Gay MBAs Should Not Come Out To Corporate Recruiters

by John A. Byrne on

Steve Salbu, dean of Georgia Institute of Technology's Scheller College of Business

Steve Salbu, dean of Georgia Institute of Technology’s Scheller College of Business

The only openly gay dean of a prominent U.S. business school says he would advise MBA graduates not to come out to their prospective employers.

Steve Salbu, dean of Georgia Institute of Technology’s Scheller College of Business, says he believes it is his duty to speak out for openness and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students and professionals.

But when The Wall Street Journal asked him if he would recommend that his students come out to a potential employer, he said, “I don’t think I would. I have the luxury to do it. I’m 56 years old, I would be very happy to stay at Georgia Tech for the rest of my life. I realize I may be turning people off, I realize it may be closing doors.

‘BE VERY STRATEGIC,’ HE ADVISES GAY MBA STUDENTS

“I would tell [students] to be very strategic,” he said in the Journal interview published today (March 7). “I would recommend that students ask questions, at the appropriate time in the interview process, about whether the company has LGBT affinity groups, domestic-partner benefits, an antidiscrimination policy.

“There will be professional advantages and disadvantages to coming out. In my opinion, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Talent is a scarce commodity and if you’re going to attract the best talent, you better be welcoming to people regardless of gender, regardless of ethnicity, regardless of sexual orientation. If you fail to do any of those, you’re artificially constraining the talent pool and you’ll be penalized in the long run.”

PHILOSOPHICAL DIFFERENCES WITH SOME ARE CERTAIN

Asked if there have been negative consequences to his approach, the dean said he is certain that some stakeholders have philosophical differences with him on issues of sexual orientation. “But what I’ve always banked on is that they will respect my freedom of speech in an academic environment and they will separate my personal views from the job I do.

“Any time I have interviewed for positions in higher education, I have always immediately identified myself as openly gay. What I tell them is if this is an issue for you, I will not take offense. But if it’s an issue, it’s not a good fit, so let me know. [Most] people don’t really care. What they want is someone who can do the job really well.”

Poets&Quants’ currently ranks Georgia Tech’s Scheller School, which has just 71 full-time MBA students in its first-year class, as the 40th best MBA program in the U.S. The school’s highest ranking comes from BusinessWeek which last year placed Scheller 23rd among the best U.S. business schools.

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  • JP Smith

    Huh? Shouldn’t the headline be more accurate if it said… Dean: Gay MBAs SHOULD Come Out to Employers… headline completely goes against the article.

  • AIG_Quant

    It’s Georgia what do you expect.

  • Carolyn B

    The original article advised not coming out during an interview, not on the job. Misleading headline.

  • Disappointed Reader

    Wow, it would have been hard to misconstrue his words in your headline choice any more.

    But congrats to you for the pageviews it’ll no doubt generate. Unfortunately they’re likely to be one-offs of people showing up and correcting you rather than enjoying good content and becoming recurring visitors.

  • Scott Sunshine

    Steve,

    I think that who you sleep with, straight or anything else in NO Ones business. It is a shame that black, jewish, gay, latino or any other label other than talented should play at all.
    Chef Scott, NB’75

  • Windowless

    Why is it always about SEX with you breeders? Being gay is not about who you have SEX with but who you LOVE. And unless you are one who thinks it’s completely inappropriate to ever speak at work of one’s husband, wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, or make any other reference to the person with which you share your life with, you’re being ridiculously hypocritical.

  • http://twitter.com/DaveBivens David Bivens

    As I straight man, I certainly hope I am not a breeder. There’s no cure for kids!

  • Anon

    Gay MBAs should not go to Georgetown – that place is AWFUL to be gay.

  • Paul

    Great…let’s all take advice from some guy who doesn’t take offense at people taking issue with him being openly gay. I understand that not everyone in the world respects gay people. That is a fact. But the fact is that he has no pride in who he is if someone taking issue with him being gay does not cause offense. It should cause offense. I don’t plan on taking advice from someone who can’t respect himself.

    His “not a good fit” line is just trying to sweep discrimination under the rug. Bravo for your courage and convictions.

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