Alex Cottrell ’20 joined more than 300 LGBTQ+ undergraduates at the 12th annual Out for Undergrad (O4U) conference hosted by Goldman Sachs this semester in New York City. The weekend-long professional program brought together LGBTQ+ students to explore careers in financial services, management consulting and professional services.
“This experience helped increase my knowledge of the industry,” says Cottrell, who is studying economics and classics. “I applied to the conference knowing I was going into finance, but I did not know exactly what that entailed. I was able to learn more about specific industries and ways to get my foot in the door, as well as tips to make myself a competitive applicant for internships.”
O4U takes place four times a year with the objective to educate, inspire and advance LGBTQ+ undergraduates in their future careers. Launched in 2003, the conference has made strides in establishing pathways to leadership in the LGBTQ+ community. Notable sponsors of the event include: J.P. Morgan, Accenture, Capital One, Morgan Stanley and PWC.
During the conference, students participated in networking events where they met with mentors who currently hold jobs in the finance industry. The weekend included an address by Julie Harris, a managing director in the Goldman Sachs’ operations division, as well as panel discussions on gender diversity, industry-specific breakout sessions and a case competition.
“I want to be able to talk about my weekend and not cover my identity, so this opportunity helped solidify that the companies at this conference are LGBTQ+ friendly and that I am able to feel welcome and invited in those spaces,” Cottrell says.
Anyone on the LGBTQ+ spectrum is able to apply to the conference, regardless of their area of study. To learn more about the Out for Undergrad conference, visit its website here.