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First Consortium grad: MBA meant there was ‘nothing I couldn’t do’

Larry Harris was the first Consortium grad to receive his MBA. He earned his degree from Wisconsin in December 1968.

The very first Consortium grad received his MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison 18 months after entering the program with the first 21 Consortium recruits. Larry Harris said the accomplishment boosted his confidence so high, “It made me feel as if there was nothing I couldn’t do.”

Harris (Wisconsin, 1968) made the comment recently on a blog entry posted by the Wisconsin School of Business as part of its commemoration of 50 years as a Consortium founding school. The blog post recounted Harris’ story as he moved from the 3,000-person town where he grew up, Rayville, La., where he earned money mowing lawns or working in cotton fields, to a long career at the Upjohn pharmaceutical company.

The turning point, Harris said, came while he finished his bachelor’s degree in business administration at Southern University in Baton Rouge. That’s where he glimpsed a flyer on the wall at a local shop where he’d stopped for a drink. The flyer advertised the newly founded Consortium for Graduate Study in Business for Negroes.

“Then my life totally changed from what I thought it was going to be,” he told the Wisconsin blog. “It just shaped my whole life and career.”

Read more about Larry Harris’ journey from his undergraduate career to his Wisconsin MBA and beyond at the Wisconsin School of Business’ website.

Above: Larry Harris was in the first class of 21 MBA candidates to earn a fellowship through The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, and went on to a long human resources career at Upjohn. Photo by Paul L. Newby II, courtesy of the University of Wisconsin’s Wisconsin School of Business.

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