In 1970, a group of visionary University of Chicago MBA students came together to birth an organization to assist Blacks entering corporate America, many for the first time. The goal was to make the journey easier. The organization helped those early members navigate and succeed in often unfamiliar and challenging environments, a constant in the organization’s DNA. We are making our mark in the business community one person at a time.
That organization was the National Black MBA Association. The National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA)is the premier business organization serving Black professionals and entrepreneurs. Today, the organization serves high school students to those seeking doctoral degrees as well as professionals and entrepreneurs.
The NBMBAA is dedicated to serving Black professionals at each phase of their career. Membership levels are intentionally designed to tailor the programs, opportunities and connections to where you are in life.
The NBMBAA has a mission and vision that remain the heart of all that we do. The mission of the National Black MBA Association is to lead in the creation of educational, wealth building and growth opportunities for those historically underrepresented throughout their careers as students, entrepreneurs and professionals. Our vision is to empower visionaries intellectually and economically to create a world where diversity and inclusion are universal.
Let me tell you a little bit about our membership. We have approximately 14,000 active members in 40 chapters across the country. In case you were wondering, we have a 49%/51% female to male membership mix. If you were to look at the overall ethnicity picture, you would see that Blacks make up 71% of our organization. The remaining 29% are Asian, Caucasian, other and Hispanic.
Let me pause right here for a moment to share some important information with you. You do not need a master’s degree to join our organization. Yes, you read that correctly. I’m sure you are saying to yourself, “But the name of the organization is the National Black MBA Association?” I know. Don’t have a graduate degree? That’s OK. You possess extensive experience? OK. You’re an entrepreneur? OK. You could qualify as a professional member. The organization has two membership types:
- Professional memberships — Young professional, professional and experienced professional
- Student memberships — High school, undergraduate and graduate students
Back to more member demographic information. Let’s look at age.
- Under 25 — 9%
- 26 to 35 — 33%
- 36 to 45 — 19%
- 46 and older — 39%
Hopefully, this provides some context to who we are as a national organization.
This year we are making history. Sept. 23-25 are the dates for the first NBMBAA Conference & Career Fair: A Virtual Experience. The COVID-19 health pandemic forced the organization to pivot and move from a planned in-person event scheduled to be held in Washington, D.C. to an all online — live and on-demand experience. We put the safety and health of our members, guests and sponsors first.
This year’s theme is “Celebrating Visionaries.” The 2020 conference will feature Black visionaries who will offer tips and advice necessary to navigate through the “next normal” and more. I hope you are saying, “I want to learn more about this conference.” Confirmed speakers include: Emmanuel Acho, sports analyst and host; Jemele Hill, Emmy Award-winning journalist; Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to former President Barack Obama; Van Jones, former Obama administration official; Dennis Kimbro, Ph.D., CEO of the P. Kimbro Group; Touré, host of the Touré Show; Iyanla Vanzant, New York Times best-selling author; and Malinda Williams, actress and entrepreneur.
Are you seeking employment? Conference participants will have access to over 200 corporate and academic partners. You’ll be able to connect with Fortune 500 companies that are hiring, conducting individual chats, facilitating small group virtual interactions and conducting one-on-one interviews.
The Indianapolis Chapter looks forward to sharing more with you in future columns. Need more information or have questions? Visit nbmbaa.org or nbmbaa-indy.org. Are there topics that you would like to see us cover? Reach out to me at email@example.com.
Starla A. Trigg is the president of the National Black MBA Association, Indianapolis Chapter.