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NBMBAA® History

NBMBAA® was conceived in 1970 and for early members – in many cases Blacks coming into the corporate sector, largely for the first time – it was a way to share experiences and insights to help make a difficult journey easier. By nurturing these early professionals, the organization helped early members navigate and, ultimately, succeed in an unfamiliar and frequently hostile environment. And it has been those professionals who have risen up and reached back to bring up the next generation of Black business professionals, not just mentoring them but also growing the ranks. This has carried through the decades as the members who have followed found the same sense of connection and camaraderie among their colleagues, and have continued to reach back and uplift new generations.

NBMBAA® has a deep and rich history that we continue to celebrate today – from our achievements to the valued members who have helped make the National Black MBA Association® what it is today – for the benefit of us all. Here’s an overview of our history:


  • First Conference

    University of Chicago MBA students organize the first two-day conference addressing issues relevant to Black MBA graduate students.

  • Delegate Conference

    Nine regional student delegates from the 1970 conference convene to finalize plans for formation of a national organization for Black MBAs.

  • NBMBAA® Incorporated

    The National Black MBA Association® is incorporated in New York and establishes a virtual national headquarters.

    First President

    Carl Fields

    Carl A. Fields is appointed the first NBMBAA® President to oversee the organization.

  • Logo Developed

    The first official logo of the NBMBAA® is developed and remains largely unchanged today.

  • First Annual Conference & Expo

    In October, the first annual NBMBAA® Conference and Exposition, The Black MBA: Challenges, Opportunities, Problems, Expectations, is held at the Westin Hotel, Detroit.      

    H. Naylor Fitzhugh

    The first recipient of the award that bears his name, The H. Naylor Fitzhugh Award of Relevance.        

  • Alliance Smith-Jones & Associates Established

    An alliance is established with association management firm, Smith-Jones & Associates, to coordinate the conferences and manage national office operations. Memberships grow to 750.

  • 6th Annual Conference

    NBMBAA® launches its national scholarship program and awards $18,000 in scholarships at the 6th Annual Conference and Exposition in San Francisco.

  • Moved to Chicago

    The NBMBAA® moves its national headquarters to Chicago and opens its first office at 180 North Michigan Avenue. Pamela K. Anderson, past Chicago Chapter President, 1987, is hired as the first Director of Operations.

  • Antoinette Malveaux Appointed

    The number of corporate partners rises to 180. Antoinette Malveaux, former President of the New York Chapter and member of the National Board, is appointed Director of Operations. She will become Executive Director in 1993 and later, National President in 1997, a position she held until 2002.

    Leaders of Tomorrow® Launch

    The Leaders of Tomorrow® program is launched by members of the New York, Boston and New Jersey chapters. The official national program will launch in 1992 at the 14th Annual Conference and Exposition in St. Louis.    

  • Restructuring

    The Association undergoes a major restructuring process, revamping the Board of Directors, introducing a new mission statement and modifying the By-laws.  

    2,300 Members

    NBMBAA® increases membership to 2,300 and the number of chapters grow to 25.  

    Dr. H. Naylor Fitzhugh

    The Association celebrates the legacy of Dr. H. Naylor Fitzhugh with the introduction of doctoral fellowships named for the MBA pioneer.

    The National Business Case Competition

    The National Business Case Competition – sponsored by Chrysler, which continues its sponsorship today as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US LLC – is launched at the 14th Annual Conference and Exposition in St. Louis.

  • ACFF Affiliation

    NBMBAA® forms an affiliation with the African and Caribbean Finance Forum (ACFF), an organization committed to excellence in education and enhancing the economic development of the African and Caribbean communities.    

    Junior Achievement Expansion

    NBMBAA®  expands relationship with Junior Achievement from local programs to a national outreach.        

  • Increased Corporate Partners

    The number of corporate partners increases to more than 300.

  • Michael Mobley

    Michael Mobley is elected as the first Chairman of the Board following a major board restructure.      

    Inaugural International Career Fair

    The NBMBAA® co-sponsors its first Annual International Career Fair with ACFF in London, England, with approximately 3,000 professionals in attendance.  

    39 Chapters & 4,300+ Members

    NBMBAA® chapters are in 39 cities including AFCC, the international affiliate. Membership rises to more than 4,300.  

    20th Annual Conference and Exposition

    In September, NBMBAA® holds its 20th Annual Conference and Exposition, Accentuate Performance to Drive Economic Power, in Detroit.

  • 21st Annual Conference

    NBMBAA® leads a delegation of business professionals and activists to Ghana. That fall at the 21st Annual Conference and Exposition in Anaheim, Calif., the Association hosts prominent international guests including Flight Lieutenant, Jerry John Rawlings, the President of Ghana; Naa (Princess) Asie Ocansey, Ghana; Sir Herman Ouseley and Baroness Valerie Amos, England.

  • Ntential Launch

    NBMBAA® launches Ntential®, an online professional development program, which offers members a comprehensive toolbox that includes personal coaching and online career resources.  

    27th Annual Conference and Exposition

    Hurricane Katrina forces NBMBAA® to move its 27th Annual Conference and Exposition from New Orleans to San Diego in a four-week period.
  • Chapter Expansion

    NBMBAA® chapters expand to 42 cities with 10 collegiate chapters.  

    $500,000 In Scholarships

    NBMBAA® awards nearly $500,000 in scholarships to 117 students enrolled in MBA, Ph.D., undergraduate and high school programs in the US.

  • 30th Anniversary

    NBMBAA® celebrates its 30th Anniversary in Chicago and honors some of the organization's founding members and pioneers.

    30th Annual Conference

    On the eve of the historic election of President Barack Obama, NBMBAA® hosts its 30th Annual Conference and Exposition in Washington, D.C. General Colin Powell (Ret.) is awarded the MBA of the Year award, and Earl Graves Sr., Founder and Publisher of Black Enterprise, receives the NBMBAA® Entrepreneur of Year award. A record 12,000 attendees and more than 400 major corporations attend the four-day event.

  • 31st Annual Conference

    Four years after Hurricane Katrina the NBMBAA® keeps it promise to return to New Orleans and holds the 31st Annual Conference and Exposition. Connect/Reconnect at the newly restored Ernest N. Morial Convention Center

  • LOT® National Conference Re-Imagined

    The LOT® National Conference is re-imagined as the Success Boot Camp, a week-long intensive, elite experience to help minority high school students learn the tenets of success. Lambda Omicron Tau is founded as the National Alumni Association for the Leaders of Tomorrow® program.

  • $80,000 in National Scholarships

    The NBMBAA® awards more than 80,000 in scholarship on a national level which continues to empower and enable the next generation of business professionals.  

    Leaders of Tomorrow® National Business Case Competition.

    The Association provides more than $30,000 in scholarships to high school students through the Leaders of Tomorrow® National Business Case Competition.

    45 Chapters

    New NBMBAA® chapters come on board including San Antonio, Seattle and an interest group in Northern Virginia, to bring the number of professional chapters to 45.

    Accepting Donations

    NBMBAA® adds a direct donation portal at to engage members, partners and sponsors in growing and supporting key education programs.

  • Jesse J. Tyson

    Jesse J. Tyson is appointed interim President and CEO. He became the permanent President and CEO in 2014.    

  • LOT® Endowment Fund Creation

    The Leaders of Tomorrow® Endowment Fund is created to ensure support for this critical educational service.

  • Headquarters Moves to Atlanta

    After nearly 50 years in Chicago, Illinois, the National Black MBA Association® Headquarters moved to Atlanta, Georgia.

Read the Complete History in the NBMBAA® Commemorative Book

In these pages you will learn about the background and history, as well as the legacy that grew from an idea whose time had come. The NBMBAA’s story is the intersection of vision, sacrifice and steadfast commitment from thousands of Black business professionals over the past 45 years. The words, images and ideas in these pages will enhance your knowledge of the organization, evoke fond and proud memories and also inspire you to leave your own legacy.

Early Leaders

NBMBAA owes much to the early leaders at the University of Chicago who helped shape the Association. Some of the UC graduate students and faculty advisors credited with organizing the 1970 and 71 Conferences and the establishment of NBMBAA® included:

Co-Chair of the 1970 Conference

Co-Chair of the 1970 Conference

Treasurer of the 1970 Conference

Associate Dean of Students and Advocate for minority students at the University of Chicago

NBMBAA® organizer

Regional Conference organizer

National Coordinator of the 1971 Conference. Fields was the 1st NBMBAA® President