Beads & Business Suits at NBMBA in NOLA
Published: Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Updated: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 11:09
What do Mardi Gras beads and business suits have in common? Nothing, unless you are referring to the 31st Annual National Black MBA Conference that was recently held in New Orleans, LA. Over 40 first and second year AHBBS members flew down to "The Big Easy" in pursuit of possible job opportunities and new connections with fellow graduate business students from across the nation.
Even though the National Black MBA Association was established in 1970 for the purpose of strengthening the economic vitality of the black community, individuals from all different races, cultures, and backgrounds were welcomed and in attendance at this year's conference. The conference included sessions that featured notable speakers such as journalist Roland Martin, and entrepreneur and winner of "The Apprentice", Randal Pinkett. But one of the main attractions of this, and many conventions, was the career fair. The company representation was as diverse as the composition of conference attendees. For students interested in the financial industry, companies such as Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan were in attendance. There was an abundance of consumer-product goods companies such as Pepsi, Colgate-Palmolive and Johnson and Johnson. But for those students pursuing "non-traditional" industries, companies such as multicultural marketing firm Global Hue, sports network ESPN, and media and entertainment conglomerate The Walt Disney Company, were in attendance as well.
To regroup after a day of intensive job-searching, Stern's own Dean Gary Fraser and Lori Perillo hosted both current students and alumni conference attendees at a reception on Thursday evening at LePhare Lounge. Guests were given a chance to reconnect and recap about the first day of the career fair and the conference in general, while enjoying a lavish spread of seafood, cheeses, and various desserts.
After leaving the Stern-sponsored event, students dispersed to the numerous networking sessions hosted by their given companies of interest. Companies such as advertising agency Ogilvy and Mather held intimate gatherings where attendees listened intently to how the company reacted to the economic downturn. On the other end of the spectrum, Target Corporation held a party that put Stern's weekly Beer Blasts to shame. Partygoers were greeted with the sounds of pioneer DJ Grandmaster Flash, and the readily recognizable bulls-eye projected on all walls of the hotel ballroom. But conference attendees couldn't hang around too long with celebrity actor and comedian Mark Curry (from TV show Hanging with Mr. Cooper), who was in attendance as well, because there was yet another highly anticipated event that had to be attended as well: the famed Diageo party.
Once partygoers navigated (i.e. survived) the massive and chaotic crowd outside the venue, they were greeted with what initially looked like numerous poorly stocked bars. Upon further inspection, it was quickly realized that there would be no non-Diageo brands served at this soiree. So Ciroc, Cuervo, and Jeremiah Weed Sweet Tea Vodka (peach, of course) are just some examples of the drink selections that were in action during the lively evening.
This year's conference was a great way for MBA2s to rev up their search for full time positions, and also for first-years to get a jump-start on hunting for that oh-so-pivotal summer internship. Aside from making strides in the professional arena, attendees were also reunited with individuals from high-school, college, and past jobs, while of course enjoying the lively New Orleans environment.