Corporate executives, alumni, faculty members and current and prospective students convened last week for the Black Business Students Association’s (BBSA) 25th annual conference, “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants.”
The silver anniversary conference featured panels on emerging markets in Africa and the Caribbean, black politics, urban development, entrepreneurship and black women in business. Michael Lee-Chin, chairman of AIC Limited, and Carla Harris, managing director of Global Capital Markets for Morgan Stanley, gave keynote addresses.
“It’s fitting that this year’s conference theme is “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants,” said Dean Glenn Hubbard. “The contributions that the BBSA has made and continues to make to Columbia Business School are indeed on a grand scale.”
Each spring for the past 20 years, for example, the BBSA has hosted an auction to help raise scholarship funds for incoming business school students; the 2006 auction raised more than $36,000. “Initiatives such as these truly embody the spirit of Columbia Business School,” said Hubbard. “I’m proud to say that the BBSA, with its close to 80 members, can serve as an example Schoolwide.”
Speakers at the conference included Denis G. Antoine, ambassador of Ghana to the United States; Richard Arkutu, senior investment officer at IFC’s World Bank Group; Sharon Joseph ’97, CEO and cofounder of Harlem Lanes; and Janet Rolle ’91, vice president and general manager of AOL Black Voices. The three-day event concluded with a black-tie gala reception at the University’s Low Library.
Established in 1973, the BBSA serves the community and supports Black business students through professional development and the mentorship of new students. To date, the School has more than 1,050 African-American alumni.