...getting ready for the 20th!

Chances are you will be reading this newsletter at the time you are getting ready for NSHMBA's 20th annual conference and job exposition. I hope that is the case, as this will be the 20th, a very special anniversary and a life-changing experience for most of its attendants!

In case you have never attended an annual conference of NSHMBA's, I believe that a ‘trade show’ or ‘trade fair’ is a valuable analogy to describe the event. They tend to be held in convention centers, large hotel ballrooms, trade centers, or similar venues. Their essential purpose is to provide a space for suppliers and customers to meet and establish trade in a specific market. Probably some of the best known trade shows in our country include the North American International Auto Show (NAIS, also known as the Detroit Auto show)–which this coming January will celebrate its 102nd and this year boasted over 700,000 attendants –or the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES, taking place in January in Las Vegas), in which innovative products like VCRs, CD players, DVDs, HDTVs have been introduced in the 41 years of its existence. Even if you haven't been in one of them, you probably have read about the cars or technologies of the future in the business press, television, and other media that cover the events.

Other well-known trade shows focus on specific professions –for example, the annual meeting of SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) or the AMA (American Marketing Association)—, hobbies –I have witnessed shows that focus on Japanese comics (anime), table games like dungeons and dragons, in addition to the traditional fishing, hunting, etc.—and any other imaginable human activity that might attract suppliers and customers to form a market.

The Company Side

As is the case for most human activity, advanced preparation is a major predictor of success for its participants. By the time you read this, many of the companies that you will be able to meet in Atlanta have identified their hiring needs so that they will be looking for the best and brightest MBA talent, either specialized in certain areas, or with the general abilities they desire.

A few of these firms will be ready to extend job offers for specific positions during the days the conference will take place. Many others will be collecting résumés to enhance their talent pool for the very near future. And yet another subset of companies will likely be present mostly to support our organization and plant seeds for the longer run, perhaps directing applicants to their jobs websites in a less aggressive stance than the previous two subsets. I have seen some first-time attendants expressing discomfort with the latter; after all, ‘thanks for stopping by, please upload your résumé on our website’ is one of the least expected answers –if not the least welcome—that a job seeker will receive during an event like this. Still, those firms are providing helpful sponsorships to NSHMBA and its members, and I believe we should be grateful for their support.

Maximize Your Conference ROI

On the other side of the table, to maximize the return on all of your investments (money, time, and opportunity) you will be best prepared by bringing a résumé that you feel comfortable sharing with the representatives from those companies you would love to work for, and having sharpened your interviewing skills. You might actually want to use slightly different versions of your résumé, particularly if you already have in mind specific companies and positions you would love to hold once you finish your MBA.

Many MBA programs or their hosting universities have placement offices that organize mock-up interviews so you can practice your role and become comfortable during ‘the real thing.’ While some MBA students might feel that they are too busy with school, travel preparation, life, etc., I strongly believe that getting past the queasiness of the first few interviews is more important than having a perfectly polished résumé.

Now, if you are unable to get your résumé ready or get feedback on your interviewing strengths and weaknesses, rest assured that there will be volunteers in Atlanta, willing to help you find your dream job. Just come as early as you can and take advantage of the services offered.

Also remember that there will be sessions designed to help you delve into both basic and advanced business topics of interest for Hispanic MBAs –actually, most topics will be of interest to any businessperson, regardless of their ethnicity! Unfortunately, I have not seen as many NSHMBA members take advantage of the concurrent sessions as I think they deserve, but it is completely understandable! Many such topics might be more valuable for seasoned MBAs than for first-after-MBA job seekers, and that's a sign of the breadth of value that our society offers to its members.

This leads me to ask: In addition to seeking a job, identifying scholarship opportunities, or attending events for senior MBAs like the Hispanic Executive Summit (HES), what other benefits have you obtained from your membership at NSHMBA?

If you have tips to share or suggestions to make to your fellow members –especially for those that are earlier in the career pipeline—why don't you send me an email, fax, letter, or post a comment in this blog? Consider also writing an article for the bottom line; our publications department always welcomes contributions from members!

Look forward to seeing you in Atlanta this October!!