Black MBAs React To Wall Street Crisis The economic downturn is affecting all types of businesses. To find out how businesspeople of color are dealing with the crisis, Tell Me More swung by the 30th annual conference of the National Black MBA Association.
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Black MBAs React To Wall Street Crisis

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Black MBAs React To Wall Street Crisis

Black MBAs React To Wall Street Crisis

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MICHEL MARTIN, host:

As the Federal Reserve and the Treasury worked to rescue the nation's financial institutions, last week the National Black MBA Association was holding its annual conference at the Washington Convention Center. We thought it would be interesting to find out how the crisis is affecting these folks.

Mr. CHRIS STOKES(ph) (National Black MBA Association): My name is Chris Stokes. I'm from Indiana. Well, you know, finance for me in the public sectors probably one of the more volatile areas because everybody has failed in the crunch and that means state local governments are failing the same thing. Yeah, I'm interviewing for jobs here and that's the conversation that we're having in our interviews, are what's the certainty, degree of certainty that, you know, our industries still going to remain stable over the course of time. So we're seeing banks going - going under, so I've been apprehensive. I'm OK with the risk right now. I'm OK but I'm a different person. I don't have kids. I don't have a family so I'm probably not the prime person to talk to about not taking risk. I can take all the risk I'll have right now because it's just me.

Ms. SHELBY AIKENS(ph) (National Black MBA Association): Shelby Aikens. I work for a medical device company in sales. For the most part I'm pretty OK right now with where I am because I feel that I do work in health care, which is a recession-proof industry. And a lot of the companies downstairs - health care, pharmaceuticals, biotech - have said they've seen a surge in terms of people coming over trying to look for employment, especially from the financial sector.

I had a friend that went over to Burger King and she's in real estate finance, and they were like, we're very surprised, this is the seventh person we've had today in real estate coming over here. So people are looking into other opportunities now because of the financial meltdown on Wall Street.

I have friends that worked in hedge funds, work at Smith Barney. They're now trying to get into sales positions and they still have to start from the bottom layer, so...

Mr. PAUL CHARLES (National Black MBC Association): Hi, my name is Paul Charles. I'm from Houston, Texas and I'm the executive director of Neighborhood Recovery Community Development Corporation and the president of the Houston chapter of National Black MBA Association. One of the things that we also do is financial literacy, and we do home buyer training and we do homeownership counseling. And so we've actually had some families who were at that point, had job history, had credit history, had the down payment, had picked out the realtor, were picking up the house and lost the job.

MARTIN: These are some of the people our producers met at the National Black MBA Association Conference in Washington, which wrapped up on Sunday. This is Tell Me More from NPR News.

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