Prior to HBS, I was working at American Express first in the
strategy group and then in Membership Rewards for the Centurion
and Platinum team. While the training and development during those four years
was phenomenal I knew that the right next step for me was to go to business
To be a successful general manager is to know your blind
spots, and I wanted an opportunity to develop those areas with less career
risk. As such, I was drawn to HBS’ learning environment because I thought it
would be the best way for a psychology major to learn finance, operations and
even accounting: fast-paced, fully immersive, and case-based.
Why did you decide to
get involved with the LGBT Student Association?
As a member of the black and LGBT community, I know the importance of
belonging to a community that provides a support system and empowers its
members to play an active role in the broader community. For me, being involved
with the LGBTSA is an opportunity to demonstrate both inside and outside of the
community that people do not need to choose one community affiliation
(identity) over another, but can be their full selves and still be impactful. I
was fortunate to have career mentors who helped me navigate being at the
intersection of two communities – either as allies or themselves LGBT,
minorities or both. It has been these experiences that have shaped who I am and
how I see myself giving back to the world.
What are your
highlights (so far) from LGBTSA events/activities?
The mentorship program between the LGBTSA and Harvard College’s LGBT
business club has been a major highlight for me. I meet regularly with my
mentee over lunch where we cover topics from what areas of business are most
interesting to her, how best to prepare for consulting interviews and what
factors to consider when applying to graduate school.
Why do you think it’s
important for the club to exist on campus?
I think it’s incredibly important for the LBGTSA to exist on campus because
it demonstrates that HBS fully supports its mission to educate ALL leaders who
make a difference in the world. The visibility of the club makes clear to
current and prospective students that HBS is a welcoming environment regardless
of race, gender, religion or sexuality. And it sets an early example that
successful leaders will need to manage within a multi-layered, nuanced and
Did you have any
concerns about coming to HBS?
I wasn’t sure to what extent I should be fully “out” and how early on in
the section experience, especially because I thought I may be the first LGBT or
black friend some may have had. Thankfully, my section is a super supportive
environment and one of my now good friends is a guy who told me he never really
knew gay people prior and he wasn’t sure he would have sought out friendship
initially. We spent a lot of time asking each other questions about our own
experiences and why we believe what we believe. It is moments where you get to
change or even shape the perspective for members of the HBS community that they
can carry forward outside of HBS.
Can you tell us about
LGBT prospective student day?
LGBT prospective student day is important because it provides access to
current students who can answer questions that really matter for LGBT students
and whom their current network may not be able to answer. Knowing that your
partner can and is encouraged to attend all section events and join HBS clubs
is a huge boost of confidence and having an accurate portrayal of the academic,
social and dating scene is a big factor in where you decide to spend two years
of your life. You want to know you can be happy and successful even if it’s not
in cities like San Francisco, New York or Chicago, which have very large and
vibrant LGBT communities.
What has surprised
you about being here?
I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how nice and open everyone is. It’s been
a great shift in my own perspective to smile a bit more and wave hello. Also,
we clap for everything at HBS. It’s been a bit of reprogramming – and had me
smiling at strangers when in country for FIELD and this summer at my
What advice would you
have for LGBT prospective students?
I would recommend that students come visit the school and the neighboring
community and really ask if they could see themselves at that business school
for two years. It is more important that you be happy and feel supported wherever
you choose to go than to spend a lot of money where you don’t have the
opportunity to be the best you. Ask members of the staff, current students,
alumni and other prospective students what their concerns are and why. It will
help make you make the most informed decision possible.