At the Black Ivy League Business Conference last weekend, speakers talked about the power of diversity in corporate business and the power of resilience. The conference, which took place in Huntsman Hall, was attended by about 150 students across Ivy League schools.
The annual conference, which is hosted by Black Wharton Undergraduate Association, began in 2016 and aims to connect minority students with elite professionals in the fields of finance and consulting, according to the conference's program.
This year's conference focused on "the power of you" and featured speakers who are mostly Penn graduates working in corporate businesses and other young Ivy League graduates in tech and business industries.
The keynote speaker, Mandell Crawley, who is the head of Private Wealth Management at Morgan Stanley, began his speech by giving a brief introduction to the company and answering questions about the need for embracing diversity across elite corporate firms.
Morgan Stanley is working to bring "more diverse, talented people into [its] programs" and that the current generation is the "answer to the diversity problem," Crawley said.
“Adversity does not discriminate. If it comes and knocks at your door, you’ve got to have the ability to overcome it," he said. "You can say life is unfair, but in the end you have to have a substantial amount of resilience because of the reality we face being black and brown in this society.”
Following the morning keynote, the conference broke into three small panel discussions led by young graduates from the Ivy League universities who worked at large companies such as Morgan Stanley, Bain & Co., and Facebook. The graduates talked about what it was like working at each company and answered questions from the students.
The afternoon events focused on networking opportunities such as a lunch, a career fair, and more panels from "Young and Black" in Corporate, Finance, and Tech speakers.
Wharton sophomore Zahra Barrow, the co-chair of Special Events of the conference and a member of Black Wharton Undergraduate Association, said it was important for students to have opportunities like the conference to network.
“It is important to build collaborative skills," she said. "One of our goals of the conference is to show students how to find mentors, show them how other peers and professionals have done it, and how they could build a community wherever they go.”