College scholars prepare to compete, take part in annual leadership conference


COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – While it may not be in the classroom, some of the best and brightest students from across the state are being tested.

For the seventh year in a row, Mississippi University for Women is hosting the Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda State Leadership Conference.

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Nearly 150 students are competing in more than 50 business, legal and leadership-oriented competitions.

The top two finishers in each competition will go on to compete in nationals which will take place this summer in Salt Lake City, Utah.

University leaders said the conference helps students develop their networking skills, and also gives them a glimpse into the business world.

“If they’re the number one student in the state in principles in marketing, then that looks wonderful when they’re going out into a job interview,” said Thomas Haffey, marketing and management instructor and PBL Chapter Adviser at MUW. “They’re adding on their resume, not only do I have this degree, but I’ve been proven that I am good at this job, that I am good in this field.”

“It gets you to know the students from other colleges and let’s you network,” said Justin Wilcher, State PBL President. “It also allows you to create bonds that last for a lifetime throughout the state of Mississippi. It provides you connections, especially coming towards jobs and so forth, if you want to put your email out there or your face out there with other individuals, you’ll have a wide range throughout the state of Mississippi for connections you can make to advance your career.”

Dr. Rita Felton, the first African-American female to serve as the senior enlisted adviser reporting to the Wing Commander, was the keynote speaker during Wednesday’s opening ceremony.

The conference wraps up Friday with an awards ceremony.