Every November, several of the nation’s most impressive college students gather in Columbus, Ohio, for a career-defining experience. Hosted by The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business, the KeyBank Undergraduate Symposium invites participating universities to nominate the top standout students from ethnically underrepresented groups. A total of 37 students attended the 12th annual symposium this year, representing 22 universities from across the country.

The purpose of the symposium is to provide distinguished minority students with the tools to excel, both personally and professionally. This event is a collaborative effort between KeyBank and the Fisher College of Business to help develop the leaders of tomorrow and is an example of KeyBank’s continued efforts to increase diversity in business.

Over the course of the weekend, attendees took part in workshops covering a variety of topics, including leadership, building a personal brand and financial modeling. The undergrads also engaged in a case competition, using both their education and the information gathered over the weekend. Preselected teams for the competition challenged students from different universities to work together effectively.

Lauren Hurley (second from left) and her team earned first place at the KeyBank Undergraduate Symposium.

This year, the Broad College selected Lauren Hurley, a junior studying human resource management, and Gerardo Lucena, a junior studying supply chain management, to attend the symposium. Hurley and Lucena showcased the caliber of Broad College students by bringing home several awards.

Hurley and the four other students on her team earned first place in the competition; Hurley was also one of two students earning the Best Presenter Award. Lucena and his team won second place.

Both Lucena and Hurley are active in leadership roles in the Broad student community. “For the last five years, Multicultural Business Programs have sponsored presidents from MBP student organizations to participate in the competition,” said Ernest Betts, assistant dean for Multicultural Business Programs.

Hurley, president of Multicultural Business Students, is also an active member of Native American and Hispanic Business Students and the Women in Business Students Association.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect from the event, but after I arrived, I was amazed by the amount of talent that was in every room,” she said. “This unforgettable weekend opened my eyes up to what I am capable of and helped me to better understand my weaknesses and refine my strengths.”

Gerardo Lucena (left) and his team brought home second place at the KeyBank Undergraduate Symposium.

Lucena is a member of several groups, such as Spartans Rebuilding Michigan and the National Association of Black Accountants, and is president of NAHBS. “What I find most rewarding about this position is the people,” he said. “This organization strives to provide students of any background with a welcoming and familial group of individuals dedicated to the student’s success…. I see these people as my dear friends and family at MSU.”

Lucena also spoke on the impact the experience had on him, noting that it taught him leadership skills and strengthened his skill set. “What I enjoyed most about the symposium was the people I met. Not only did I have the opportunity to network and work with 36 other student leaders in their respective universities/colleges, but I was able to come back from that experience with a new group of friends,” he said.

Students such as Hurley and Lucena illustrate the Broad College’s continued dedication to diversity and inclusion. Their efforts to better their student community and their success at the KeyBank Symposium serve as examples of how Broad students are leaders in everything they do.