Recruiting, Networking & Learning: Reflections on the 2022 National Black MBA Conference
Upon becoming an MBA candidate, the opportunities available to you at diversity career fairs are well known. Typically, these fairs occur during the fall semesters at the beginning of one’s MBA journey. Students have the chance to meet and interview with Fortune 500 companies such as Google, Coca-Cola, and Wal-Mart to name a few. I was especially privileged to attend the National Black MBA Conference in my university’s (Goizueta Business School) hometown of Atlanta, Georgia, and as my cohort’s National Black Scholar.
I came through the doors of one the largest and most widely known MBA career conferences with a bit of a different perspective than most students. The morning prior, I had signed my full-time offer with Microsoft Corporation and was able to attend the conference for free as a National Black Scholar. The pressure of appearance, outcome results, and investment were lifted, and I was excited to simply learn as much as possible. I was especially interested in helping my first-year classmates with their recruiting efforts, attending informative panel discussions, and chatting with recruiters without motive to secure an interview.
As I watched the journey of first years asking for advice prior to the conference, to seeing them impeccably dressed and practicing their elevator pitches during the event at the Emory booth, to rejoicing with the news that they received an interview request from their top companies, I was overjoyed. I was thrilled with the opportunity to share resources I used from my previous year and give pep talks when those pesky self-doubting thoughts randomly pop up. My iPad served as placeholder for those who misplaced paper copies of their resume and my hospitality skills were useful when guiding students to booths and introducing them to recruiters. I was happy to be able to be in a position to be able to lead by serving.
Typically, the conversation with recruiters is one that could be anxiety-inducing. However, considering I was not recruiting, I was able to meet and chat with them on a personal level. I learned about their priorities as a recruiter, what they enjoyed or disliked about their company, and even recruited some of them to pursue an MBA. The most worthwhile moment was running into my former employer’s booth, MGM Resorts International. There I was able to reconnect with some familiar faces from such a pivotal time in my life. I even ran into a friend who completed the MGM undergraduate rotational program with me that I had not seen in years. We were asked to give feedback and reflections (a favorite pastime for Goizueta) about our time in Las Vegas. It was such a memorable, rewarding, and unexpected moment that the National Black MBA Conference was able to provide.
My favorite part of the conference was being able to attend three panels: NBMBAA Entrepreneurial Institute: Creating Generational Wealth through Real Estate, The Black Tech Experience: The Crossroads Between Intersectionality and Modern Tech and Meet the Experts: Google. These sessions opened my mind up to real estate possibilities I never heard of and allowed me to speak with distinguished and accomplished individuals who looked like my family. I took copious notes and look forward to using the insights gained to forge a future I can be proud of.
The National Black MBA Conference displayed its slogan, “A Promise Kept,” throughout the Georgia World Congress Center. This reminded me of the motto I adopted as my own philosophy in the second year of business school, “lifting as we climb,” which comes from the following quote:
“And so, lifting as we climb, onward and upward we go, struggling and striving, and hoping that the buds and blossoms of our desires will burst into glorious fruition ‘ere long…with a keen sense of the responsibility which we shall continue to assume, we look forward to a future large with promise and hope.” – Mary Church Terrell, American civil rights activist
The National Black MBA Conference fulfilled on its promise of job creation and advancement, relevant programming, and resources, and allowed me to engage with NBMBAA members and Corporate Partners. It also allowed me to continue my trajectory to lift as I climb.