A group of LGBTQ+ MBA students at IESE, Adarsh Nair (India, ’21), Chris Coraggio (USA, ’21), Patricia Royo (Brazil, ’22) and Piyush Mediratta (India ’22), took home 2nd place out of 18 top-tier teams at the 2020 Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA) Consulting Case Competition, sponsored by Bain and Company.
ROMBA is a US-based NGO supporting LGBTQ+ MBAs and alumni from around the world. Its conference brings over 2,000 MBAs and 100 corporate partners to network, engage in future-facing topics and connect over shared identity. This was the first time that Out for Business, a community of 80 IESE LGBTQ+ students and allies, participated in the conference. Piyush shared, “It made me very happy to see the LGBTQ community coming together…I managed to identify contacts at my target firms, got some very useful resources for consulting interview preparation and learned about intersectionality and other topics from the panel discussions.”
The 2020 case, inspired by the recent protests for racial justice in the United States, was about improving diversity and inclusion (D&I) at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator. Teams had to come up with a 10-year strategic plan and an actionable timeline that would improve diverse representation, integrate D&I into the organization and improve their influence in the wider tech sector. The IESE team’s plan created a coherent set of goals, metrics and initiatives that were centered around D&I
targets, accountability, education around social and environmental justice, and job-training programs to bring more people from marginalized backgrounds into the cleantech workforce.
Our IESE team, named “Let’s ROMBArca”, walked away with $2,500 and more importantly, pride that we were among the best of top US and international MBA schools, while representing both IESE and Out for Business. For me, it’s amazing to see that in our first year organizing as an LGBTQ+ community, we had 8 students attend the conference and 2 IESE teams compete in competitions, one of them beating the top business schools from around the world.
What was most memorable about the team experience?
Patricia said, “It was amazing to see how we were able to build on our past experiences to together find common goals and strategies for our project. Since we have different backgrounds, we all brought something different to the table and complemented each other very well.” Adarsh also mentioned: “It was also amazing and memorable as our first-ever experience of working in an all LGBT team!”
What did you learn?
Piyush shared that, “Being a gay person of color myself, the topic of diversity and inclusion has always been very close to my heart. However, this was the first opportunity to tie the thinking to ground reality.” Personally, I learned that having such limited time to produce a high quality product requires a structured and disciplined approach. Patricia agreed: “I learned how to better structure my ideas into clear goals and strategies.”
What advice you would give to future case participants?
Adarsh: Go for it! It is fun and you will learn A LOT. Working with a team with only LGBT MBA students is an unparalleled experience.
Patricia: You will have a unique opportunity to contribute but also to learn a lot from your peers! Take advantage of it. Search for the core of the problem you are trying to solve and don’t be afraid to be bold.
Piyush: Collaborate and listen to different perspectives, keep the end goal in mind, bring in a framework to structure your thoughts and go for it!
From Me: Remember why you signed up in the first place. We wanted to learn and have a great experience, so our dynamic was relaxed and fun, but we also wanted to be proud of our work. We bonded over brunch but also challenged each other’s ideas. It was a really enriching experience!
If you are LGBTQ+ and are thinking about applying to IESE, please don’t hesitate to contact any of our amazing members of Out for Business who can’t wait to speak with you:
● Chris Coraggio (Out for Business Pres., USA, ‘21) – firstname.lastname@example.org
● Piyush Mediratta (Out for Business VP, India, ‘22) – email@example.com
● Camyla Serpa (Brazil, ‘22) – Camyla.firstname.lastname@example.org
● Celio Castro (Out for Business VP, Ecuador/USA, ‘22) – email@example.com
● Patricia Royo (Brazil, ‘22) – firstname.lastname@example.org
● Hasani Brooke (Out for Business VP, Barbados,‘22) – email@example.com
● Tianyi Zhao (Australia, ‘22) – firstname.lastname@example.org
Congratulations to Chris, Adarsh, Patricia and Piyush on their accomplishment!
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