1st Year and 2nd Year Eller MBA students suited up and practiced their elevator pitches for the National Black MBA Association’s Annual Conference in New Orleans in mid October. This conference offered MBA students not only the opportunity to connect with national companies ranging from American Airlines to Google to Henkel to Accenture but also the opportunity to determine which career pathways might be of most interest to them.
The NBMBAA Conference exposed 1st and 2nd Year students to different potential career pathways in operations, marketing, technology, finance and more in the forms of internships, full-time positions and insightful expert sessions. Through the course of the conference, students spoke with various recruiters and attended networking events to expand their professional ties.
2nd Year MBA student, Tiernay Marsh, reflects back on her experience at the conference. “NBMBAA is a great opportunity to not only connect with recruiters from exciting, innovative companies, but it also offers a fantastic way to practice important networking skills.” Conferences such as NBMBAA enable Eller MBA students to leverage many of the skills they learn in the classroom such as elevator pitches and networking strategies and apply these skills in a professional environment.
Networking is one of the core components of these conferences but networking entails preparing before the conference by doing the necessary research for interested positions and companies and understanding what is the best way to maximize the limited time at the conferences. “Something I wish I had done, in retrospect, was to plan out my days at the conference with a bit more structure. It is very important to have applied for the most interesting positions in advance, and to generally know what companies are looking for,” Marsh says. With over 200 companies at the NBMBAA conference, many professionals, students and faculty believe proper networking strategy formation is key. Preparation before and during the conference can assist in organizing one’s schedule and prioritizing how one approaches different networking situations, interviews and company booths at the conference.
“Spend the first hour getting your jitters out,” Marsh advises, “When your confidence is up, jump into talks with your favorite companies. Try to target 2-3 solid connections for each company, and 4-6 companies; look to score interviews in this time.” As March highlights, the first day of the career exposition at the NBMBAA conference for MBA students is dedicated to educating oneself’s about the various companies in attendance, establishing initial relationships with companies of interest and attending networking events held in the evenings. Day two enables students to interview with particular companies, strengthen ties and have a clearer understanding of different career opportunities and pathways.
The National Black MBA Conference was a success for Eller MBA students to engage with a wide array of different companies, network with professionals and leverage their skillsets in a real world networking environment.