Be fabulously queer and still ‘slay’ in the boardroom- the LGBTQ+ community might have been historically underrepresented in all sectors of work including business schools, but not anymore. With the discourse around the community changing in the past few years and most MBA programs appreciating diversity, the business school demographic has begun to change as members of the community have made their presence felt across campuses around the globe- one might say that students from various sexual and gender orientations have a definite plus point when applying to such schools. We are here to tell you how to make the most out of your B-School application as an LGBTQ+ candidate, provided you choose to come out or are already comfortable with talking about your orientation.
1. Own it.
To make the most out of your application, it is imperative to have a solid “why”- why being a part of the community is an important part of your identity, what strengths and values have been imbibed in you as a result of your identity and what attitudes you have developed as a queer member of society. Do not be afraid to stand out in fact, B-Schools look for candidates who are authentic and not afraid to speak their truth.
Take up space, ask to be addressed by your preferred pronouns, embrace your individuality and your queerness, and rest be assured that the admission committee takes the responsibility upon themselves to make the candidate most comfortable in order for them to showcase their full potential.
1. Do not forget to reach out to alums and LGBTQ+ organizations.
Just as any other B-school aspirant, homework and research is necessary in order to get the absolute most out of your application. Most B-schools, if not all, have an LGBTQ+ student body on campus, and speaking to their members or student leader is the best way to network with other students from the same community and learn about the campus experience from their perspective- how they mingle with their non-LGBTQ+ peers, if the campus is safe for LGBTQ+ students, the attitude of the faculty and non-members towards members of the community, the diverse resources and scholarships, if any, available for LGBTQ+ students, and the like.
With that being said, do research if there are any alums from the LGBTQ+ community and be sure to reach out to them via LinkedIn or other platforms in a professional manner. If you are unable to find said alum, reach out to an alum who is working in the industry or field that you are interested in. Ask them questions about how they excelled in their field, and incorporate their tips along with your own unique set of skills and ideas.
2. Let your essays tell your story.
Maybe you hail from a place where being a member of the LGBTQ+ community is considered taboo. Maybe you stayed in the closet for religious reasons. Maybe you worked at the forefront of your school/college/community for raising awareness and acceptance about your community. Whatever might be the case, the coming out story is unique to each individual, and often a highly sensitive and personal experience, requiring deep self-reflection.
First off, know that the admissions committee wants to know your story, and you will be given a space to talk about how your identity has built you into who you are today. A well-articulated essay centering on your strengths and character arc developed as a result of your identity is sure to impress.
3. Raise awareness.
Being a member of the LGBTQ+ community is a wonderful way to holistically and correctly educate non-members about how to be aware of, accept and most importantly, not to segregate or use incorrect jargon for members of the LGBTQ+ community. Tell the AdCom how you plan on creating awareness and educating your peers and faculty members, making them open minded and removing their preconceived notions about the community. Talk about how you plan on bringing about workforce sensitization so more and more members of the community can be recruited without being singled out as ‘different’ or ‘other’, and work closely with non-members to create inclusive environments.
However, albeit your identity certainly adds to your candidature, it will not be the sole reason for your selection. Remember that you have many different aspects of yourself as a human being, and how each of them has built your vision for the future is what AdCom looks for in an applicant. So even if you haven’t been part of a pride group or pride parade, be sure to emphasize more on your acquired strengths, rather than just the coming out story. The LGBTQ+ community is an underrepresented community, and your perspective and vision and can help make it the ‘new normal’.
We at CrackAdmission have worked with several applicants with diverse backgrounds and would be happy to hear your story as well. Feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com