By Anthony Howard
Two graduate students from Jackson State University’s College of Business(COB) were selected to represent the university at the 45th annual National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) conference. Tyra McCormick and Aaron Bailey attended the 2022 conference held in Atlanta as members of the association’s first HBCU Student Scholarship Cohort.
“Our MBA program is growing by leaps and bounds, and the quality is also growing. In order to maintain our standards, we have to raise the bar, too. We’re really proud of what we’re building with the program and the successes of our students,” said Dean Fidelis Ikem, Ph.D., College of Business.
The two students were handpicked by COB administrators to join the inaugural cohort of approximately 50 HBCU business students from around the nation. The NBMBAA collaborated with several major corporations to provide scholarships and sponsorships to cover the cohorts’ conference expenses. McCormick was sponsored by Blackbaud, the world’s leading cloud software company, and Bailey was sponsored by Marriott International.
The cohort had to undergo a six-week development program led by Brandon Graham, CEO of the Creative Surge Company and a member of the NBMBAA Atlanta Chapter. In the program, the students attended resume’ building workshops and were given one-on-one opportunities with representatives from a number of the countries’ top companies. McCormick described the conference as an eye-opener for the business students.
“It was so important to see how many options there are. I feel like it can be easy to put ceilings on myself,” said McCormick. “It was just crazy to not only see all these people in these amazing roles, but to see Jackson State alums in these roles and the relationship and connections Jackson State has with some of them.”
McCormick said she finished the conference feeling inspired after meeting several companies eager to hire JSU students and networking with many minority business leaders. Bailey expressed how attending such a huge conference with a cohort made the experience more motivational and unified.
“One thing that really stood out was the amount of people and the support the cohort gave,” Bailey recalled. “It was a room full of people with one goal, and that was to gain opportunities. It was really refreshing to be around a group of like-minded people who wanted to see each other win. Not only did that cohort show me the possibilities, it showed me a lot about myself professionally.”
During his time being sponsored by Marriott, Bailey networked with the company and plans to pursue a career with the hotel chain upon the completion of his MBA in April 2023.