A number of business schools and companies are seeking LGBTQ talent.
Financial Times reports that recruiters are increasingly emphasizing diversity in the workplace.
“There are now more targeted recruitment events,” Roxanne Hori, associate dean at New York University’s Stern School of Business and a careers specialist, tells Financial Times. “Five or six years ago they just didn’t happen.”
Companies are actively promoting and pushing for diversity
Several business industries, Hori says, are now actively promoting affinity groups in a push to create more diverse workplace environments. At management consultancy firm, McKinsey, the Glam (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer at McKinsey) network of LGBT+ colleagues has reached several hundred active participants since its creation in 1995.
João Soares is a partner at rival consultancy Bain, where he leads the LGBTQ initiatives.
“We’re committed to bringing the top LGBT+ talent to Bain and then we aim to provide all possible resources to keep that talent,” he says.
Nick Deakin is an investment-banking associate at Citi, which he says promotes a similar commitment to diversity.
“We want the best people to be coming to us,” Deakin tells Financial Times. “If you can show you have a diverse and open employment policy and working environment you won’t miss out on talent.”
LGBT candidates have a high level of emotional intelligence
David Poli is co-president of the Out@Anderson club at UCLA Anderson School of Management in California. Poli tells Financial Times that LGBTQ candidates often have high levels of emotional intelligence, or EQ.
A number of business schools have begun seeking applicants with high EQ. At NYU’s Stern School of Business, applicants are now required to submit an EQ Endorsement, which according to NYU’s website, includes skills such as self-awareness, empathy, communication and self-management.
Susan Cera is the director of MBA admissions at admissions consultancy Stratus Admissions Counseling. Cera tells Poets & Quants that EQ is more than just management skills.
“Part of EQ is the ability to recognize and understand your own emotions,” Cera says. “And the other is to understand and recognize and influence the emotions of others.”
Albert Saniger is the president of London Business School’s Out in Business society, a club that represents the school’s LGBTQ community. Saniger helped organize 2017’s EurOUT, an annual MBA conference that seeks to bring together LGBTQ talent from the world’s top business schools. This year’s conference attracted representatives from 30 business schools and more than 20 corporate sponsors, according to Financial Times.
“Gender identity is complex,” Saniger tells Financial Times. “There’s a lot of value recruiters can create for their teams. The individuals are self-aware and resilient. It’s an indicator of leadership potential.”
Fighting for LGBTQ Equality Among Campuses and the Workplace
For many MBA students, business schools in America serve as somewhat sanctuary environments.
Nipun Sehgal, a UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA student from New Delhi and co-president of the Pride Club, tells Financial Times that North Carolina presents a liberal environment. He says he is reluctant to return to India, a country where homosexual acts carry criminal offences.
Yet, there’s still a lot of work to do in improving and promoting the interests of MBA students who identify as LGBTQ.
Eric Insler is the co-president of Pride Club at UNC. Insler tells Financial Times that while North Carolina promotes a liberal environment, it isn’t necessarily the same across the US.
“There’s definitely a perception in the US that the south is a less tolerant place than the north,” he says.
Matt Kidd is the executive director of Reaching Out MBA (Romba), a non-profit that “empowers LGBT MBA students & LGBT MBA professionals to become professionals who will lead the way to equality in business education, in the workplace and throughout society.”
Kidd tells Financial Times that Romba’s mission is shift perceptions surrounding finance and business.
“How do you convince graduates that business school is the place for them?” he says. “For business schools it is becoming a priority.”
For Insler, the greatest challenge is creating allies who support the LGBTQ both in business schools and the business world.
“I had a lot to learn myself about transgender issues,” he tells Financial Times. “I’m an American gay man, but this year I realized I had to be an ally. It’s not just a journey for society, it’s a journey for us as well.”