NBMBAA History
historical picture

The idea for the NBMBAA was conceived in 1970 and for early members – in many cases Blacks coming into the corporate sector, largely for the first time – it was a way to share experiences and insights to help make a difficult journey easier. By nurturing these early professionals, the organization helped early members navigate and, ultimately, succeed in an unfamiliar and frequently hostile environment. And it has been those professionals who have risen up and reached back to bring up the next generation of Black business professionals, not just mentoring them but also growing the ranks. This has carried through the decades as the members who have followed found the same sense of connection and camaraderie among their colleagues, and have continued to reach back and uplift new generations.

Historical Timeline

University of Chicago MBA students organize the first two-day conference addressing issues relevant to Black MBA graduate students.

Nine regional student delegates from the 1970 conference convene to finalize plans for formation of a national organizations for Black MBA’s.

The National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) is incorporated in New York and establishes a virtual national headquarters there.

Carl A. Fields Appointed first NBMBAA President

The first official logo of the NBMBAA is developed and remains largely unchanged today.

In October, the first annual NBMBAA Conference and Exposition, The Black MBA: Challenges, Opportunities, Problems, Expectations, is held at the Westin Hotel, Detroit.

H. Naylor Fitzhugh
The first recipient of the award that bears his name, The H. Naylor Fitzhugh Award of Relevance.

An alliance is established with association management firm, Smith-Jones & Associates, to coordinate the conferences and manage national office operations. Memberships grow to 750.

NBMBAA launches its national scholarship program and awards $18,000 in scholarships at the 6th Annual Conference and Exposition in San Francisco.

The NBMBAA moves its national headquarters to Chicago and opens its first office at 180 North Michigan Avenue.

Pamela K. Anderson, past Chicago Chapter President, 1987, is hired as the first Director of Operations.

The number of corporate partners rises to 180. Antoinette Malveaux, former President of the New York Chapter and member of the National Board, is appointed Director of Operations. She will become Executive Director in 1993 and later, National President in 1997, a position she held until 2002.

The Leaders of Tomorrow® program is launched by members of the New York, Boston and New Jersey chapters. The official national program will launch in 1992 at the 14th Annual Conference and Exposition in St. Louis.

The Association undergoes a major restructuring process, revamping the Board of Directors, introducing a new mission statement and modifying the By-laws.

NBMBAA increases membership to 2,300 and the number of chapters grow to 25

The Association celebrates the legacy of Dr. H. Naylor Fitzhugh with introduction of doctoral fellowships named for the MBA pioneer

The National Business Case Competition – sponsored by Chrysler, which continues its sponsorship today as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US LLC – is launched at the 14th Annual Conference and Exposition in St. Louis.

NBMBAA forms an affiliation with the African and Caribbean Finance Forum (ACFF), an organization committed to excellence in education and enhancing the economic development of the African and Caribbean communities.

NBMBAA expands relationship with Junior Achievement from local programs to a national outreach.

The number of corporate partners increases to more than 300.                                   

Michael Mobley is elected as the first Chairman of the Board following a major board restructure.

The NBMBAA co-sponsors its first Annual International Career Fair with ACFF in London, England, with approximately 3,000 professionals in attendance.

NBMBAA chapters are in 39 cities including AFCC, the international affiliate. Membership rises to more than 4,300.

In September, NBMBAA holds its 20th Annual Conference and Exposition, Accentuate Performance to Drive Economic Power, in Detroit.

NBMBAA leads a delegation of business professionals and activists to Ghana. That fall at the 21st Annual Conference and Exposition in Anaheim, Calif., the Association hosts prominent international guests including Flight Lieutenant, Jerry John Rawlings, the President of Ghana; Naa (Princess) Asie Ocansey, Ghana; Sir Herman Ouseley and Baroness Valerie Amos, England.

NBMBAA celebrates its 30th Anniversary in Chicago and honors some of the organization’s founding members and pioneers.

The Leaders of Tomorrow National Business Case Competition is launched by the Washington, D.C., Dallas, Atlanta and Houston chapters, challenging high school students to analyze a graduate level business case.

NBMBAA launches Ntential®, an online professional development program, which offers members a comprehensive toolbox that includes personal coaching and online career resources.

Hurricane Katrina forces NBMBAA to move its 27th Annual Conference and Exposition from New Orleans to San Diego in a four-week period.

NBMBAA chapters expand to 42 cities with 10 collegiate chapters.

NBMBAA awards nearly $500,000 in scholarships to 117 students enrolled in MBA, Ph.D., undergraduate and high school programs in the US.

On the eve of the historic election of President Barack Obama, NBMBAA hosts its 30th Annual Conference and Exposition in Washington, D.C. General Colin Powell (Ret.) is awarded the MBA of the Year award, and Earl Graves Sr., Founder and Publisher of Black Enterprise, receives the NBMBAA Entrepreneur of Year award. A record 12,000 attendees and more than 400 major corporations attend the four-day event.

Four years after Hurricane Katrina the NBMBAA keeps it promise to return to New Orleans and holds the 31st Annual Conference and Exposition. Connect/Reconnect at the newly restored Ernest N. Morial Convention Center

The LOT National Conference is re-imagined as the Success Boot Camp, a week-long intensive, elite experience to help minority high school students learn the tenets of success. Lambda Omicron Tau is founded as the National Alumni Association for the Leaders of Tomorrow program.

The NBMBAA awards more than 80,000 in scholarship on a national level which continues to empower and enable the next generation of business professionals.

The Association provides more than $30,000 in scholarships to high school students through the Leaders of Tomorrow® National Business Case Competition.

New NBMBAA chapters come on board including San Antonio, Seattle and an interest group in Northern Virginia. The number of professional chapters reaches 45. NBMBAA adds a direct donation portal at www.nbmbaa.org/donations to engage members, partners and sponsors in growing and supporting key education programs.

jesse tyson prefaceJesse J. Tyson is appointed interim President and CEO. He became the permanent President and CEO in 2014.

The Leaders of Tomorrow® Endowment Fund is created to ensure support for this critical educational service.

After nearly 50 years in Chicago, Illinois, the National Black MBA Association's Headquarters moved to Atlanta, Georgia.

See Our Complete History in the NBMBAA Commemorative Book!


Excerpts From the Book

jesse tyson prefaceIn these pages you will learn about the background and history, as well as the legacy that grew from an idea whose time had come. The NBMBAA’s story is the intersection of vison, sacrifice and steadfast commitment from thousands of Black business professionals over the past 45 years. It is my sincere hope that the words, images and ideas in these pages will enhance your knowledge of the organization, evoke fond and proud memories and also inspire you to leave your own legacy.
~ Jesse Tyson, President and CEO

It was in the midst of this turmoil that many young people began to demand a say in politics, business affairs, and their futures. These forces played a key role in motivating a group of Black students at the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business to begin dialogue about pulling together other Black MBA students from across the country to discuss issues of importance to them.
~ Catherine W. Leblanc

University of Chicago Leaders Who Helped Shape the NBMBAA

Some of the University of Chicago graduate students and faculty advisors credited with spearheading the 1970 conference, the 1971 follow up conference and the establishment of NBMBAA, included:

» Dr. Anthony Jackson, MBA 1970. Co-chair, 1970 Conference.

» George Bradshaw (deceased), MBA 1971. Co-chair, 1970 Conference.

» Dr. Alexander L. Gabbin, MBA 1970. Treasurer, 1970 Conference.

» Dr. Harold Metcalf (deceased), A.M. 1953. Associate Dean of Students and advocate for minority students on the University of Chicago campus.

» Karen Williamson, MBA 1971. NBMBAA organizer.

» William Preston, MBA 1971. Regional conference organizer.

» Carl Fields, Jr., (deceased), MBA 1972. National Coordinator, 1971 conference. First NBMBAA President when the organization incorporated and started operations in New York in 1972.

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