During my tenure as a student of the Florida A&M University – School of Business MBA Program, I learned at a vital stage of my academic career the importance of continued networking. We were required to complete three internships prior to graduation, so the vast experience, perks and knowledge we received came in many lessons and opportunities outside of our daily duties working within some of the top companies in the United States and Worldwide.
One of the many perks, in my opinion, was the ability to attend the National Black MBA Conference each year, commencing my third year of the five year program. I can admit my attendance was not 100 percent fueled by a desire to network in its “traditional” sense, however, I also recognized the benefits of being able to make introductions to some very talented individuals in the business sector while enjoying festivities at a Biz Markie party.
With professional friends in medicine, law, business, the arts, journalism and science, one thing we all share is continued attendance to many conferences hosted by numerous professional organizations. Conferences such as the Corporate Counsel of Women of Color and K&L Gates LLP Career Strategies Conference, The National Association of Black Journalists Annual Convention and Career Fair, Black Entertainment and Sports Law Association Conference, The National Medical Association Annual Convention and Scientific Assembly and The National Black MBA Association Conference exist to benefit those currently working in said professions, as well as those looking to make an entrance to those fields.
This week The National Black MBA Association Conference is being held in Indianapolis, Indiana and will host thousands of attendees and participants looking to connect with other like-minded individuals for networking, partying and job seeking. Derrick Bryant, President of the National Black MBA Association New York Chapter, believes these conferences offer young professionals many benefits to assist with their career journey. “Each year the NBMBAA hosts its annual conference and offers benefits to young professionals such as, access to Fortune 500 Companies and their decision makers, networking opportunities with other professionals, mentoring opportunities, professional development, entrepreneur seminars, career fairs and the opportunity to join NBMBAA committees in an effort to learn new skill sets in leadership, marketing, public relations, web design and financial management.”
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Mr. Bryant also noted that introductions to local chapters, and continued support on the local level after said conferences, can open doors to additional opportunities. Currently the New York Chapter of NBMBAA has the following events in its pipeline:
Exclusive career night event with GE Capital
Capital One networking event
AXA seminar: “Strategies for Recovery: Getting Your Financial house in Order”
NYU seminar: Preparing for the NBMBAA Conference
BBH (Brown Brothers Harriman) career night event and its Annual Gala/Scholarship Reception
Additionally, The National Association of Black Journalists welcomes journalists, media executives, public relations professionals and students to their Annual Convention and Career Fair every year to network, participate in professional development sessions and celebrate excellence in journalism, while the NMA Annual Convention & Scientific Assembly offers an exciting venue to interact with the largest spectrum of African American physicians, academicians and scientists in the country as well as other allied health professionals.
As young professionals and entrepreneurs, it is important to consider and implement numerous networking strategies into our career campaigns in order to keep up with what’s new in any particular industry, along with introductions to the movers and shakers who make high leveled decisions. Though every individual’s motivations for attending said conferences may not be identical, there have always been surprise relationships developed and fostered from meeting new peers who may be able to assist you within your pursuits of success, no matter the career path.
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Rashida Maples, Esq. is Founder and Managing Partner of J. Maples & Associates (www.jmaplesandassociates.com). She has practiced Entertainment, Real Estate and Small Business Law for 9 years, handling both transactional and litigation matters. Her clients include R&B Artists Bilal and Olivia, NFL Superstar Ray Lewis, Fashion Powerhouse Harlem’s Fashion Row and Hirschfeld Properties, LLC.