Prior to HBS, I was working at American Express first in the CEO’s internal alterrel.jpg
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 school.

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 interconnected community.

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 internship. 

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.