Below are thoughts on this year’s National Black Conference held in Indianapolis. 1st and 2nd year MBA students came back from the conference this year not only with internship and full-time offers, but stronger corporate connections overall.
Leena Murthy: MBA/MPH 2014
On the first day of the conference, I showed up 1.5 hours early so that I didn’t get stuck in the long registration line; in retrospect, being that early was probably a little excessive. In any case, I had plenty of time to grab some breakfast and mentally prepare myself for questions from the recruiters. Luckily, Goizueta has a FANTASTIC Career Management Center (CMC) that offered the 60+ Emory students at the conference plenty of preparation! In the weeks leading up to the conference, the CMC had already conducted several mock interviews, a mock career fair, resume/cover letter reviews, and general interview preparation. We were definitely prepared to impress the recruiters at NBMBAA! Overall, the two days that I spent at the conference turned out to be a great success! I talked to all of the companies that I was targeting (and a few companies I learned about there) and made connections with the recruiters to keep in touch until they came to Emory for on-campus recruiting. Thanks to the CMC, I felt prepared for all of the questions that were asked by recruiters and company representatives.
Besides all of the networking and professionalism, I still had some spare time to spend with my classmates and peers. Some conference highlights include:
- Ending each day by grabbing a “swag” bag and walking around to the various booths to pick up some goodies
- Visting booths for companies like Coke, which were giving away little cups of soda, or Marriott Hotels, which had massage chairs set up for recruiters and MBAs
- Exploring downtown Indianapolis with my classmates and visiting some amazing restaurants/bars (including a dueling piano bar)
- Meeting students from other top MBA programs and sharing our experiences at school and the conference
As I mentioned, attending the NBMBAA conference was a great experience and I would urge any MBA to take advantage of the opportunity and go next year!
Raymond Armstead, Jr: MBA 2014
From September 26, through September 29, I attended the 34th annual National Black MBA Association Conference (also known as “National Black”). This years conference was located in Indianapolis, Indiana. For me, National Black provided a rare opportunity for me to
1. Meet new people from other schools and network
2. Reconnect with people I met at Consortium OP this past June
3. Connect with other bankers at the Wall Street forum (a crucial step in the investment banking internship search)
4. Interviewing with other companies and perfecting my interviewing skills
I was not alone as I was joined by many of my classmates from Emory and yes, we represented the program well. Goizueta even had a booth not only for us, but for prospective students as well.
Needless to say, the first years and second years used the space to sit down, relax, write thank you notes, and keep the CMC staff informed of everything that was going on from their side.
When I reconnected with my Consortium friends, the message was clear: school is hard, school is hard, school is hard! Well, at least for the first semester. I exchanged several stories with folks about how this first semester kept me up very late at night, how I usually don’t get any sleep, how I almost collapsed in the hallway one day due to lack of sleep, and other near-embarrassing stories. The funny part is, EVERYONE had a similar story! My Consortium folks felt my pain and even comforted me.
Personally, I think the highlight of my experience at National Black occurred after the Wall Street forum. I was at the forum reception, and I made a strong connection with one of the bankers. I told him about my interest in the field and how I came from a tech background and although I want to go into M&A, where I can experience deals and transactions across a variety of industries (and to establish breadth), I want to eventually make my way to a technology, media, and telecom industry group. After doing my research, I felt most at home with this group and this is where I feel I would make the most immediate impact. He asked for my resume on the spot!
I also used this time to prepare for my eventual banking interviews by interviewing with other companies. This was the perfect time for me to assess how well I was doing with my STAR (Situation Task Action Result) stories and technical questions, and my ability to ask insightful questions during an interview. So far, so good, but there’s definitely more room for improvement. For example, I need to do a better job of making sure that my answers are more concise. I also need to do a better job making sure that, when it comes to technical questions, I stand by my answers, whether right or wrong. And if I’m wrong, have the courage to ask the interviewer “well how would you do this at X company?” One of the companies I interviewed with had a very interesting way of logging its accounting entries, which threw me off. It also didn’t help that I just started accounting in block two and no, I didn’t ask that question from above. Rest assured, I will do that in the future. Finally, I learned that I need to do a better job preparing for the most random questions at any time. For that, I asked some of my friends to ask me random interview questions whenever they see me. No question is off limits, as long as it’s an interview question. The goal is to answer quickly, concisely, and correctly while not hesitating and thinking of the answer.
After reconnecting with everyone, practicing my interviews, and networking with the banks, it was time to have some fun! One thing I can tell you, is that Diageo sure knows how to throw parties! If you don’t know what Diageo is, look them up. I am pretty sure that you have used one at least ONE of Diageo’s products… Especially if you’re over 21. We even had a special guest performance by…
NAS! I didn’t take the best pictures, and I wish I could upload the video from my phone because it definitely has better quality. Anyway, the Diageo party was a great way to kick off my birthday weekend.
But that’s another blog entry!
—This post can also be found on Raymond’s personal blog: The Relocated Yankee
Bin Cai: MBA 2014, International Student (China)
Just landed, feeling so eager to open my computer and write down these memories. National Black! I nailed it! We got great support from the career management center – resume, cover letter, elevator speech, interview questions… Everything turned out well. When I arrived, I met many of my Goizueta MBA classmates! I was encouraged by them as well. I shared my experience with recruiters and representatives. When I talked about my past experience with chemicals and automotive, I looked into those people’s eyes. They smiled and gave me great feedback! I got the gut feeling that I am well on track! Be persistent! I see my improvement every day! Exhaustive day, isn’t it? But I like it! I will consistently pursue my career aspiration through such networking events! Thanks to NBMBAA and employers! Thanks to my dear classmates who supported me all the way! Love you guys!
—Bin @ Atlanta Airport, 9/30, 6:30 PM
Ricardo Accioly: MBA 2014, International Student (Brazil)
Last weekend I participated at the National Black MBA Conference. It was my first time in this type of event, a Career Fair. I’m from Brazil and I’m pretty sure we don’t have anything like this, so I decided to write a few topics of tips before going to the event.
1 – You need to be prepared for everything. I was passing by the IBM booth when suddenly a recruiter started talking to me. I was not prepared and I had just arrived at the conference. It was an awkward conversation.
2- You need to know the answer for “Why company XYZ?”. Almost all conversations I had the recruiter asked me why I wanted to work there. Since I started by going to companies I didn’t want, it helped me prepare for my target companies.
3- Don’t be the first of your peers to go to a booth if you didn’t do your homework to prepare for the conference. Well, this is a trick one, because if you take your time to go, you might loose a spot for a interview, but if you wait you can get tips with your friends on which recruiter they talked to and what they asked. That way you can do some research and go talk when you are prepared.
Those are my tips for the conference. Looking back I think it was a great opportunity to interact with recruiters and to understand more how the process of getting a job in the USA works. It also helped me practice my resume walkthrough, my STAR stories and to give me more confidence for the next ones.
Although I didn’t get an interview or an offer, though many of my classmates did I made great contacts and am already continuing the talk through emails. I definitely recommend MBA Students to participate in events like this, but be prepared.