20th Anniverary Interview: Barry Shiflett

ImageBarry is a retired professional, formerly Executive Director of Career Management Services at Florida International University College of Business. He is a former board member of MBA CSEA and chaired the first standalone conference for the organization in 2001 in Atlanta, GA. Barry is a former recipient of the MBA CSEA Service Award for Significant Contributions Over Time.

1.       When and why did you first become involved with the organization?

I attended my first MBA CSC conference in 1994/95 time frame after becoming the director of MBA/MS career services at the Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University in August 1993.  The conference I attended was in Chicago.  I did not know anyone other than from Emory so it was a learning experience for me.  I ran for the board the following year but was not elected.  Jackie Wilbur at that time was at George Washington University and reached out to me later about staying involved which I did.  I was elected to the board for the first time in 2000-2001 for a two year term.

2.       You chaired our first standalone conference in 2001. What was going on in the industry at that time? In the job market?

Prior to the April 2001 the conference was held as a piggy back conference to either GMAC or AACSB.  No employers held membership in MBA CSC but a few received a special invite from the Board.  The 2000 conference was held in San Diego with AACSB.  At the conclusion of that conference I and others felt it might be time to try our own conference.  I volunteered to chair the conference in Atlanta, Georgia for an April date.  There was concern from the outset whether we could pull off our own conference without using up what little money we had.  The conference was a success with around 200 in attendance and a $30K profit for the organization.  We never looked back after that conference.  I was again elected to the Board in 2002-2003 for my final two year term.

3.       What was is like planning the first conference? How big was the conference committee?

For the 2001 conference most of the conference was planned utilizing my staff with input from the Board due to location.  The location was the Swiss Hotel (no longer there) in Buckhead.  I used employers from Atlanta to be keynote speakers and hired a member of the Miss State University Co-op Office to handle registration.  Fees were payable to MBA CSC.  While a lot of time and effort went into the conference it was a turning point in the history of the organization and look where we are today with the growth of employers as members and a global outreach.

Final thoughts to those in attendance:  Meet people you do not know; Get involved.  You will not be sorry.

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