The National Hispanic Business Association’s annual northeastern collegiate symposium featured networking, conversations about significant life experiences and visits from Central Intelligence Agency and Goldman Sachs representatives.
At Saturday’s conference, attended by 33 students from Yale and nearby universities, participants delved into the components of project management and ways to make the most of their talents and interests. In doing so, event organizers — members of the newly-created Yale University Latino Business Coalition — and speakers said they hoped students would make connections with other participants while also meeting Latinos working in the business world and the government.
Despite having students from outside schools such as Syracuse, Brown, New York University and Rutgers universities attend, the turnout for the event was low, Latino Business Coalition President Nathaniel Stein ’11 said.
Stein created the Latino Business Coalition, a chapter of the NHBA, in May of last year after attending the East Coast Chicano Student Forum, he said in his introduction to the day’s events.
“It sounded great because it could only expand the opportunities to Yale undergraduates,” Stein said at the event.
The conference emphasized networking over how to obtain jobs in business. The workshops with representatives from the CIA and Goldman Sachs highlighted the importance of leadership, teamwork and learning from peers.
NHBA Executive Director David Peña Jr. said in an interview at the conference that the overall mission of the organization has not changed much since it was founded 20 years ago.
“The primary focus was finding a medium of networking to overcome legacy networks in business,” he said.
He added that Latinos are now one of the largest groups in entrepreneurship and business.
The economic climate managed to crop up in a few discussions, although it was not specifically on the agenda. During the Goldman Sachs presentation, which focused on project management, presenter Maribel Ledezma-Williams made a reference to the fact that Goldman Sachs is a “bank holding company,” a term she said students are probably hearing in the news.
A number of NHBA’s sponsors have pulled back their funding due to the current economic climate, Peña said. Despite this, Peña said the sponsors have said they are still interested in continuing their relationship with the NHBA.