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Photo from Jillian Jones

Huntsman Hall was particularly crowded on Sept. 29 and Sept 30., as some 20 company recruiters talked to hundreds of black Penn students from all undergraduate schools. 

This week, the Black Wharton Undergraduate Association hosted their 32nd annual Howard E. Mitchell Memorial Conference, which was established in honor of Wharton's second tenured black professor.

The theme for the conference was "Pushing the Limits: Black Professionals Shaping the Future." Attendees had the opportunity to network with representatives from a range of companies, including Boston Consulting Group, JP Morgan Chase & Co and Under Armour.

Photo from Jillian Jones

 College freshman Brooke Price and BWUA member said that the event, which she described as "Wharton-centric," led her to think differently about her career path.

"I wanted to weigh all my options because I'm kind of undecided in my major," Price said. "Interacting with all of these [finance], consulting companies is definitely opening up my eyes to something I never really considered before."

However, President of BWUA and Wharton senior Dawit Gebresellassie said the student group purposefully worked to bring representatives outside of finance and consulting backgrounds. 

1990 Wharton graduate Scott M. Mills, the keynote speaker, provided "an interesting perspective" on career transitions, Gebresellassie said. Mills moved from banking to operations, and now works as the executive vice president and chief administrative officer of media entertainment company Viacom Inc.

Other components of the conference included a panel of Wharton alumni and graduate students, and a career fair.

"I learned about what is expected of me — the level of professionalism and how to sell myself," Price said. "And also just how many opportunities there are in so many different business areas. It's not all just consulting and finance."

The Career Fair, which was held on Friday, gave students a chance to speak directly with recruiters in Huntsman's Baker Forum. This was followed by a celebratory luncheon, which is the biggest event of the conference. Over 130 attendees had the opportunity to network with recruiters and alumni at the luncheon.

College junior Amber Williams, who serves as the chair of the HEMM conference, said BWUA also awards two $1,000 scholarships every year, one for a freshman and the other for an upperclassman. 

Photo from Jillian Jones

The finalists this year were College and Wharton sophomore Maria Curry and Engineering freshman Jelani Hutchins-Belgrave. 

According to Williams, who chose the finalists this year, the scholarship is awarded based on social engagement and passion toward the conference's theme. She added that she wanted this conference to help guide younger students in particular in "expanding their horizons."

"I want students to feel comfortable networking," William said. "This conference is actually geared toward freshmen and sophomores who aren't really going through [on-campus recruiting], so through talking to the recruiters here, they'll have the experience of practicing the whole process."