The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School has launched a new fellowship for LGBTQ students in its full-time MBA program. The new fellowship, which Wharton says is “likely the first of its kind at any business school,” is being called the Prism Fellowship.
The Prism Fellowship will be awarded to one incoming student annually and will cover the full cost of tuition across both years of Wharton’s full-time MBA program. It is being established with a gift from Jeffrey Schoenfeld, a Class of 1984 graduate and a partner at Brown Brothers Harriman.
Schoenfeld said that “As one of very few ‘out’ MBA students entering Wharton in 1982, I truly marvel today at how far LGBTQ recognition and integration have become embraced by the broader business community.”
He added that “I am also mighty proud that Wharton has emerged as a leader in building the most diverse class among leading U.S. business schools, and feel privileged to support LGBTQ student leaders through their MBA journey.”
The first recipient of the fellowship will be Colan Wang, who will join Wharton as part of the Class of 2022.
One of the criteria for receiving the fellowship is leadership on behalf of the LGBTQ community. As part of Wang’s current job as a business consultant for TD Wealth, he is leading a project to improve communication with clients by making sure their preferred names and gender pronouns are used.
Wang said he was “honored to be named the first Prism Fellow at Wharton and excited to join the supportive culture that I experienced first-hand during Wharton’s LGBT Visit Day.”
Like many top business schools, Wharton maintains a number of groups and initiatives designed to support a diverse student body. For example, the student club Out4Biz is intended to support and provide networking opportunities for LGBTQ and allied students.
In the MBA admissions process, schools like Wharton also make efforts to admit diverse classes. Generally, top MBA programs are looking to bring together students who contribute a diverse range of experiences and backgrounds.
In that context, leadership experiences on behalf of underrepresented communities can potentially make an application more compelling.
That’s where using your application to communicate the unique perspective you can bring to a B-school community comes into play. If you’d like personalized feedback on how to do that, feel free to contact us and request a free MBA Application assessment!