Living Entrepreneurship Blog / Women's Leadership

National Association of Women MBA’s Conference and Career Fair 2015 (NAWMBA2015)

Posted on behalf of author Romelie Coriolan, MSM’16

Within days of beginning my graduate program at Babson College, I was advised to register and attend a national MBA conference being held in Florida at the end of September. Politely, I declined this offer. I already had my heart set on attending the National Association of Women MBA’s Conference and Career Fair 2015 (NAWMBA2015).

I was ecstatic to receive funding from Babson College to be able to attend NAWMBA2015. I looked forward to interacting with fascinating, talented, and empowered women (and men!) in an intimate setting. I also looked forward to finally leaving the east coast, and visiting Houston, Texas. Traveling abroad is incredible, but there is nothing like having an opportunity to explore your own country and have some Good(e) barbeque while you’re at it.


The Opening Reception and Dine Arounds helped to get the weekend started. I immediately was introduced to a diverse engaging group of conference attendees. It is one thing to discover someone’s interest in finance or data analytics. It is another thing entirely to have a 20-minute dinner conversation surrounding the application of data analytics to Disney theme parks, improving the visitor experience with MagicBands. I realized the weekend would be filled of discovering people’s passions and how they are applying their business degrees to their interests. I could not wait to learn more about the attendees.

Women MBA Conference

My hotel room had a wonderful view of the Galleria (how I wish I could have delayed my return flight to shop!), the Houston skyline, and the amazing rising sun. I couldn’t resist snapping a photo to add to my weekend’s collection. Imagine my delight during the first keynote address to hear the following statement, “Be in awe of every sunrise that you see.” At age 27, Julie Smolyansky became the youngest female CEO of a publicly held firm, when she took over Lifeway Foods. She embarked words of wisdom, describing her rise to this position, and offered advice to the room. Julie stressed the importance of understanding female-male dynamics, society complexities, and general human interaction. She advocated us to be leaders who pull others up. Speaking to a room primarily filled with women, Julie stated, “We need to know when girls succeed. “ I greatly admired how Julie was able to tell attendees to empower themselves and be bold, the themes of the weekend, while also humbling herself. Despite her humility, Julie also said, “I always speak from a place of confidence”, words I truly believe in! The bar for the weekend had been set with this address and I could not wait for the other speakers.

Houston, Texas

Since selecting a graduate program, it has been constantly stressed to me the importance of my personal brand. Why Babson? Why MSM? These two questions are addressed to me at least once a week. Often times it is posed by people outside the Babson bubble, but my fellow graduate students are fond of questioning my choices as well. Other common questions include: Why a business degree at all? What are you interested in? You’re getting a degree focused on entrepreneurship- do you have a business or an idea for one? With these questions in mind, I headed to “Build Your Brand-Utilizing Strategies to Build Personal Success.” Marketing Professor Amy Vandaveer managed to drive the concept home with her 10 Rules of Branding. These rules resonated with me the most:

Rule 1: Know the goal
While the goal was not as clear as it is now, I have known since early during my undergraduate years that I wanted to get an MBA. This picture became clearer overtime, with my growing interest in the marketing field, my coursework within required Wharton classes for my minor, and the jobs I was vying for long-term. Babson’s MSM program offered me more than just the business foundational classes that would make any future MBA courses easier and for this I am grateful.

Rule 7: Know how you are perceived
A popular interview question to prepare for is “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” An alternative question that always makes me smile is “What would your friends or colleagues say are your strengths and weaknesses?” A quality that I consider to be second nature and trivial may be one of my greatest strengths to others. I have accumulated much insight about myself over the years from my peers, supervisors, and family. I look forward to considering their perceptions as I strive toward my goal.

Rule 10: Commit to building your brand
Previously, I considered my past to be disjointed. I have jumped from the sciences, to performing arts, to fashion, and now to business. No one can clearly understand my brand and its development unless I can explain it. In order to explain, I need to know my personal brand and commit to building and sharing it with the world.

While speaking with conference attendees between sessions, I realized the ideas and concepts we were discussing were not necessarily new. We all consider them regularly in our daily lives. The NAWMBA conference allowed us to finally emerge from our own minds and bring our ideas to spoken word. We were able to commiserate and celebrate together, while also learning from each other. I am so thankful that NAWMBA welcomed me with open arms. I am thrilled to be a part of the NAWMBA community and watch fellow students and professionals continue to learn and grow from our conference experience.

NAWMBA Career Fair

NAWMBA 2015 Conference and Career Fair took place in Houston, Texas, October 15-17.

Romelie Coriolan, MSM’16, attended the University of Pennsylvania and received a B.A. in Communication with Consumer Psychology minor, in 2013. As a Boston native, she is happy to be back in New England pursuing her graduate degree. Her activities outside the classroom include club memberships with BAWMBA, MBA Marketing, and Communication Clubs. She is also a MSM section representative and student ambassador with the graduate admissions office. Romelie hopes to pursue a career in marketing and advertising post graduation.