Ready to Start Building Your Professional Network? Try NABA
Research has long showed that involvement in campus activities is a key component of graduation and student success, especially for underrepresented minority students. If you’re ready to start building your professional network, consider a membership in the UHD Student Chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA).
Last June, Brett Hobby, Director, Marilyn Davies College of Business (MDCOB) Career Development Center, traveled with 21 UHD NABA Student Chapter members to NABA’s Student Conference and Expo in Hollywood, Florida. As someone whose career is focused on helping students get jobs, Hobby is an expert on what sorts of activities and events can make the most difference for students. We asked him to share his thoughts on the value of organizations like NABA.
“Attending this type of conference provides exposure to great programming, events, and access to employers that students might not have access to otherwise,” said Hobby. “The Conference and Expo offered the chance for students to network, to learn how to secure interviews, and to learn more about how to represent their talents in the best light by polishing up their résumé, wearing professional dress, and interacting with company representatives.”
Hobby points out the value of seeing professionals in the careers the students hope to have. “At the Career Expo, our students met professionals from a wide variety of firms and agencies, and it was a chance for them to see others just like them who have ‘made it’ in their profession of choice.”
Jasmine Johnson, a graduate student in MDCOB’s Master of Professional Accountancy program and Student Chapter Reporting and Evaluation Program (SCREP) Chair, agrees. “Seeing so many Black and Brown professionals—elite professionals—was amazing.”
She also confirmed that networking is a primary benefit. “I must have met hundreds of professionals over the weekend,” she said. “Every person I met either guided me toward an opportunity or gave me insight and advice for future opportunities.”
Another benefit, Hobby noted, was UHD students meeting other student attendees who share similar life stories. “Our students met other students like them, individuals with career goals who have to juggle school and family commitments or a business they’re running or a job. College is just one part of their responsibilities,” he said. “The students discovered there’s a community of other students who share their perspective, and that can be tremendously reassuring.”
From a practical perspective, attending the Career Expo landed most of the students multiple interviews as well as offers for internships and full-time jobs. Hobby finds it gratifying to get UHD students in front of employers who know little to nothing about UHD. “Our students are our greatest asset,” he said. “These conferences give us the chance to show them off to employers who don’t know UHD. We get the opportunity to make new connections with employers or strengthen connections we already have, largely based on the quality of our students.”
NABA welcomes students of all races in accounting, finance, business, and related fields (such as IT), with a specific focus on helping people of color succeed and lead. With more than 6,000 members in business and industry, public accounting, government, nonprofit, and education, and students preparing for careers in the profession or related fields, NABA offers networking opportunities across industries.
Ready to get started building your own network of professionals? Visit UHD’s Student Chapter of NABA webpage to find out about meetings and events or to ask questions, or follow UHD NABA online at one of the links below.
And don’t forget the MDCOB Career Center has a wealth of resources to help you navigate your way to the career of your dreams!