The Hispanic Business Student Association (HBSA) is on a mission to promote a space of fellowship and inclusivity where students can develop career skills.
The organization was created by a group of students in the McCoy College of Business in the 1990s who desired to see more Hispanic representation in the professional business industry.
HBSA encourages diversity and provides career advice in and out of its meetings. Members said HBSA has given them opportunities that have presented them with a head start in their career paths.
"I think that HBSA is really, really great when it comes to preparing for the future, especially when it comes to promoting Latinos in corporate America," said Sofia Pinto, an applied sociology senior. "I think that when it comes to who we bring in, not only from companies, we also work with people directly within Texas State like professors and Career Services. And so, it's just a really great organization."
Pinto joined HBSA after she transferred to Texas State her junior year. During that time, she served as the director of public relations, a job she said was tough to have during a pandemic as she was responsible for planning social events. Despite the obstacle, she fostered culture and friendships within the organization.
"You can have that connection with somebody based off of the culture and then it just helped me really to meet more people at Texas State, create really, really great friendships. I've met some of my best friends through the organization," Pinto said. "And within the leadership position that I was in with the executive council — I never saw myself as actually being somebody who could do something like that. And then HBSA kind of gave me the confidence in myself to kind of just do it."
Besides the personal connections built within HBSA, there are networking opportunities available to its members. HBSA meetings feature speakers like entrepreneurs and corporate representatives from companies like Charles Schwab, Cintas and Caterpillar to talk about their company, job opportunities and give advice on things like resume building and interview tips.
Jerry Gonzalez, a management senior, said thanks to the networking opportunities presented to him by HBSA, he's in the interview process for Cintas, a company he's been interested in since 2019.
For him, hearing from speakers at meetings and HBSA's corporate trips has given him the confidence, professional skills and connections to accomplish his career goals.
"We get to meet these amazing [Latino CEOs] and it's important for us to realize that we can be that and this organization helps you get there you know, it provides you resources for the future, and you've got to get them and take them with you and put them out in the real world," Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez joined HBSA in fall 2019. Being an active member led to him being appointed as the director of fundraising and then HBSA's president for the 2020-2021 academic year. He said HBSA has helped shaped the direction of his future career endeavors.
"You know, before college, I didn't know what I wanted to do. And so, bringing in these recruiters and representatives from these companies, and telling you, their values, what they, what they're looking for, you know," Gonzalez said. "I'm here at this point, because of HBSA, because of the networking opportunities, and I think it's important to have those connections."
HBSA membership is not limited to business majors and Hispanic students. Pinto said it's important to be inclusive because it helps build relationships within the organization.
"Since we are open to everyone, I think it gives us the opportunity to kind of show our Latinidad in a way because it's about being warm and welcoming and just being there for someone should they need you and just wanting to be a helpful person at the end of the day," Pinto said.
Pinto is in the process of preparing for a spring internship, filling out job applications and polishing her LinkedIn profile. HBSA has helped her work toward her ultimate goals of working in human resources and eventually in leadership training and career advancement.
Similarly, Ron Handsel, a business management senior and HBSA's director of digital media, said the organization and its resources helped him get his foot in the door at a commercial real estate services firm in Austin.
"They helped me get from not knowing what I was doing at all to being, you know, this far into the interview process, as well as building connections and kind of getting to ask questions [to] other members about their experiences," Handsel said. "Without HSBA, I definitely would not be there."
As of 2017, Hispanic Americans made up 17% of the workforce. However, only 4% was comprised of company executive officials. Cristal Rodriguez, a marketing junior and vice president of HBSA said seeing someone with whom some of the members share a similar background motivates and inspires them.
For her, it is important to see the diversity promoted within HBSA translate to the real world as she and her peers take on internships and step into their careers.
"I feel like you don't see a lot of like Latino people out in especially like these big companies," Rodriguez said. "So just having them come talk to us gives us like a sense of inspiration and motivation that like we're gonna get there someday. And like, these people are here now telling us that we can get there, that they're offering their support."
As HBSA continues to welcome new members, the officers and members hope their organization can be the place where students can feel safe, supported and prepared for whatever their career goals are.
"It's kind of easy to just get lost in the crowds, you know. You're just doing your own thing," Handsel said. "Inviting people to come out and they might be a little hesitant about it, but then coming to meetings, or socials or whatever it may be, and kind of showing them that there is a group that welcomes them, friends, business connections, you know, just every facet of what we offer and kind of seeing them go from shy and reserved to even joining a group like [executive council] ... is just a good feeling."
For more information on the Hispanic Business Student Association, visit its Instagram @hbsatxstate.