For people hoping to pursue an MBA, The Consortium is more than a funding source. Members also gain access to a supportive network of professionals all equally committed to helping one another succeed.
“[It can often be] very hard … to get in the door and make those deeper connections that are necessary to get the perks of a phone call on your behalf or an email with your resume attached,” says Felicia Enuha, a Consortium alumna of the University of Indiana Kelley School of Business. But The Consortium, she adds, helps place all candidates on equal footing.
With a long list of member schools, corporate partners, alumni and current fellows, The Consortium is an invaluable resource for professionals in the corporate, nonprofit and entrepreneurial business sectors.
A Supportive Family
Enuha, who graduated with her MBA in 2010, is now executive producer and host of the Trill MBA Show, a podcast focused on helping black women survive and thrive in corporate America. Many of her guests on the show, which is now in its third season, are either alumni of The Consortium or were introduced to her by other alums.
“I still lean very heavily on my Consortium network,” says Enuha, who is currently developing another podcast with fellow Consortium alum Tiffany Samuels as well as an online retail business.
“I have as many connections with my Indiana Consortium classmates as I do with my classmates at other Consortium schools,” Enuha says. She attributes her large network to taking advantage of events such as The Consortium’s annual conference, the OP.
“I always stress this with everybody I talk to: OP is the time to really solidify your classmate network,” says Enuha. “For example, I am getting on a plane and going to visit my Consortium classmate from another school who’s going to mentor me and help me with my new business — and is happy to help and calls me ‘fam.’”
This idea of The Consortium network being a large family is one that Enuha stands behind. She says she’s been through a lot with her classmates and peers.
“You start building these relationships, and by the time you graduate, you have seen these people so often, you have talked to them, you have bounced ideas off them and you have cried with them,” says Enuha. “And everybody is the same Consortium ‘fam’ — because it is a family.”
Orlando Evans is a Consortium alumnus who recently left his corporate job to become a pastor; he is also the owner of BowTie Photos, LLC. Evans, like Enuha, believes very strongly in the power of The Consortium’s network.
“It’s about relationships. Relationships extend to different industries, cities, lines of business and community organizations,” he says. “Being a resource to someone else and leveraging the resources of others provides a win-win situation for everyone involved.”
In 2001, Evans was a second-year MBA student at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. He had just completed an internship in private wealth management at Goldman Sachs and was working toward securing a job at a New York financial services firm. But, after 9/11, that all changed.
“I went from being heavily recruited to graduating without a job,” he says. “I searched, I tried, but it was difficult to find a reliable lead.”
By happenstance, he called his friend and fellow Consortium alum Tabeier Shine Hamilton who was attending The Consortium conference in San Francisco. “She said, ‘You need to be here because employers are hiring.’” Evans recalls. “I literally hung up the phone, called Northwest Airlines, cashed in all my frequent flier points and was there six or seven hours later.”
Through OP, Evans ended up landing his first job at Bank of America, where he spent nine years of his career before transitioning to SunTrust Bank.
Like Evans, Enuha also secured her first job via OP, where she made connections at Johnson & Johnson, later making the jump to Kellogg. But when her mother got sick in 2015, Enuha decided it was time to move home to Dallas to be closer to her. With her Consortium connections, finding a job was painless, and within several months, she was back in Dallas working for Frito-Lay.
“This network is so powerful. If you need a job, you’re going to get a job,” Enuha says. “I’ve never had to worry about how I’m going to take care of myself, and a lot of that comes from the fact that I know I can just plug right in and say, ‘Hey, you guys, I need help finding my next role,’ and people are going to rise to the occasion far and above and beyond my dreams.”
A Commitment to Inclusion
With a mission to enhance diversity and inclusion in global business education and leadership, The Consortium attracts corporate partners that are committed to that same goal. This partnership benefits not only the companies but also Consortium fellows and alumni.
“Supporters of The Consortium value diversity,” says Evans. “There’s a benefit to employers, who gain access to diverse talent, as well as a benefit to candidates, who gain access to powerful companies with great opportunities.”
It also helps to have Consortium connections within those corporations who are willing to vouch for you. While working in corporate America, Evans says he made a point to seek out Consortium candidates for positions.
“I would promote them to our diversity and inclusion teams and say ‘Have you considered this person, … because they are talented?’” Evans says. “I would do what I could to put the right people in front of the right opportunities for consideration.”
This focus on helping others succeed is where the power of The Consortium’s network lies. And both Evans and Enuha say they make a point to give back to others in the same way that their Consortium peers have helped them.
“I was always one of those people who thought of networking as not necessarily what I can get from people but what I can give to people,” Evans says. Beyond recommending Consortium alumni for jobs, he has offered guidance to and directed prospective MBA candidates to The Consortium.
For Enuha, helping her Consortium peers has meant providing direct mentorship to current MBA students and general advice via her podcast as well as sharing tips on jobs with those seeking new opportunities.
“We’re always focused on helping each other get to our next best opportunity,” she says.
Enuha also makes a point to give back to The Consortium itself, giving of her time, money and energy to the organization that has done so much for her, and she encourages others to do the same.
“Don’t forget where you came from,” Enuha says. “Come back, and if you haven’t engaged in awhile, re-engage. Don’t just come to OP when you need a job, come volunteer.”
The supportive network that comes from being a Consortium fellow is endless — according to Enuha, only ceasing if you disconnect. “As long as you stay engaged in this network,” she says, “this network will engage you.”