As Pride month in the UK gets going, we ask how an MBA experience can support themes of inclusion, diversity and belonging.
For those embarking on an MBA the values of inclusion and diversity are ever more important, both across a modern business school environment, but also into the global workplace as well. For those looking to find the right fit in their future career, inclusive activities and initiatives offered by companies signal a welcome to all sectors and backgrounds in the company community and culture.
“Cambridge Judge Business School has been committed for many years to diversity in our community and our work – the Cambridge MBA delivers a learning experience which is relevant, modern and designed to give students the skills and confidence to seek and lead change”.
Dr Jane Davies, Director of the MBA Programme and Senior Faculty in Management Practice, officially launched Pride@CJBS earlier this year.
“We champion equality in business through a wide lens: gender, race, religion, sexual orientation and more, and Pride@CJBS will be an important group to further highlight and make progress in this regard.”
A student led group for the LGBTQ+ community at the Business School: its Chair Tian Tan, from the MBA Class of 2018, explains what it means to foster this special interest group further.
“We were excited to launch this student-led LGBTQ+ group at the School – Pride@CJBS. It’s a proud moment for our founding members as well as the Cambridge MBA cohort. We strive for promoting and celebrating diversity, inclusion, and belonging within the business school and business context.
“This year we will be hosting industry panel discussions as well as company visits. We believe everyone should be able to gain valuable insights through our events, no matter if you are a prospective candidate or alumni, we welcome you to attend.”
Pride@CJBS: a year of inclusive events
One such event was a ‘Fireside chat’ with guest speaker Martin Stead, CEO of Nutmeg, the largest online wealth manager in Europe. Martin was himself an alumnus of the University of Cambridge and was delighted to be a key part of the inaugural events to mark the origins of the club and to support the LGBTQ+ community as a whole in business school.
Martin Stead is a Financial Times LGBTQ+ Top 100 Executive. Before fintech Martin worked in the energy and consumer packaged goods sector. At the event Martin talked about Nutmeg’s journey to growth, as well as diversity and inclusion in the workplace and why it mattered to the company, and how the measures adopted at Nutmeg are developed and measured.
Tian Tan goes on to explain his personal reasons for taking a lead role in the student interest group (SIG) and the wider LGBTQ+ community;
“Growing up in China, it’s rather difficult to engage in LGBTQ+ community activities. Personality I’ve always felt detachment from my community and the cause. When I was applying for my Cambridge MBA, I was encouraged to learn that the School was supporting this effort by launching a scholarship. I felt this would be a great chance for me to give back and achieve meaningful impact at Cambridge.”
“Launching Pride@CJBS offers a valuable experience for me, from welcoming the Head of Pride@BCG (Boston Consulting Group) to meeting industry leaders prominent in this sector; I am also enormously lucky to be working alongside a great cohort, becoming friends and being connected by a common vision. Developing these events and supporting this community will definitely boost my confidence in engaging more in LGBTQ+ activities in my future place of work”.
LGBTQ+ Scholarship and fostering diversity
Amy Duckworth, Head of MBA Recruitment and Admissions talks about the official LGBTQ+ scholarship for the Cambridge MBA programme.
“We launched the LGBTQ+ scholarship two years ago in order to attract students who felt motivated to drive acceptance of this community in business”.
“We help students to nurture a set of positive behaviours – to be respectful, self-reflective, creative, curious, and importantly, authentic. We want each student to feel they can be themselves. We also want them to foster this collaborative and inclusive culture into the workplaces they encounter on their lifelong career journey”, continues Amy.
Andrei Starkov, who received this scholarship award, shares his insights for the role of the LGBTQ+ scholarship awarded at the outset for Cambridge MBA Class of 2018/19.
“I have always been passionate about diversity and equality because of my personal background. LGBTQ+ awareness plays an important role in the workplace and I strongly believe that modern organisations can no longer afford to ignore these issues. The fact that Cambridge Judge Business School has such a scholarship positions the Cambridge MBA as a progressive programme. I am keen to increase organisations’ understanding of inclusive work environments during my MBA journey.”
Looking further into the future, we caught up with the LGBTQ+ scholarship recipient for the next class, Simon Schwartz, to hear about his hopes for the coming Cambridge MBA year:
“I want to drive awareness of the community, creating more outreach between the MBA programme and the wider community, for example. While the Cambridge MBA cohort is relatively small, that doesn’t mean that we cannot have a large impact on our community and Cambridge as a whole.
“Through mentorship and empowering people to achieve their goals, I believe we can drive the needle forward for equality of pay and advancement for the LGBTQ+ community. This is something I wish to take beyond the Cambridge MBA and into my professional life post-MBA as well.”
As business schools develop the leaders and CEOs of the future, we can all promote diversity and inclusion as essential values to foster an open and welcoming company culture, and a truly collaborative global workplace.