• Thu. May 23rd, 2024

Why Financial Literacy And Wealth Management Matter For Black Students

In recent years, there has been an increase (61%) in wealth accumulation among African Americans. Despite this progress, the median net worth of African American households continues to lag behind that of White Americans. According to the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances, the average net worth of a Black family in 2022 was $44,900. This amount sharply contrasts with the median wealth of White families, which stood at $285,000 during the same period. Addressing this wealth disparity, BLK Capital Management (BLK), a Black-owned and student-run nonprofit, is actively working to narrow the wealth gap in the U.S.. The organization is dedicated to educating its members by providing exposure to active investment management, and enhancing financial literacy.

Created in 2017, BLK was founded by Angel Onuoha, Menelik Graham, and Drew Tucker. The students noticed a “glaring lack of diversity in their respective finance organizations at Harvard College and Princeton University, and in response, decided to create their own program.” The main goal of the organization today is to “elevate the financial literacy of Black students while providing a platform for exceptional individuals from universities worldwide to delve into the realms of investing and pursue rewarding careers within the financial services industry.”

Although the organization is focused on providing opportunities for Black students, according to Iman Adeobafemi, BLK’s Chief Marketing Officer, they place an emphasis on the multitude of identities within diversity and thus, they recruit a wide range of students. They tend to recruit students from a variety of backgrounds, skill sets and interests to create a highly inclusive community.

As a prerequisite for selection into BLK, each student completes a three-round, case-study interview process, which “highlights their passion for knowledge and ability to lead.” Once accepted, members learn about financial literacy and investment strategies. they are provided instruction in “equity research and stock pitching, … [as well as] industry analysis, security selection, accounting, business valuation, and presentation skills.” BLK also offers networking dinners, recruiting calls, professional workshops and finance summits to its members.

The organization also places a special emphasis on its women-identifying members. According to Adeobafemi, BLK provides dedicated support to women through women-centric events, a women’s alumni network, and specialized committees.

Adeobafemi also emphasized that BLK is experience-focused. Students gain experience through job placements and active participation in BLK’s hedge fund.

What stands out about BLK is that it is student-led, and engages in peer-to-peer learning. According to a study by Beth Alexander and colleagues, peer-to-peer learning results in increased engagement and higher levels of critical thinking. BLK provides the opportunity for students to learn together, in a hands-on manner, fostering long-term collaborations and a sense of trust that may just result in more wealth for African American individuals and households.


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