Inside Imperial College Business School’s LGBTQ+ Business Club |

Inside Imperial College Business School’s LGBTQ+ Business Club

By Niamh Ollerton

Updated February 25, 2021 Updated February 25, 2021

Why are LGBTQ+ clubs important today?

  • They work to meet the needs of the LGBTQ+ community
  • Create inclusive environments
  • Vehicles for change

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are topics that can no longer be ignored in 2021. Business schools, students, and alumni are doing their part to ensure playing fields are levelled and environments are safe and inclusive.

TopMBA spoke with Samantha Tan, MSc in Management student and President of Imperial College Business School’s LGBTQ+ Business Club, to find out more.

From BA to MSc

Samantha Tan Imperial College Business SchoolSamantha studied a bachelor’s in theater practice at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London, before deciding to apply her skills beyond the arts, spending the next one-and-a-half years at IT professional services firm Accenture, where she worked with major public sector and government clients.

Samantha said: “My time at Accenture saw me get involved in the Ally network, Accenture’s LGBT+ network, working with the team to deliver events and champion D&I goals in the workplace.

“Afterwards, I came to Imperial to join the MSc Management class. This was my way of fully committing to a career in the corporate sector, and business acumen and client-facing skills.”

Looking ahead, Samantha says she’d like to make a life for herself in the UK, working her way up the ranks in a management consulting firm. She added: “I also hope to continue channeling my passion for LGBTQ+ rights into greater D&I initiatives at the workplace.”

Working to meet the needs of the LGBTQ+ community

As president of Imperial’s LGBTQ+ Business Club, Samantha works closely with her executive committee to find opportunities for members to meet and network with external corporate partners interested in championing D&I at the workplace.

“[We also] expand the presence of the club within the business school by hosting events that place the needs of the LGBTQ+ community at the center’.

“I try to represent the interests of our club members to continue raising awareness for Diversity & Inclusion issues and topics both within and outside the business school.”

LGBTQ+ Business Club members can unlock networking opportunities with D&I leaders across industries including technology, consulting, and finance.

Across January and February, the club has hosted a series of conversations with individuals from financial data provider Bloomberg, and consultancy firm Kearney to discuss being out in the workplace and with clients.

“Being a member also qualifies you for our flagship mentorship program, where we pair members with alumni mentors to provide career guidance and advice. We also have social events for club members to get to know one another!

“The community aspect is important to the club as we are aware there are many countries with prevailing homophobic attitudes or laws, and therefore it is important that our members can meet and network with others who identify within the LGBTQ+ community.”

Inclusive clubs like Imperial’s LGBTQ+ Career Club are important as diversity is no longer a niche topic, according to Samantha. She said: “There has been a plethora of research showing that diverse and inclusive companies are able to provide more innovative and unique business solutions due to the diversity of thought present in their company.”

Samantha thinks by equalizing the workplace and empowering all employees to bring their most authentic selves to work, empathetic and fulfilling working environments are created which tap in to all the potential that LGBTQ+ experiences bring.

Is enough being done in business and higher education?

The fact that this question is being asked, shows enough isn’t being done says Samantha. She does think that there have been advances year-on-year towards LGBTQ+ acceptance in schools and the workplace but admits that as long as educational and workplace discrimination exists, there is more to do.

Samantha thinks there are two major areas that could do with improvement – firstly, that LGBTQ+ support isn’t just optical.

She said: “I have heard many stories of companies with diversity issues suddenly change their company logo to a rainbow version and voice their support in the lead-up to and during Pride Month.

“I appreciate the increased visibility to the community during Pride, but the more important question is: What are institutions actually doing for LGBTQ+ folk in the other 11 months of the year?”

Samantha also notes that equality and diversity practices are often more heavily concentrated in capital cities. She said: “In London, with a strong LGBT culture concentrated in SoHo, and an international population, it is a relatively easy city to live and work as an openly LGBT individual.

“The same may not be true for other parts of the UK that may lean more conservatively. Friends who grew up in other parts of the UK struggled with being comfortable with their sexuality due to fears of being discriminated or bullied in school. Hence, if we are to truly champion the LGBTQ+ community, it has to be unilateral across the entire nation.”

This article was originally published in February 2021 .

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