This year, several members of Cohort Q, the Graduate School of Management’s LGBT student organization, were fortunate enough to travel down to Dallas for the Reaching Out MBA Conference. The conference, otherwise known as ROMBA, is an annual event for LGBT graduate business students and features guest speakers, workshops, panel discussion, and most importantly a career exposition.My thoughts prior to registering were that there wouldn’t be many companies attending, it would be unorganized, and possibly a waste of time and money. With regards to the career fair, I assumed there would be maybe one or two recruiters per company being swarmed by hundreds of MBA students. I started talking to people who had attended in the past, and did a little digging on the ROMBA website, and I realized my assumptions were completely off. There were likely 1,000 – 1,500 students, over 100 companies, and over 500 recruiters. There was not a single recruiter who was not 100% approachable during the career fair or at any point in time over the weekend
The event was also extremely well organized, from meals to workshops to speakers. Some of the individuals we heard from were Fort Worth Councilman Joel Burns, from the YouTube viral video, Howard Bragman, the Founder of Fifteen Minutes, and Joe Solmonese, the President of the Human Rights Campaign. In addition to this, the recruiters and employees from some of the top companies were featured as panelists throughout the many workshops offered.
Next year, the conference is in Boston and we can’t stress enough what an opportunity this is for the LGBT GSM community. Not to mention, it is a complete blast of a weekend. If this blog post wasn’t enough to get you involved next year, below are some quotes right from some of the students who attended. Lastly, feel free to reach out to any of us with any questions!
“The Reaching Out MBA conference was fantastic. I am SO happy I went. The speakers were great and I was able to make some good connections with recruiters as well as other students. Next year the conference is in Boston and I would DEFINITELY encourage both first and second year students to go. The companies were top tier (Google, Amazon, Apple, eBay, etc) and I don't think I waited more than 5 minutes to talk to anyone. It was definitely a good experience.” -Cassie Kern, MS-MBA Candidate 2012
"The conference was an opportunity for me to talk with companies I wouldn't normally have the opportunity to speak with through BU. They simply do not recruit here. However, they attend the conferences specifically looking to hire and will often interview on the spot. I was fortunate enough to land several interviews with my top choice companies, an opportunity I wouldn't have had otherwise. The conference is also rather small in comparison to the other diversity events. I was able to walk up to any recruiter at any point in the conference and start up a conversation... let that be during meals, career development sessions, recruiting events, or even just at the hotel bar or in the elevator. This opportunity alone made the price of attendance worth it."
Advice for first years:
"There are a lot of internships at this event. Do not think this event is only for second years looking for fulltime, because it's not. I wish I had known about this during my first year." -Scott Kanach, MBA Candidate 2012
“This was my first time going and was very glad I did. Virtually every company was approachable. I walked away with a few interviews, great contacts, and hopefully a new friend or two. Besides line dancing (this was Dallas after all) the highlight of my trip was spending a few hours at the McKinsey office consulting for a local non-profit. As the President of Cohort Q (GSM's LGBT organization) I was definitely excited that such a large percentage of the "out" students chose to attend. I will make sure that next year's leadership knows how important this conference is.” -Jonathan Stone, MS-MBA Candidate 2012