Innovator Article

Students from Historically Black Colleges Prep for Business
New UC Summer Institute for Emerging Managers and Leaders

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A landmark collaboration between the six University of California business schools and the nation’s historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs)launched in May with the first annual UC Summer Institute for Emerging Managers and Leaders (SIEML).

The new career-building program attracted 25 undergraduates from around the country to UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. The two-week immersion featured company visits to Facebook and Google, a group project on open innovation and business models, and sessions on corporate social responsi-bility, negotiations and choosing a graduate school.

Dean Steven Currall welcomed the inaugural SIEML class, which included a roughly equal number of men and women students from Howard University, Tuskegee University, Fisk University, Morehouse College and 15 other historically black colleges and universities.

Currall shared the Graduate School of Management’s culture and emphasis on building community and responsible business leadership. He then drew from Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers to highlight the need to work hard to develop both intellectual and practical skills to succeed as leaders.

Students receive all-expenses-paid fellowships to attend the program for two consecutive years. Wells Fargo and Anthem Blue Cross provided funding for the program. One of the six UC business and management schools will host the institute each year, with UCLA Anderson hosting next summer.

“Our goal is to have it at UC Davis in year three,” said Kathy Gleed, chief diversity officer for the Graduate School of Management.

The program received resounding praise from UC President Mark Yudof and California Assemblymember Anthony Portantino of Pasadena, who helped spearhead the partnership between UC and the historically black colleges and universities.

In a letter to Yudof, Portantino thanked him and the University of California for creating SIEML. “This collaboration will contribute to the much-needed diversification of UC business schools and will introduce the wealth of HBCU talent to the state of California,” wrote Portantino.

Yudof responded that the collaboration is “critical to our future and will provide significant opportunities for all parties involved.” He added, “UC is committed to ensuring a diverse student body at all levels of instruction, and the institute a great value to our business schools in this regard.”

Most importantly, attendees came away already looking forward to next year’s institute.

“The SIEML program is something that every business student should attend. It displays the essence of innovation and how to create value within a scripted business model,” said Jakari Bass, an accounting major at Texas Southern University. “The amount of information I learned in two weeks was remarkable, and I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.”

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