Rotman Becomes First Canadian School to Partner with LGBT Advocacy Group

If you’re looking for a diverse student body, welcoming of every gender, age, sexuality, and ethnicity, look no further than the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. Earlier this year, Rotman became the first Canadian business school to partner formally with the U.S.-based LGBT advocacy group, Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA). As a commitment to the organization, Rotman created two new fellowships for exceptional LGBT spokespeople and leaders.

According to an article in The Global MailAnthony Harbour, who enrolled in the MBA program at Rotman in 2014, chose the program specifically because he felt at home in a student body where nearly 70 percent of the people came from outside of Canada. However, he was surprised that it took Rotman until 2015 to put formal structures in place to support the LGBT community, in which he was included.

Alongside Rotman’s partnership with ROMBA, Harbour established an on-campus club, called The Letters, for LGBT students as well as their friends and allies. It was formally incorporated this spring and has already attained a membership of 70 students.

“That’s important because one of the big things that we really want to offer is, literally, just mere awareness…it’s a matter of educating people what LGBT stands for and what it means,” said Harbour in the article. “It’s not this foreign, crazy concept. It’s really just being another person.”

The truth is, LGBT students make up about 3 percent of the average U.S. business school population, that’s why ROMBA is seeking to break down stereotypes of what a business leader looks like. According to ROMBA, as many as 50-80 percent of LGBT students who graduate with their MBA will go “back in the closet” once they start working because they don’t want to be sidelined for a C-Suite opportunity. ROMBA’s goal is to inspire LGBT students to push against these boundaries and to make the business community a more welcoming place.

“The more diverse the team, whether that’s from international representation, gender or race, the more likely it is to challenge the status quo,” said Dr. Kaplan, a professor of strategic management at Rotman. Studies show that companies with a diverse staff reap incredible benefits including greater innovation and creative thinking, and the same rules apply to business school.

In the article, Dr. Kaplan shared, “It’s our responsibility to help students understand and be comfortable with all the different forms of diversity. We want to value everyone, and encourage our students to become better global citizens.”

To learn more about Rotman’s MBA program and it’s involvement with ROMBA, visit their website.




About the Author

Kelly Vo    

Kelly Vo is a writer who specializes in covering MBA programs, digital marketing, and personal development.

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