This year, students from Morgan State University, Coppin State University and Bowie State University competed in the second annual competition. (Courtesy photo)

By AFRO Staff

Moguls in the Making, a business plan pitch competition that offers Historically Black College and University (HBCU) students an opportunity to learn and practice vital skills, took place virtually on Oct. 8 through Oct. 11. This second annual competition is presented by Ally Financial, Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) and entertainer and entrepreneur Big Sean’s foundation, the Sean Anderson Foundation (SAF). The event will showcase the diversity of ideas, thoughts and experiences these students can offer the business world.

Moguls in the Making gives 50 students, grouped into teams of five from 10 HBCUs, an opportunity to develop and present business plans aimed at solving key issues in the context of today’s economic and social climate. Winners receive scholarships and internship opportunities with Ally.

Six of the 2019 Moguls in the Making participants have joined Ally as full-time employees.

“Moguls in the Making is an impactful way to celebrate the talent of HBCU students and to support a diverse pipeline of candidates whose contributions are critical to making both our company and our communities stronger,” said Ally Financial CEO Jeffrey J. Brown. “I am inspired by what this program has helped us achieve and hope it can serve as a model for other organizations seeking to identify and nurture diverse talent in their businesses, as well. Our continued work with TMCF and HBCUs across our nation is a key element of our continued focus on creating a world-class culture that celebrates the power of diversity and inclusion. We are firm believers that if we can advance our company, we can advance our nation, too.”

The business case for diverse workforces is clear: in 2019, companies in the upper quartile of ethnic and cultural diversity of their executive teams outperformed those in the fourth quartile by 36 percent in profitability.

The Moguls in the Making program has already helped Ally expand its diverse pool of young talent, while amplifying awareness of the vital role HBCUs play in building Black middle and upper classes. HBCUs are responsible for 22 percent of current Black bachelor degrees and, despite the fact that HBCUs account for just 3 percent of four-year nonprofit colleges, their alumni account for roughly 80 percent of Black judges, 50 percent of Black lawyers and doctors, and their students account for 25 percent of Black undergraduates who earn degrees in STEM.

Ally is a 14-year supporter of TMCF, the nation’s largest organization exclusively representing the Black college community. TMCF also recognized Ally’s Jeffrey Brown as CEO of the Year in 2019. For last year’s Moguls in the Making competition, the two organizations teamed up for the first time with the Sean Anderson Foundation, which is dedicated to improving the education, health, safety and well-being of school-aged youth and their families.

“We are excited to work with Ally Financial and the Sean Anderson Foundation once again, to showcase the genius and talent of our HBCU students,” said Harry L. Williams, President & CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. “Moguls in the Making is a unique opportunity that will provide our students with the opportunity to excel in the business world.” 

“I’m proud to be a part of this program with Ally – I hope we stay at this for years to come,” said Big Sean. “It’s exciting to positively impact these students’ lives from all over the country, who are the next generation of forward thinkers, and to see them step into their power and work as a unit successfully.”