2023 Best & Brightest MBA: Julia Hamilton, London Business School

Julia Hamilton

London Business School

“Sarcastic, loving New Yorker focused on uplifting & advocating for LGBTQ+ people to create positive change.”

Hometown: New York, NY

Fun fact about yourself: So far, I have traveled to 21 countries across North America, South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia – 14 of which I have traveled and backpacked through solo!

Undergraduate School and Degree: Bachelor’s Degree in Law & Society from American University

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Vice President in Operations Risk Management at Goldman Sachs

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on the Equity Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging Team in New York City

Where will you be working after graduation? I have already accepted a full-time role as an Associate Vice President on the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Team at Ares Management. Due to the flexible nature of the LBS MBA, I am fortunate enough to have already been able to begin my role with them, while maintaining my close involvement and continued leadership roles at the School for the rest of the year (as well as my participation in the Global Experience in Medellin, Colombia later this term).

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Community Work and Leadership roles at London Business School during MBA:
    • Out in Business Club Co-President (2022/2023)
    • Vice President on the Allies & Inclusion and Corporate Engagement Teams for the Out in Business Club (2021/2022)
    • Student Ambassador at London Business School (2021-2023)
    • Member of London Business School’s Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging Committee (2022/2023)
    • Reaching Out MBA Fellow
  • Community Work and Leadership roles outside of London Business School during MBA
    • Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA) Student Organizer for the 2022 ROMBA Conference
    • Member of the Ali Forney Center’s Capital Committee for the “Welcome Home” campaign
    • Advisory Board Member for the Ali Forney Center (will hold this role post-MBA as well)

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? The launch of the EUROUT Scholarship! This scholarship was created by the Out in Business Club and is the first-ever scholarship funded and founded by a student club at London Business School. The scholarship will support future LGBTQ+ students, empowering the next generation of LGBTQ+ leaders to receive a world-class education at London Business School.

The scholarship was made possible through the annual EUROUT Conference (hosted and led by the Out in Business Club), and represents how people can come together to create extraordinary change in the world, with incredible thanks to the dedicated work and generous contributions from our Out in Business Executive Committee Team, our EUROUT corporate sponsors, donors, and the London Business School staff. While the scholarship has now launched, we continue to see engagement and support from our corporate sponsors and donors, and it’s wonderful to see the scholarship continue to grow and thrive.

I am so proud of this achievement, as I came to London Business School on a scholarship myself and wanted to find a way to give back and show my appreciation to the communities, friends, and mentors who brought me this far. The EUROUT Scholarship to me means that we as a school support and stand by the LGBTQ+ community globally and that we recognize while everyone deserves access to an incredible education, not everyone is in the fortunate position to afford high-ranking programs like the wonderful graduate degrees offered at London Business School. I am proud to have dedicated my time, energy and resources to laying the foundations for success for the next generation of LGBTQ+ leaders and to give LGBTQ+ people a platform for success to achieve the heights I know they will rise to being.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Co-founding and leading the Pronouns Initiative globally at Goldman Sachs. This achievement profoundly changed my life, personally and professionally, and is a moment I will always be so proud of.

My co-lead, Nick Pesce, and I led a campaign to launch a formal pronouns initiative for all Goldman colleagues globally (~40,000 people in all our offices around the world). This initiative introduced pronouns in email signatures, name-tags, placards to put on desktops in LGBTQ+ Member and Ally versions and more, and also established the creation of a public website dedicated to pronouns to help increase education and awareness more broadly with our clients, investors, and peer firms.

Through this initiative, we also hosted an event to amplify the voices of trans people, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Kate Krasky, who was a panelist for this event and championed a lot of trans advocacy work at the firm. We even had one senior leader, Maeve DuVally, who transitioned after we launched this initiative and has become a leader for trans folks within financial services. I’ve been fortunate to develop great friendships with both Kate and Maeve since the initiative launched and am very grateful for the connections we’ve built, all they have both taught me over the years, and their continued leadership in this space. This initiative showed me the power of DEI work: you can truly change someone’s life by making workplaces more inclusive and welcoming for all people and that is what motivated me to pursue a role in DEI post-MBA. We even saw an increase in the number of openly trans folks who applied for roles at Goldman, so it was an incredible initiative to be a part of and an experience I will always be proud to have been a part of it.

Why did you choose this business school? London Business School has incredible international diversity, and that is what motivated me to join the MBA class here. Growing up in New York was an incredible experience (and yes, I know I’m a bit biased here!), but I felt like I didn’t know enough about the world on a global scale. I only had my small worldview. Of course, there is still much for me to understand about other cultures and countries, but LBS gave me a chance to connect with, and learn from, people all around the world – and that is why I chose this program. Just to give you a sense of the international diversity I’ve been privileged to be a part of, in my first year, I lived with a woman from India, Megha Jose, and a guy from Germany, Max Braeuninger, and my study group has folks from India, South Korea, Colombia, Australia and Canada. This reflects just a bit of the diversity at LBS, and I’m so glad I chose this school!

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Aneeta Rattan, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior. Aneeta also taught my favorite course, so it’s no surprise she would be my favorite professor! Aneeta helped me work on a case study about the work I led at Goldman on pronouns before I even arrived on campus in London, taking a chance on me as someone she didn’t know and hadn’t met in her classroom. Two years later, that work she guided me with has turned into a broader Pronouns Initiative that members of the Out in Business Club, the PROUD (LGBTQ+ Staff Network at LBS) and several other faculty members are currently leading at the school. Aneeta is an exceptional professor and someone who showcases daily what it means to be an ally, and I admire her passion and appreciate her work.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? ‘Diversity Science for Leaders’, taught by Aneeta Rattan. Aneeta embodies what it means to not only teach and engage with students, but what it means to actually provide them with tangible, action-oriented skillsets. That way, they can create the kind of change they want to see in the world and lead in the spirit of LBS’ motto ‘to have a profound impact on the way the world does business, and the way business impacts the world’. It was through this course that we began to put in motion the steps and components required to work on a Pronouns Initiative at LBS, work that spans students, faculty and staff. We’re still working through all the details, but her class is what taught me a lot of the foundational skillsets required for DEI work, and I put those skills to work every day now in my full-time DEI-focused work in New York.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? No surprise here, the annual EUROUT Conference! It’s a cliché, but this conference really is so special in bringing together LGBTQ+ students, leaders, allies, and corporate sponsors for two days of programming and celebrations. The content and discussions that have come out of both conferences I’ve attended during my MBA have been mind-blowing. Plus, having a space for LGBTQ+ people and our allies to gather and share in our collective beauty and diversity has been an outstanding privilege.

This year’s EUROUT was particularly special for me, as my former boss and current Deputy Executive Director for Strategy & Culture at the ACLU – Amber Hikes – was one of our keynote speakers. Amber is undoubtedly one of the people I admire most in this world; to have worked for them, learned from them, grown from all that they have so kindly and thoughtfully shared and taught me, and be in their life is a joy that cannot be adequately expressed in words. It is a privilege to be in their presence, to be part of their life, and I know that their speech at EUROUT was profoundly moving and impactful for everyone, as evidenced by the standing ovation they so rightly received after their keynote. They showed everyone at EUROUT what it means to build community and how to shape organizations that center and amplify the most marginalized. It’s their leadership and vision for a more inclusive and equitable work that inspired and motivated me to pursue the EUROUT scholarship with Out in Business Co-President Cameron Martin and the Out in Business Club, in the belief that justice can prevail and work towards social change that can last a lifetime.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? Spend more time with my MBA classmates. During my MBA, I was extremely focused on continuing the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion work I had led at Goldman, so I was very involved in different DEI initiatives at the school and worked part-time at two DEI consulting firms during my MBA. I don’t regret doing this work or the decisions I made, but there are only so many hours in the day. Looking back, I didn’t spend as much time with my classmates on treks, trips and dinners as I now wished I had. At the time, it felt so important to continue advocating for change, but a big part of an MBA is building and fostering new relationships, and I didn’t take full advantage of the time I had with these wonderful humans. I have met some incredible people during my MBA, particularly within my own class, and I wish I had made more time for them during the program.

What is the biggest myth about your school? I think LBS has a reputation, as many business schools do, that it’s very “finance” and “quant” heavy or focused. While I worked in financial services prior to my MBA, my roles were within Operations and Risk Management, so I didn’t have the finance background and knowledge many of my classmates have. I felt a bit insecure entering the class as I thought I would be a fish-out-of-water and would struggle to keep up with the coursework and find my path for success at LBS. Looking back, I see now this was more a stereotype in my head and not the reality of my experiences. My core courses did focus on the necessary financial skillsets that all leading MBA degrees require (e.g., economics, finance, data analysis, accounting, etc.). However, I was able to create my own path and take courses and pursue experiences more relevant to my career journey in DEI, and a lot of Organizational Behavior classes taught me so much that I now apply in my full-time job.

What did you love most about your business school’s town?  Being in a dynamic, thriving and truly international city. I grew up in New York, so I’m no stranger to the “big city” life. In fact, it’s something I love about both New York and London. But London showcased a diversity of cultures, experiences, and nationalities I had never before witnessed. Walking down the street on my way to school, I would hear people speaking all kinds of different languages; I had newfound easy access to travel more parts of the world due to London’s unique position as being central to visiting Europe, North America, Africa and other continents. I loved learning about other cultures, trying new foods and opening myself up to different experiences. London also has a strong LGBTQ+ community and spaces for queer people to be in, and that was important to me in choosing a business school and something I loved about spending time in London.

What surprised you the most about business school? Coming from a very competitive environment in financial services, I thought that an MBA program would be similar. This is especially true given that many of us are applying for the same summer internship programs and full-time roles and there are only so many spots that can be filled at organizations. I was surprised to find that, in my own experiences, there was really no competition. Rather, students in my class would help prep each other and provide guidance – not just with coursework but also job applications and interview prep. It was really wonderful to witness this cohesive community experience and desire for everyone to succeed – and not this competition with each other that I thought would be prevalent. It’s been great to see these partnerships among students and I am grateful to the help and support I received from my fellow classmates. This was definitely something that surprised me, but in a really good way!

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? It was building relationships with people at London Business School. Selecting a business school is no easy task, as there are many incredible MBA programs around the world and it’s important to realize that as an applicant, you are interviewing the school and learning about its community as much as the school is interviewing you and welcoming you to their community. I spoke to faculty, staff, and current and former LBS students during my application process. This gave me more insight into the school and community I so wanted to be a part of, and I think that created more passion and drive in my application. The insights and wisdom shared with me helped me to see what my path could look like at LBS and those relationships were crucial to my success, both during the MBA application process and throughout my journey at London Business School.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Cameron Martin. Cam is first-and-foremost my friend, but also my co-president for the Out in Business Club, and someone who’s passion and drive for social impact and advocating for the LGBTQ+ community globally I admire. Cam and I turning our dream of launching a scholarship into a reality, with a public launch on March 8, 2023, was a really powerful thing for me to be a part. In addition, his passion and drive for our community and social impact has been wonderful to witness and be a part. We work on our campaign for the scholarship each day and are grateful to the donors who continue supporting us on this journey. The highlight of my MBA was launching this new EUROUT scholarship with him. Cam has supported me in all my goals, personal and professional, and stood by my side in many challenges I have faced. I am grateful to be in his life, and I’m sure many others would join me in sharing that gratitude.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  1. Become a Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer
  2. Start a business focused on addressing and fixing healthcare inequities, specifically centering the needs of women, LGBTQ+ people, disabled folks and people of color. I want to provide marginalized communities with guidance and support in navigating the U.S. healthcare and insurance systems, as there is a huge gap currently that must be addressed by way of offering specific resources and advocates. All people deserve access to an inclusive and equitable healthcare system and the current gap places a massive and unjust emotional, financial and physical burden on these communities – these folks deserve much better than they are currently given, and I want to build an organization that will center and amplify their voices and give them the treatments and services that all humans deserve.

What made Julia such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?

“I first met Julia on the MBA2023 Away Day, which took place in Orientation week in August 2021. I was immediately taken by her confidence and easy manner, and she caught my eye as someone I thought I’d see and hear more of – and I was not wrong!

Julia came to London Business School with very clear objectives and a focus and passion that is hugely admirable. She is strongly principled, but equally open to listening and learning. In a class of more than 500 people, it is essential to both be able to stand out, but also fit in with others – and Julia has managed to do both these things. Her commitment to enhancing the experience for LGBTQ+ members of our school community is second to none, and she does this while working with allies and bringing everyone along with her.

I was so thrilled to learn of the success that she, along with her co-President of Out In Business, has had in launching a sustainable scholarship for the LGBTQ+ community at the School. As a School known for its diversity, it takes the efforts and passion of students like Julia to ensure we can be truly inclusive, and create and maintain a thriving learning environment in which all members of our community have the opportunity to succeed.”

Helen Foley
MBA Program Director
London Business School


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