The organizer of a yearly conference for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students pursuing MBAs is in a huff because entirely too many straight students are attending the event, which includes a recruitment fair.
For example, in addition to having the temerity to show up while failing to be gay, one straight attendee allegedly said “Dude, I’m not gay.” Another allegedly said: “There needs to be less focus on gay stuff at this event.”
According to Kidd, just one out of 15 students from the MBA program at Rice University who showed up at last year’s gay MBA conference in New Orleans was really gay.
That sole gay student thus felt compelled “to go around introducing himself as ‘the actual gay guy,’” Kidd explained to Bloomberg Businessweek.
Kidd also charged that officials at the College of William & Mary’s business school advised students who were attending the conference to skip most of it and just head straight to the job fair.
“It’s largely done by schools who can’t get companies on their campus,” Kidd, who holds an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business and works in the event-organizing industry, told Businessweek.
Chequeta Allen, executive director of career services at William & Mary’s business school, graciously chose to avoid the bait.
“There are recruiters there who are happy to talk to anyone that’s talented,” Allen told Businessweek. “The idea of those groups is to ensure inclusiveness, not to say, ‘We only want LGBT people.’”
In any case, Kidd has said he plans to make it harder for straight job seekers to crash future Reaching Out MBA job fairs.
The exclusion method will be twofold. Would-be attendees will either have to write an essay about why they want to attend the conference or register though the LGBT student groups at their respective schools.
It’s not clear how local LGBT student groups will determine if job seekers are gay enough — or bisexual enough, or transgender enough — to attend.
As Businessweek notes, similar conferences designed for subgroups including black, Asian and Hispanic students have seen their MBA job fairs crashed by outsiders. For example, nearly 40 percent of the job seekers who attended last year’s annual conference of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs weren’t Hispanic.
Manny Gonzalez, the group’s CEO, was far more sanguine about the crossover than Kidd.
“We live in a diverse world, so whether you go to a Fortune 500 company or a midsize business, you’ll be engaged in a diverse workforce,” Gonzalez told Businessweek. “The more exposure as a student you have in these communities, the more you learn.”