Interviewer: Daniel King
Q: Could you give us a little bit of background on who you are and what you do?
Gilbert: I am 24 years old, from Gary, Indiana, and I graduated from Xavier University in Cincinnati in 2014 with a BSBA in Marketing with a concentration in International Business. I currently work at Total Quality Logistics as a Level Two Operational Sales Manager.
Q: What were some course in college (electives or not) did you find most favorable to your growth as a member of the business world?
- Introduction to Law: Business is multi faceted, and it has to be inter disciplinary. So people with a lot of different backgrounds come together to accomplish one goal.
- All Philosophy Courses: Philosophy taught me to think critically, to analyze, and to ask the tough questions.
- Managerial communications: Managerial Communications taught me how to communicate my needs and the Businesses needs effectively.
- Ethics and Marketing: Ethics and Marketing taught me about the thin line, very thin line, between advertising and abuse. Making sure that the message is tailored to all the cultures and demographics that it’s meant for without offending anybody.
- Legal Environment of Business: Legal Environment of Business taught me to make sure to know your business inside and out. Because HR and legal are very intertwined in business.
Q: Did you have any favorable/unfavorable internships that have affected your business decisions, or path?
Gilbert: Yes I have two of them!
- My internship with the Gary Health Department as a marketing Analytics intern. I loved it because I had creative control, and it was just fun. I presented to the board of directors, and I solved a problem. Which is what business is!
- My other Internship as a HR/Talent development intern at Kroger. I just loved everything about it. Free reign of creativity. I got to meet top executives at the company. I was basically the first intern on a project for a Billion Dollar Company that was the creation of department for the company. I meet alot of other interns and did alot of networking. It was a lot of fun.
Q: As a black man in the business world, did you find any Barriers to entry?
Gilbert: Yeah. Well they weren’t barriers, they were more like detours. For example, Company Policy Issues: I had to cut my dreadlocks that I’ve been growing since middle school because the company thought it was unprofessional. The lack of communication for certain events/projects. I would often have to catch myself up.
Q: What does being black in today’s Business World mean to you?
Gilbert: It means that being black and Excellence have to be synonymous if you are to meet the goals that you set for yourself, and the goals that your company and position demand of you.
Q: Through you college/professional career, did you have any Interactions with Top people (Management, CEO, CFO) that affected your business path?
Gilbert: Yes! at my HR internship with Kroger. My direct manager said that I seemed like an excellent candidate for an HR position.
The hardest thing that I had to do was talk to people. This was the worst at the Gary Health Department. Some of my research was limited because of certain laws that prohibited me from certain information.
Q: Do you have any Words of Wisdom/Advice for people of color starting/developing their career in Business?
- Always be strategic, be it in your career or in the career that you want. always have a plan.
- Always check your nerves before big presentations and before big reports before anything.
- Say yes to yourself, and trust your gut.
- Be open to new experiences, and to others perspectives. be forthright to conflict.
- Be the smartest person in the room.