About 4% of students at the top business schools in the country are LGBT. At large Southern schools, that number is closer to 1%. In such a stereotypically straight industry, it’s important for these students to know there ARE employers who are LGBT-inclusive, and these are showcased every year at LGBT career fairs around the country.
The problem is when straight students start showing up en masse, diluting the focus on LGBT individuals. For example, at an event held last year by Reach Out MBA, an organization supporting LGBT MBA students, 10% of the 1,100 registered attendees were straight. Now, the group has decided to more closely monitor fair attendance. Students must write a statement about why they want to attend or sign up through their campus LGBT groups.
While many school officials understand Kidd’s complaint about the number of non-LGBT students at the event, some don’t see the concern. “There are recruiters there who are happy to talk to anyone that’s talented,” says Chequeta Allen, executive director of the career management center at William & Mary’s business school. “The idea of those groups is to ensure inclusiveness, not to say, ‘We only want LGBT people.’”
In a presentation at the Graduate Management Admission Council’s annual conference last month, Kidd told schools that the trend becomes offensive to LGBT students in attendance because they’ve heard straight students say things like: “Dude, I’m not gay” or “There needs to be less focus on gay stuff at this event.”
Safe, LGBT-only spaces are important, especially in straight-dominated industries. Sure, I can see allies being interested in going to inclusive workplaces, but that’s not the purpose of events like these.
Stories like this bum me out because there is no shortage of job opportunities for business students, so it seems unfair for cis, straight students to jump into the LGBT pool just to see what they can get out of it. Feels a lot like white students applying for POC scholarships because “reverse racism!!!”.
What do you think?