By Aidan Currie
Hello and Happy Pride 2020! This will certainly be one of the most unusual Pride months on the books, and it’s important that we continue to find the silver linings in life and work during these tumultuous times.
I have the great pleasure of being the Executive Director at Reaching Out MBA, a nonprofit that for more than twenty years has worked to increase the influence of the LGBT+ community in business by educating, inspiring and connecting MBA students and alumni. We run programming throughout the year – including a Fellowship program that provides a minimum of $20,000 to students selected by their schools – to ensure LGBT+ MBAs connect and learn from others in business, have access to recruitment opportunities, and spaces for our community to gather and inspire each other.
Like everyone, the MBA community has been greatly impacted by COVID-19, in the short term with altered or rescinded summer internships – and in the longer term with uncertainty in the jobs market that students will encounter upon graduation.
But here’s the good news. In these difficult times, many of our organization partners have shown outstanding leadership by quickly re-configuring what a summer internship can look like in the MBA community. This means providing interns with an opportunity to re-imagine their traditional internships and take the summer to give back by supporting a nonprofit of their choice as we manage through these difficult times.
For example, Corey Fowler, a Reaching Out Fellow completing his first year of Tepper School of Business (Carnegie Mellon University), has been able to pivot from his planned internship at Boston Consulting Group in Pittsburgh. BCG has offered Corey the opportunity to join the Reaching Out MBA team as we work to develop engaging virtual events that continue to serve the needs of our students and alumni in the wake of COVID-19.
I spoke to Corey recently about how this program came about. “Given this global crisis, BCG developed a Social Impact Ambassadorship that enables incoming summer consultants to spend their summer working with a nonprofit of their choosing instead of the traditional client experience. This allows interns to give back to organizations they care about, either through front-line service in their community or skill-based volunteerism.”
When asked why he chose Reaching Out MBA, Fowler says: “As a ROMBA Fellow, I’ve been involved with the organization since the early days of my MBA experience and have seen first-hand the impact that Reaching Out has on the LGBT+ community. I thought long and hard about where I would have the most impact. In the end, working with Reaching Out was the best way for me to leverage my skills and personal experience to support the LGBT+ community.”
How do you hope you can make a difference in the fight against COVID 19 this summer? Says Fowler, “organizations all over the world are having to significantly rethink their operations in light of COVID-19. I’d like to look back on this summer experience and feel proud that I used my education and skills to help an organization that has done so much for the historically marginalized LGBT+ community. From a professional growth perspective, I am hoping to sharpen my contingency and crisis planning skills that I think will benefit me throughout my consulting career.”
We thank all of our partners who have decided to continue their support of Reaching Out MBA in these difficult times, in part by donating their human capital to help raise up nonprofits and other community organizations as we continue to serve our constituents.