Over the weekend, the National Association of Asian MBAs (NAAMBA) had their 3rd annual conference in New York, NY. I went, as did a few of my first year cohorts. Most (if not all) of us were experiencing our first national MBA conference.
There are a handful of large MBA conferences each year. In addition to NAAMBA, the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA) hosts a conference, as does the National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA). While each of these conferences targets a specific demographic, everyone is welcomed and encouraged to attend. You do not have to be Asian to attend NAAMBA, just like you do not have to be Hispanic to attend NSHMBA. Two other conferences worth noting are the National Association of Women MBAs (NAWMBA) and the Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA) conference, which targets members of the LGBT community.
National conferences are a great way for MBAs to round out their business school education through workshops, company presentations, and career coaching opportunities. Each conference also features a career expo where students can begin networking for internships and full time jobs. Summer internships are an important part of business school. They allow students to test drive a career and make adjustments to their career paths.
Many companies attend multiple conferences, so there are usually a few chances to get face time with a recruiter at the national conferences. Unfortunately for time-strapped MBA candidates, the conferences happen in the early fall, when many of us are still trying to keep our class schedules straight.
Thankfully, some of our pre-term work included “Smith-ifying” our resumes with career coaches and developing a personal career strategy project. Without the pre-term career strategy work, I may not have been as confident during my talks with recruiters (I talked to people from PepsiCo, AT&T, and US Airways, but there were plenty more).
You will hear more about national MBA conferences as you approach the beginning of your first year of business school. In the mean time, I’d recommend thinking about where you want to be after business school. I know it seems far off, but if the first two weeks of business school have taught me anything, they have taught me that MBA programs move fast!