Insights From the 2016 Black Business Student Forum Conference

These insights were captured at the 28th annual Black Business Student Forum (BBSF) conference, held 12 February at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. The student-led BBSF brought approximately 150 undergraduate students from historically black colleges and universities to the Darden School for the conference, Innovation, Investment, Ownership: Becoming a Transformational Leader.”

In the above photo, BBSF President Lady G. Lockhart (Class of 2016) welcomes participants to the conference.

Insights from the conference speakers:

“Instead of just looking at the job I wanted to get, or the industry, I would have thought about the problems I wanted to solve, the types of companies I wanted to work for and the people I wanted to meet.”
—Keynote speaker Tawana Burnett (MBA ’04), Facebook global client partner, on what she would do differently with the benefit of hindsight

“I think about, and continue to acknowledge, the different point of view I bring in any organization that I go into. I’ve learned to appreciate my voice. I’ve learned to speak up as an unapologetically African-American business leader.”
—Tawana Burnett

“We hope that some of you will decide that the way you’re going to make your difference in the world is to pursue business education. You can go on from there to any industry, any nonprofit and almost any sector you can dream of. They all need great managers, and they all need people who know how to make a difference.”
—Darden Dean Scott Beardsley on the value of a business education

“You need to be able to do some quantitative analysis, and you also need to be able to express yourself in writing and verbally. Balance yourself.”
—Darden Dean Scott Beardsley

“We have to know that there are disparate pools of knowledge that we’re going to try and leverage in transforming the world and transforming our organizations. When we step back and say, ‘How do we transform the world?’ we become transformational leaders.”
—Darden Professor Melissa Thomas-Hunt, Darden’s senior associate dean and global chief diversity officer, on the self-awareness and understanding needed to achieve transformational leadership

“You have to find ways to understand what your strengths are, because your strengths are going to drive you.”
—Melissa Thomas-Hunt

For more on the 28th annual BBSF conference, read “BBSF Conference Focuses on Transformational Leadership.”

About the Faculty

Scott C. Beardsley

Scott C. Beardsley is the ninth dean of the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. He joined the Darden School as dean and Charles C. Abbott Professor of Business Administration 1 August 2015 after 26 years at McKinsey & Company, during which he held numerous senior roles including as... Learn More