INSEAD is all about diversity, right? On a campus where no one culture dominates, everyone at INSEAD is a minority in one way or another. Yet ironically, because diversity is so firmly woven into the institution's DNA, not much institutional attention is paid to the specific concerns of individual minorities.
Two exciting developments seek to address this issue for INSEAD's LGBT minority.
First, INSEAD is now offering an "INSEAD Reaching Out Fellowship" through the American organisation ROMBA ("Reaching Out MBA"). INSEAD will make a maximum of one 15,000 Euro award per class to an incoming LGBT leader "who will help INSEAD welcome and celebrate its LGBT community". The award will be paid by INSEAD from its operating budget. Applications are essay-based; so far, one student has received the award.
INSEAD joins a group of 35 leading MBA programs offering the scholarship, including 6 of the top 10 schools in the FT ranking. LBS and University of Toronto's Rotman School are the only other international programs participating in the program.
Secondly, INSEAD has begun raising an endowed LGBTQ+ Scholarship Fund which will grant up to 20,000 Euros to each of up to 2 students per class. According to a member of INSEAD's Advancement team, the scholarship will be open to LGBT students and (notably) allies who have demonstrated strong leadership in the LGBT community. INSEAD has begun soliciting funds from alumni and institutional donors, and aims to raise 1 million Euro by December 2018. The first awards are anticipated for 2019.
In my experience, INSEAD couldn't possibly be more welcoming to minorities in general, sexual or otherwise. That said, don't expect to find a large and vibrant LGBT community with a lot of organized institutional support like at many US schools. INSEAD remains better at celebrating diversity across communities than strong communal identity within them. For this reason, INSEAD has historically not been the first port of call for LGBT students looking to explore their inner-gay.
However, INSEAD has a (cleverly named) LGBT organization, OUTSEAD, which was founded in the 1990's. OUTSEAD is active on campus, and (to varying degrees by country) among alumni. It organizes networking events with the LGBT groups of leading recruiters, and hosts an annual pride celebration which enjoys strong and visible support from the faculty and administration on both campuses, up to and including Dean Mihov.
For "People Like Us" (as Singaporeans call LGBT folks) willing to step out make a difference, there's now scholarship money too - with more coming soon. It's a good time to be fabulous at INSEAD.
Laura Freedman '92D
INSEAD LGBT Scholarships
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