Perspectives: Out For Undergraduate Technology Conference

In this series, our members share posts about attending the Out for Undergraduate Conferences:

As a graduating senior, it can be difficult to settle on just one field to enter when you graduate. Even as a STEM major, the opportunities seem vast: you could be a software engineer, a data scientist, or a product manager. And that’s just in tech. Surprisingly, most of these roles require similar people. When I expressed my interest in databases to one recruiter, I was amused to learn I could be a data engineer. I had not known that role existed.

Enter the Out for Undergraduate Business Conference: It’s a conference for LGBT persons with a focus on the high tech careers. Engineers from Google, Microsoft, Airbnb, and many others gather to teach undergraduate students about opportunities at their companies and share their passions for game-changing technologies. Think comic-con meets high tech careers.

I was surprised that it wasn’t just the companies that were great. All of my peers were fabulous, interesting people who made terrific comments during the training modules. Groups of students took night trips to the Castro district and other riotous hangouts between the conference’s regular programs. As a tech wonk, I was satisfied to meet tons of other college students who similarly care about tech things. You get a roommate for the duration of the conference and I enjoyed getting to know mine.

The technical speakers were informative. I finally feel like I grasped how programming for mobile differs from coding on the web. For example, mobile apps need to worry about interference from the cellular carriers and touch-screen users with small hands. I also learned about what it means to ‘program on the backend’ and attended a career fair.

The conference was great fun and I learned a lot. My only regret is that I didn’t attend the conference earlier in my time at Columbia. In the future, I guess I’ll need to pay the experience forward, and attend the conference as an alumni volunteer!

Then & Now: A CQBS History

If you have been following the Columbia Queer Business Society before the Fall of 2015, you might have immediately noticed that our website has taken an upgrade. This is just one of the many cosmetic and organizational changes the board has making recently in order to better handle the increase in growth and firm interest we have been receiving over the past year.

To provide our members with a little context, the CQBS was founded in 2010, and has since made great strides in creating a safe and informative environment for Columbia undergraduates who identify as LGBT to learn about their professional career options within financial services. We organized panels with “out” professionals from the industry, hosted mixers and networking receptions with ClusterQ, the Columbia Business School’s LGBT organization, and led workshops on “the gay resume,” presentational skills, and the recruitment process. Over the years, we’ve expanded our industry focus to cover consulting and technology. As we enter the new semester, the board is also interested in exploring areas like marketing, community impact, and the public sector.

Today, the Columbia Queer Business Society has reached un-precedented levels of interest from both the undergraduate population and within the professional industry. Excited about the new opportunities this might open up, the CQBS board has a few highly ambitious ideas in mind for this semester. Stay tuned – we’ll release more details when we can!