Katz Graduate Students Head to Houston for National Black

Houston, we have [the opposite of] a problem. Our graduate students crushed the National Black MBA Conference in Houston, Texas, this past September.

Fifty students from the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business packed their bags full of suits and padfolios in preparation for one of the biggest MBA conferences of the year. Those students secured 99 interviews and 5 job offers.

“The impactful results of the conference will continue to evolve over the next several months,” says Dana Romano, interim director of the Katz Career Management Center. “Some companies come to the conference to meet students, but don’t have immediate hiring or internship needs. Once companies begin posting new opportunities, we expect even more offers to come in.”

To date, Katz students have been offered positions with Honeywell, John Deere, Rockwell Automation, Ford Motor Company, and Johnson & Johnson. Bianca Payton, a first-year MBA student, had seven on-site interviews and was offered two positions with Rockwell Automation and Ford Motor Company.

Payton explains that she was eating lunch at a restaurant on her first day in Houston when she ran into Melanie Krugel, assistant director and diversity recruiter at Katz. Krugel noticed there was a Katz alumnus sitting right behind Payton and introduced them.

“All I could think was ‘what a small world,’” says Payton. “After our introduction, I learned that he worked at Rockwell. He gave me some great advice before meeting with the company and I am confident in saying that his advice was what helped me get the offer.”

Students and staff continued to meet with Katz alumni throughout the weekend—whether they were eating lunch in the same restaurant or recruiting for their own companies at National Black.

“We had the opportunity to meet with 11 Katz alumni in Houston,” says Romano. “Alumni are able to give our students advice and share their own valuable experiences at the conference.”

Payton credits her early preparation and company research for her success at the conference. Prior to the conference, she met with her career counselor to narrow down which positions she should be focused on applying to. In the weeks leading up to the conference, Payton participated in Katz Mock Interview Day, attended the National Black MBA Conference Prep Session, and met with Katz Executives in Residence.

Romano fondly remembers Payton listening to music before each interview at the conference.

“I would listen to ‘Eye of the Tiger’ to get me pumped and ready to take on each interview,” says Payton.

When asked what her advice for future students attending National Black would be, she said: “Take advantage of every opportunity that Katz provides—whether it’s a prep session, career counseling meetings, or meeting with an Executive in Residence. The resources are there for a reason and it’s to help us to be as successful as possible.”

To learn more about opportunities through the Katz Career Management Center, visit katz.business.pitt.edu/why-katz/career-management.