The first annual OUBC was held in the fall of 2004 at Cornell University. Mark Mitchell and Justine Suh, two MBA students at Cornell’s Johnson School of Business, were inspired to begin a conference exclusively for LGBT undergraduates interested in pursuing careers in management consulting and investment banking, both industries that had historically been perceived to be less friendly to LGBT students.
After a successful first event at Cornell with approximately 70 student attendees and seven corporate sponsors, the conference moved to New York City. In the next few years as the conference grew, the event was held at NYU’s Stern School of Business and at Lehman Brothers. By 2007, the largest Wall Street banks and top management consulting firms sponsored the conference and greater than 50% of student attendees were awarded full merit scholarships to attend the conference.
As the global financial crisis arrived in the fall of 2008, OUBC withstood its most serious test yet. Two weeks before the annual conference, the host sponsor declared bankruptcy and was unable to serve as the host. With students and sponsors alike concerned about the viability of the event, organizers moved quickly to relocate. J.P. Morgan and McKinsey & Company became Host Sponsors and assured the success of OUBC. Through the hard work and dedication of volunteer organizers and the conference’s leading sponsors, the event was a success in a time of uncertainty and change.
Since the depths of the recession, the organization has grown and prospered. The OUBC now has 250 student attendees from over 73 schools and over 25 corporate sponsors. Nearly all students receive merit scholarships covering the cost of travel, lodging and food.
In 2012, the organization put on the first ever Out for Undergrad Technology Conference. Hosted at Facebook’s headquarters in Silicon Valley, the OUTC was built on the same successful model as the OUBC but with many of the world’s leading technology companies and hottest start-ups as sponsors. Feedback was very positive and the OUTC is set to become an annual tradition, expanding the OUBC model and community to the West Coast.
The Out for Undergrad Business Conference is a 501(c)3 registered in New York state.