NSHMBA conference makes impact on attendees…and vice versa.

Opening day at NSHMBA Conference and Career Expo

When Anand Shah, a student in the Executive MBA (EMBA) program in the college’s Chapman School, was offered a full scholarship to attend the 16th Annual Conference and Career Expo of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA) in 2005, he declined. Instead, he spent the next twelve months preparing to attend the 17th annual event, held October 26-28, 2006 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Working with Barry Shiflett, the college’s director of career services, he honed his resume, refined his interviewing skills, and shaped a vision of his future. He was ready, and yet the experience prompted “a 180-degree change.”

“This was an opportunity that turned my life around,” said Shah, an enterprise architect with Sun Microsystems. “It made me think and realize who I am, and it helped me focus on what I want to do. It was a testing ground for the year long process I had gone through crafting and molding myself.”

Shah was one of eight students—all of whom had to meet stringent criteria established by Shiflett—selected to receive support to attend the conference: three from the EMBA program, three from the International MBA (IMBA), and one each from the Professional MBA (PMBA) and the Master of International Business (MIB).

College’s display at NSHMBA Expo: A corporate visitor meets with M. Angella Williams (BBA ’05)

They were part of an impressive contingent that included Joyce J. Elam, executive dean of the college; José de la Torre, dean of the Chapman School; Luis Casas, director of marketing and recruiting; Ellie Browner, director, student and alumni services; Lourdes Herrero-Matus, Downtown MBA program manager; and Elsie Florido, administrative coordinator, Career Services, who handled many of the complex logistics to ensure the students’ experiences were glitch-free.

Conference combines social events and business opportunities.

Prior to the conference events—which included a trade show with nearly 300 Fortune 500 companies exhibiting, a full array of professional development seminars, networking opportunities, and first-round interviews—the college and Bank of America co-hosted an executive reception and dinner. The event gave students the chance to socialize with potential employers. Elam emceed and introduced the keynoter speaker, Andrés M. de Armas, incentive administration executive, Consumer and Small Business Bank.

On the Expo floor

Mainly Fortune 500 companies populated the exposition space, but the college’s booth was prominently placed: directly across from Bank of America’s, thanks to the partnership.

“I was surprised by the number of people who stopped by to congratulate us on the quality of our students whom they’ve hired in the past,” said Casas, who was attending NSHMBA for the first time. “Many alumni now working at Fortune 500 companies stopped by to tell us how proud they are of their degree and of our presence at the event.”

“Shiflett and Florido did a great job of getting us on the map,” said Browner, who attended for the third year. She sought out alumni, and as a member of the Chapman team, “did whatever possible to work the convention floor to increase our visibility and to support our students.”

“The conference shows people that our alumni can be a true force in the business world,” said Herrero-Matus. As a program manager and a student in the PBMA program, she was able to provide in-depth information about the Chapman School’s offerings. “It’s very positive reinforcement to have companies see you year after year, and we had the chance to meet with representatives from lots of new ones.”

From left: Odile Santos, Javier Casserly, Ruben Salazar, Kazmira Pedonesi, Alexis Aran, Luis Romero and M. Angella Williams

Professional development opportunities prove as important as the job fair.

M. Angella Williams (BBA ’05), human resources director, Crown Wine & Spirits, who, like Shah, will complete the EMBA in 2007, took full advantage of the professional development side of the conference, selecting four sessions.

“Attending these types of conferences helps you build valuable networks and gives you a chance to see what is new in the marketplace and what companies are doing as well,” she said. “Being there helped me see which career path I am on and which I should take.”

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