Berkeley MBA Student Wins LGBT Competition

Khuram Hussain, MBA 10, had layoffs in mind when he wrote "The L-Word," the winning case in this year's Reaching Out Case Writing Competition.

Hussain will be recognized for his efforts at the 2009 Reaching Out Conference, an annual conference for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) MBA students, in Atlanta in October.

Hussain's case, titled "The L-Word," deals with the complexity of layoff decisions during an acquisition in the financial services sector when one employee who the firm is considering laying off has been a vital part of the firm's LGBT efforts.

"The case was extremely topical considering the impending economic crisis and the consolidation within the financial services industry," says Hussain, who drew from his own experience in the financial services sector.

Hussain received a $1,500 research stipend for reaching competition milestones and was then awarded a $3,500 scholarship for writing the winning case. He bested six competitors, those from other MBA programs, in blind judging by industry experts and academics. Cases were judged on criteria that included relevance to current LGBT issues, significance of the issues analyzed, and educational value of the case.

Faculty, PhD candidates, students, and alumni from MBA programs worldwide were invited to research and write an original business case for this year's competition. The case-writing competition was added as a component of the Reaching Out conference in 2006 to expand on the pool of MBA-level business school cases which address contemporary LGBT issues. The best of the submissions become part of the Reaching Out Case Library.