By Kim Yuh Sim, MiF Full-time 2023
My name is Kim Yuh Sim, I’m from Malaysia, a current Full-Time Masters in Finance student, and I’m set to graduate in March 2023. I identify as cis-gendered, gay Asian male, and my pronouns are he/him/his. I serve on the Out in Business (OiB) Club committee as Vice President – Finance.
Prior to joining the Masters in Finance (MiF) Programme at LBS, I worked as an Accountant for a reinsurance company based in Dublin for over 5 years and decided to pursue the MiF programme to further develop my finance knowledge. I chose to come to London as it’s a vibrant city with a well-formed LBGTQ+ community, and I hope to find my authentic self over here while exploring the purpose of life for myself.
Being gay doesn’t define me, it’s simply a part of who I truly am. It’s important to me that I can be comfortable being myself and the environment is inclusive, and that I can find a sense of belonging within the community. LBS, the MiF programme and the OiB Club are communities that have never excluded me, and they have formed an important part of my student experience at LBS which means a lot to me.
The Masters in Finance programme at LBS – Experience as a LGBTQ+ member
The MiF is a programme designed for post-experience finance professionals, with students coming from 50+ nationalities and with an average of 6 years of work experience. You will find bright individuals with various professional experiences attending the programme, across many nationalities and industries, and primarily with finance and investment backgrounds. You will not only have the chance to learn technical financial knowledge from them, but more importantly, get to know the people, their cultures, and backgrounds.
My experience as a LGBTQ+ member has been very positive, and I’m delighted to have joined the MiF programme at LBS. Although there can be a relatively small percentage of openly LGBTQ+ members in the programme, you will never find yourself alone or difficult to fit in. Overall, the MiF cohort is not only comprised of finance professionals with deep financial knowledge, but also open-minded individuals with rich international experience. To my knowledge I am the only openly gay individual within the stream, and I’ve never been faced with any difficulties, only great experiences. I feel I fit perfectly well into the class, and I’m thankful to have made a few life-long friends. Studying in a world-ranked business school, a top finance programme, and being able to grow, learn, and work together with an amazing cohort, has been a precious experience for me, and will always be memorable.
Out in Business (OiB) Club
There were a few main factors as to why I chose to study the MiF programme at LBS: location, reputation, diversity, and the OiB Club. As a LGBTQ+ member, it’s extremely important to me that the school provides a supportive and friendly environment for all students, regardless of their nationalities, background, gender identification, or sexual preferences. The main highlight is that LBS embraces and promotes diversity within the community, which is something supported heavily by my beloved club – the Out in Business Club.
The OiB Club plays one of the most important roles in LBS, which is to help promote diversity and inclusion within the LBS community. It’s a club where LGBTQ+ members can find their sense of belonging and meet like-minded individuals both within and beyond LBS via events. One of the first few things I did after I was admitted to the MiF programme was to contact the committee members within the OiB Club. I was excited and passionate to learn more about the club and to be involved in activities as much as possible. I was delighted to have been involved in organising the Rainbow Party and EUROUT events that happened in 2021. With important events like EUROUT, they have become not only a school event, but rather an event bringing together the LGBTQ+ network across the business world. EUROUT is sponsored by top 500 Fortune companies and has connected more than 20 top business schools around the world. Most importantly, it’s organised by the OiB Club and led completely by the LGBTQ+ students and alumni at LBS.
Being gay – Personal experience
Being gay has never been an easy journey for me. But today, I’m happy with WHO I am.
I grew up in a relatively conservative environment. Generally, in Asian families, there are rarely open discussions or education related to sexual orientation and gender identity. Growing up, I’d always thought that a normal relationship meant being with the opposite sex, and my eventual goal should be to have a “normal” family life and to have my own kid(s).
The journey through life has slowly proved what my sexual preference is, and all the struggles eventually came to a point that I needed to be honest to myself, and to recognise that – I am gay.
That was a long and lonely process of self-fighting and self-reflection, that I was too afraid to share with anyone about the real me. I had to deal with it by myself for years and it led to a lot of self-hatred at certain points in my life. All I wanted was to be the same as everyone else, to have a “normal” life and live happily. It had caused me to develop a strong feeling of shame and I felt that I wasn’t worthy of love or anything. Denying and ignoring the real me did not help, and only made my life miserable.
However, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and the first step was accepting WHO I am. I started to reflect on the “normal” life I wanted for myself. “Normal” should not be a term that limits people to the traditionally accepted behaviours or preferences – there is a need to recognise that social norms evolve over time, and we have to be inclusive, rather than categorising preferences or people into groups. After all, I came to London to pursue the ideal life I wanted; I chose to study at LBS to expand my network through meeting open-minded individuals, and to pursue the MiF to make me a well-rounded finance professional, whilst achieving a balance between a professional and personal life.
I’m still on this journey of dealing with trauma and becoming the best version of myself. All my experiences and pain have shaped me to become the person I am today – someone who is truly focused on sincerity, authenticity, and inclusivity.
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