more about the conference, or better yet, you want to register, check it out here!
This year’s conference will take place on October 10th-12th, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia, but students can get discounted tickets if they register before September 2nd or simply by volunteering at the event.
What is the ROMBA Fellowship?
ROMBA offers a grant called the ROMBA Fellowship, which is open to LGBTQ or ally students. The fellowship consists of two components. The first is a scholarship award of $10,000 minimum or $20,000 total.
As a recipient of the scholarship, students have access to the second component, which includes exclusive mentorship and professional development programs. Students will learn how to navigate the interview process as an LGBTQ student, learn about the health benefits they should be aware of, measure the LGBTQ policies for companies using the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, and learn how to make positive changes as a leader in the LGBTQ community. Of course, students will gain access to jobs, internship, and corporate opportunities through this program as well.
In the past, students have also attended a fellowship retreat, which is a breakthrough moment to reassure students that it’s okay to be out in business school and that it’s okay to be fully themselves. In fact, they learn how being an out student and leader in business can be advantageous to them, too.
How Do I Apply for the ROMBA Fellowship?
To apply for the scholarship, go here!
Once you submit the form, you will receive a follow up email to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with a list of schools you are interested in applying to.
Then, you will be connected to admissions officers directly so that you can have a conversation with them about the actual application process.
Advice for LGBTQ Applicants from Jordan Summers, Program Manager for ROMBA:
- Assess your level of comfort being out in the application process and only do so if it’s right for you.
- It can be advantageous to be out early in the application process because the school can connect you with groups and scholarships on campus that you might be interested in
- It’s okay not to be out at first; just remember to be truthful and respectful to yourself and your own personal sense of when it is right for you to come out
If you haven’t already, make sure to check out this amazing organization. Share it with friends, family members, and colleagues. ROMBA is a great organization to make friends, connect with other professionals, and gain internship or job opportunities.