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Rutgers Black and Hispanic MBA Association continues to build community for students during pandemic

The Rutgers Business School Black and Hispanic Master of Business Administration Association holds a variety of events depending on students' needs and feedback, and is planning to host different professional workshops and a speaker series in the fall. – Photo by Wikimedia.org

The Rutgers Business School Black and Hispanic Master of Business Administration (MBA) Association is a student-run club that aims to increase the number of underrepresented minorities in the school’s MBA program and in the corporate world by promoting professional networking and social interaction among Black and Hispanic MBA students, Rutgers Business School and the corporate sector.

Selom Adzamli, a recent graduate of Rutgers Business School, MBA candidate and president of the organization, said that before she enrolled in the program, she was interested in joining the Association to promote recruitment and enhance the visibility of diversity within the school.

Adzamli said that the organization started approximately 20 years ago and focuses on getting working business professionals to speak with students in order to promote Black and Latinx representation in the industry and support for students.

“Our mission is just to focus on building a community within Rutgers Business School between Black and Hispanic-Latinx students and faculty advisors in (the school's) community and outside of Rutgers at large,” she said.

The Association typically conducts recruitment events, panels and fireside chats as well as partnered events with other organizations to provide students with internships and full-time job offers, Adzamli said. The events vary depending on student feedback and needs, but this fall, the club plans to host professional workshops and a speaker series to help students improve their interviewing skills.

She said the Association is a great way for students to become involved with the Rutgers Business School and meet people of similar backgrounds within their concentrations while also expanding their professional network.

“I want people to know that this organization is here. We’re very active. We’re sharing a lot of information within our community, so I really encourage people to join,” Adzamli said. “A lot of people go to business school for the networking opportunities, and I know that’s kind of hard virtually right now, but I think the club members are really trying to make the best of it.”

The organization recently hosted a virtual workshop called “Seed-to-Solution: Supply Chain Opportunities in Cannabis” on April 16, which was led by Dasheeda Dawson, a former co-president of the organization, Adzamli said.

On Friday, the MBA Association partnered with The Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (CUEED) to host "Virtual Knight Market," which featured Black and Latinx entrepreneurs and small business owners who have benefitted from CUEED in the past.

“The club is really focused on supporting entrepreneurial-minded students, but we’re … looking to also support the outside entrepreneurial ecosystem,” Adzamli said.

Crystal Brown, a recent graduate of Rutgers Business School and MBA candidate, said that although she was initially hesitant to join organizations due to the lack of in-person interaction, she was happy with her decision to join the Association.

“I decided to join this organization because I believed it would create some joy, community and connection throughout my experience here at Rutgers,” she said. “With becoming a member of this association, I get to become a part of a bigger community that creates conversations for Black (and) Hispanic students like myself who have more to contribute toward their graduate career.”

Brown said the Association enabled her to network with her fellow students in the MBA program as well as celebrate Black and Hispanic entrepreneurship and their presence in the business world.

She also said the organization has provided her with a community that keeps important news topical and motivates one another, which she feels to be especially important given the current political and racial climate of the world. She said she has learned a lot from the organization so far and plans to continue her membership in the association, hopefully taking on a leadership role in the fall.

“I have learned that being a part of this organization makes me feel like I can share my voice," Brown said. “It allows me to foster relationships with other students virtually who have diverse backgrounds, perspectives and experiences. It gives us a chance to lead initiatives that serve our benefit and make the most of this dynamic experience.”

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