This Year’s Reaching Out MBA LGBTQ Conference Arrives in Boston


The ROMBA LGBTQ MBA and Graduate Student Conference, the largest annual gathering of LGBTQ graduate school students in the world, takes place Boston this week, running from October 12-14. It is presented by Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA), a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping create the next generation of out business leaders by educating, inspiring, and connecting the student and alumni LGBTQ MBA and graduate studies communities.

The 20th annual three-day conference offers thousands of attendees an incredibly unique opportunity to connect and expand their careers with a close-knit and inclusive community. Included in the ever-expanding event are multiple case competitions, high-profile keynote speakers, information chats with MBA programs, the first inaugural “Professional Day” session and much, much more.

Day One

Those in attendance on Thursday, Oct. 12, will have the chance to join the first of two Boston LGBTQ MBA Treks. Through a competitive application process, 20 students are selected to join each of the treks. One trek will make stops at two of the city’s more prominent biotech companies and the other will visit two leading management consulting firms.

Throughout the first day, which runs from 2 to 11 p.m. at the Boston Seaport World Trade Center, corporate partners are invited to meet with Reaching Out’s staff and Board on future ROMBA events, both in the United States and in international locations like Brazil and China. An Out Women in Business event will run from 3 to 7 p.m., featuring “short-form talks, a panel discussion, and structured workshop, designed to bring together our LGBTQ attendees and to focus on issues that specifically apply to and interest them.” It will be followed by a formal reception.

As well, the first day will feature multiple panel events designed to help attendees navigate the recruiting process. These panels will address potential first-year grad school anxiety, how companies can appropriately measure and expand inclusive practices, interview assistance, and more. The first night concludes with the aforementioned Out Women In Business ceremony, a ceremony for active and previously enrolled military veterans, and the invitation-only ROMBA Fellowship Recipient Reception.

Day Two

Day Two, Oct. 13, begins with a breakfast and opening keynote panel, featuring three of the business world’s most prominent LGBTQ C-suite members: Jim Fitterling, president & chief operating officer of Dow Chemical; Beth Ford, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Land O’ Lakes; and Jan Siegmund, ADP chief financial officer.

Several informative industry panels will take place throughout Day Two, covering topics such as coming out and thriving in the workplace, handling big data, inclusive networking, diversity in the tech industry, and much more. Later that afternoon, McKinsey Global Management Partner Dominic Barton and United Therapeutics’ CEO Martine Rothblatt will speak at the Leadership Lunch, sponsored by McKinsey and Co.

The 2015 ROMBA Conference

The centerpiece of Day Two is the three-hour Career Expo, which will feature nearly 100 of the world’s largest companies looking to recruit the best and brightest of LGBTQ graduate talent. At the same time, ROMBA will host an Entrepreneurship Expert Zone, which allows entrepreneurs to present their startup ideas to potential venture capitalist partners.

The night will conclude with the LGBTQ MBAs of Color Reception, taking place at from 6 to 7 p.m., followed by a pre-entertainment networking reception, and an “Evening With” popular LGBTQ comedian Margaret Cho at 9 p.m.

Day Three

Day Three will perhaps mark the most important of the conference as it relates to earning admission into the country’s best MBA programs. At 10 a.m., more than 40 business schools will join the Pre-MBA Admission Expo. The event “will have a mix of admissions officers, LGBTQ MBA alumni, and current LGBTQ MBA students on-site to share information about their programs & experiences on campus with our pre-MBA attendees.”

The afternoon will be filled with pre-MBA sessions on why some students may want to consider dual-degree programs, regional networking, alumni discussions, and more. At 5 p.m., many schools will host their own private sessions with current students, alumni, and administrative officials..

The final night culminates with the 7 p.m. ROMBA Gala Reception and the sold out GALA Dinner, featuring CNN journalist Anderson Cooper, the conference’s keynote speaker.

To find out how to register for this weekend’s event, along with a more in depth look at the three-day schedule, head over to the ROMBA official website.

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About the Author

Matthew Korman

Matthew Korman is a writer on MetroMBA. Since graduating from Rowan University with a degree in journalism and political science, Matthew has worked as a music industry writer and promoter, a data analyst, and with numerous academic institutions. His works have appeared in publications such as NPR and Sports Illustrated.

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