Lauren Crucitt and John Wilson

MBA students represent UF at the 2017 Annual Conference & Exposition presented by NBMBAA

UF MBA students and staff traveled to Philadelphia for the 2017 Annual Conference & Exposition presented by the National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) and Prospanica. Students Lauren Crucitt and John Wilson reflect on their experiences at the conference.

John Wilson, MBA ’19

Nerves were high as the Gators suited up for the big day. The idea of competing against thousands of top MBAs from around the country for a chance to land your dream job is a little intimidating. The group traveled 1,000 miles from The Swamp to the Philadelphia Convention Center to attend the 2017 NBMBAA Conference. I have personally grown up to believe that luck favors the prepared mind.  Lucky for us, we had been preparing for this event for months. We were ready to seize all of the opportunities that awaited us inside the convention center.

Jason Rife and the Graduate Business Career Services Team put us through the gauntlet early in our MBA career at UF. We prepared for the event by researching target companies, tailoring resumes, practicing elevator pitches and performing mock interviews. In high stress situations, individuals revert to the level of their training. As I walked onto the floor of the 2017 NBMBAA Conference, I knew that our training had prepared everyone in my cohort for a successful day.

The floor of the NBMBAA conference was controlled chaos. Students were running all over the floor in every direction to find the corporate booths. Our 2nd Year MBA Career Coaches had encouraged us to prepare a game plan of target companies before the start of the event. The time I spent mapping out the booth locations of my target companies helped me navigate the floor very efficiently instead of wasting precious time fighting through the crowd. By the end of the first day, I had successfully pitched all of my target companies and secured three interviews for the following day.

After 8 hours on the floor, I spent the night attending company-sponsored mixers at various locations throughout downtown Philadelphia.  The mixers were a great opportunity to interact with recruiters in a social setting and to network with MBAs from other institutions. I met all of the recruiters who would interview me the following day. I felt extremely prepared during these interviews and walked out feeling positive about my chances to land a job.

Thanks to our preparation and the support of the UF MBA team, many of my peers and I left the conference with job offers. The only bad thing about my trip was having too much good luck. I won a brand-new Amazon Kindle Fire courtesy of a random raffle, but was too busy interviewing to pick it up before the conference floor officially closed.

Lauren Crucitt, MBA ’19

As I weaved my way through hundreds of company booths, I finally spotted the giant UF MBA logo hanging tall and proud amidst the chaos.  The UF MBA “home base” sat between rows 900 and 1000, towards the back of the Pennsylvania Convention Center in downtown Philadelphia, where the 2017 Annual Conference & Exposition presented by NBMBAA & Prospanica was being held.  I couldn’t believe that the huge career fair we had all spent months preparing for was finally happening.

Upon arriving at the UF MBA booth, I was greeted by a team of dedicated staff and second-year students donning matching UF MBA polos, ready to provide coaching and collect feedback from interviews in order to help other students.  After a long day of interviews, I shared my experiences with the team.  The team at the booth did a truly amazing job throughout the event sharing information, securing interviews, providing assistance with pitches, discussing interview techniques, etcetera.

In addition to receiving support at the UF MBA booth, we students all supported one another throughout the event as well, practicing our “elevator pitches” and “START stories” on each other.  We had actually started prepping weeks or even months prior, attending events that our Graduate Business Career Services Team put together such as interview workshops, mock interviews and mock career fairs.  It was fun to finally go out and put all of our practice into action.

After the first day of the conference wrapped up, many of us got the chance to attend company networking events, which was a great opportunity to get to know associates and executives in slightly more casual and fun settings.  Day two came and went, filled with more interviews and conversations with companies, and then we were free to explore the city of Philadelphia!

I had a great experience at NBMBAA this year, and I can’t believe how quickly the event came and went.  I’m very excited for my internship this summer, which originated from an interview I had at the conference.  I am grateful for all of the support I have received from the UF MBA family along the way.