By Keisa Sharpe-Jefferson
The Birmingham Times
Aleah Robinson, a graduate of Ramsay High School and Alabama State University (ASU), is among those in the Birmingham area to watch in 2024.
The 22-year-old graduated from ASU in December with one of the first Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degrees awarded since that program was announced at the school in May 2022.
Administrators at ASU said Robinson is among the “very best and the brightest” to graduate from the institution.
“Ms. Robinson is a standout student-scholar and personality in every sense that can be obtained and understood,” said Kamal Hingorani, Ph.D., dean of the Percy J. Vaughn College of Business Administration (COBA). “She is among the very best students, both academically and socially, which we have had in my memory as the administrator of COBA.”
Looking ahead to the new year, the Birmingham native plans to build on the momentum from 2023, a year she received not one but two postsecondary education degrees.
Last May, Robinson was crowned Miss ASU 2022–2023, the same month she received her Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in accounting. She was recently hired at one of the world’s top-four financial services and accounting firms, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, in their Birmingham office, where she previously interned and is now “training as an audit accountant, potentially getting into consulting.”
Robinson is also working in a contracted position with Impressions of Beauty, a multicultural marketing company that focuses on historically Black college and university (HBCU) students to ensure [that its] brand partners’ products and messaging are shared with the right audience at the right time.
In her role as a student programming coordinator for the company, Robinson contacts and stays connected with students, “especially as a recent grad,” she said, explaining that she connects multicultural marketing agencies with students in HBCU communities.
“Do Something Big”
For someone who didn’t know what she wanted to do when she was younger, Robinson has made a lot of strides. She credits her faith in God, her family, and a strong work ethic with helping her set and reach goals. Her parents, Richard and Brunetta Robinson, and older sister, Taniya Robinson, 25, who works as a nurse at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), helped lay a foundation, she said.
“When I was growing up, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. I knew who I wanted to be. I knew I wanted to do something big,” she said.
She also credits her high school and attending an HBCU for helping her to achieve. While at Ramsay from 2015 to 2019, she was Student Government Association (SGA) president during her senior year. During that time, she recognized that she had a love for business.
One Year, Two Degrees
At ASU, Robinson earned her accounting degree in three and a half years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “I was able to take a lot of undergraduate courses,” she said. “I doubled up on my courses, actually, because [students] were at home [during the pandemic].”
Even though she had completed her course work for accounting in less than the standard four years, Robinson couldn’t leave the school because she had been named Miss ASU during the 2022–2023 academic year.
“So, I asked my dean if I could begin the master’s program as an undergrad student,” she said. “They allowed me to take three graduate courses while I was an undergrad, [starting in January 2023]. In doing so, it put me ahead of the grad school schedule.”
Robinson began her M.B.A. coursework, a yearlong program, in January 2023 and continued studying through the summer and fall semesters. She graduated with her degree on Dec. 1, 2023.
While pursuing her M.B.A., Robinson represented the university as Miss ASU, speaking to high school and other students: “It allowed me to serve the school in a great capacity by setting a good example for high school students and others to attend [ASU] and for current students to continue their studies, graduate, and hopefully do so with good grades,” she said.
Robinson added, “[While attending ASU], I was exposed to a lot of things, like going on set at TV One, [a network that features lifestyle and entertainment directed primarily toward African American viewers]. I met a lot of producers, and I filmed with [the Black Entertainment Television (BET) network] for ‘College Hill: Celebrity Edition,’ [a spinoff of the BET reality show, ‘College Hill,’ featuring celebrities living together and attending an HBCU].”
The dual-degree holder also moderated a panel discussion in November 2022 for the premier of “College Hill: Celebrity Edition” on the ASU campus.
“[The producers] told me, ‘Since you like business and entertainment, we have that here,’” Robinson said. “My experience as Miss ASU while at my HBCU exposed me to a lot.”
A Bright Future
When she’s not working, Robinson enjoys volunteering, traveling and hanging out with friends.
As for the future, Robinson, who’s also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., said, “My primary focus is business operations, so I would like to work for a Fortune 500 company in the entertainment industry because that’s where my passion is. My ultimate goal is to work for BET or Tyler Perry Studios, [an Atlanta, Georgia-based film production studio founded by actor, filmmaker, and playwright Tyler Perry].”
That role would mostly involve managing the day-to-day operations within an entity, Robinson said, adding that her current work will duly prepare her.
“Accounting is the lifeline of a business, so that puts me in the forefront knowing how operations and budgeting work,” she said. “I can use that when I go into business operations because money is essentially how business runs.”
And although she’s expressed her future goals in business operations, Robinson is open to change.
“I’m keeping my end goal open and bright for whatever God has for me,” she said. “I want to be a purpose-driven boss, … and I don’t take that lightly. But whatever direction God has called me into, that’s where I’m going.”