Should you go to the NBMBAA Conference?
While the National Black MBA Associate (NBMBAA) does offer a FAQs page, the answers provide little insight on whether you should actually attend the Career Fair that typically takes place the last week in September every year. So, here is some guidance.
Who can attend the conference?
While the association was originally started to increase job opportunities for minorities, and this objective is certainly still a priority, the conference is open to virtually anyone who is willing to pay the attendance fee. The diversity of attendees at the ‘diversity conference’ has certainly been widespread for many years.
Who is the conference relevant for?
As noted in the association’s name, the conference does have a focus on a) MBA Careers and b) Job Opportunities for African American candidates. With that said, the magnitude of attendees (thousands) has expanded employers’ goal at the event from ‘MBA Diversity Recruiting’ to ‘MBA Diversity Recruiting AND a major event for all MBA (and sometimes MS & undergrad) recruiting at large’. The NBMBAA Conference is likely the largest annual event where an MBA candidate can be in the same place at the same time as the most MBA employers/recruiters in the world (I mean it, the entire world). As such, the event is definitely ‘relevant’ for any MBA candidate who’d like to get a job at a large MBA employing company.
Who is the conference MOST relevant for?
As is true with most things in MBA life, MBA students are constantly making choices to attend one thing over another thing. So, things you should consider include a) what companies recruit at your school, b) how many companies attending NBMBAA sponsor visas (if you’re an international), c) what’s the cost/benefit of your time and money being spent elsewhere – academics, on-campus recruiting, new MBA friends, student life, etc., d) what industry and size company do you want to work at? To provide some direction — If you know you want to work at one (or several) of the companies attending the conference and these companies do not come to your school, it’s probably worth attending, but it still really depends on how you value your time because it can be a total toss-up on whether the conference actually leads to a job offer.
Need more guidance? We’ll try to make it simple-er (recruiting is always a lot of work):
· If you’re attending a top 10 / top 15 MBA program and want to work in consulting: Probably don’t go to the conference. Not all of the major consulting firms go to the conference, but they do go to campuses at their core schools
· If you’re an international student: Maybe go. Try to determine how many companies attending the event sponsor visa. From our experience, less than 1/3 of companies attending the event will sponsor, but that’s still a sizable population
· If you’re attending a top 10 / top 15 MBA program and not sure where you want to work: This one’s a toss-up. Many companies come to your school, but not every company attending NBMBAA goes to your school. Plus, job offers from NBMBAA happen on an earlier timeline, so if you want the potential to get an early offer, that’s a good reason to go to the event. Many industries are represented at the conference — CPG, Tech, Fiance, Consulting, Retail, Manufacturing, etc.
· If you want to work at a small company: Don’t go. By in large, smaller companies (less than a thousand employees) don’t go to the conference
· If you’re attending an MBA program that’s ranked 20 – 100: You should probably go. Less companies come to your campus, so this event is an opportunity to get in front of them.
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