For three University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business Administration students, the opportunity to attend the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) Central Region Student Conference offered more than the chance to network with top African-American business professionals.
“One of the main things I took away from the conference was knowledge and tips on overcoming the challenge of being an African-American female in the business field and in life in general,” said Mariah Ward, a sophomore finance major. “There is so much going on in the world today that limits the lives of African-Americans and highlights the unjustness that many of us are facing.”
Ward, from Lincoln, Nebraska, along with Claire Ngamelue from Omaha, Nebraska, and Gazmine Mason from Cranston, Rhode Island, attended the conference September 22-24 in Milwaukee. The four regional student conferences are some of the largest, most diverse annual student programs offered by NABA. They bring together hundreds of professional and student members, academia and corporate representatives in a venue focused on the unique needs of minority students pursuing an accounting or finance degree.
Students can interview for internships and permanent positions, as well as attend sessions on topics such as interviewing skills, dressing for success, transitioning from college student to business professional and communication skills.
“To be involved in an organization where the CEO is black, the members are black, the staff are black, everyone is black – black and successful – it was truly amazing to speak to these people and have an intelligent conversation about the issues going on today,” Ward said.
For Mason, who is also a two-time All-American for the Cornhuskers women’s bowling team, the conference provided the chance to polish her skills for life after college. The senior accounting major is considering a professional bowling career while also pursuing a job in forensic accounting.
“I learned how to interact with individuals in a professional setting that will also help me during the rest of my college career and beyond,” Mason said.
Ngamelue, is a junior accounting major and finance minor from Omaha. She said the trio learned of the event through Dr. Aaron Crabtree, director of the School of Accountancy and associate professor of accountancy, and were eager make the trip.
“I thought it would be a good networking opportunity. Not only that, it was a great chance to meet young black people aspiring to be business professionals, which I thought was wonderful,” she said.