In 1961, when the College of Business Administration was only 12 years old, no direct lines of communication existed between the college and the Hawaii business community. Except for what was printed in textbooks and newspapers, professionals and business students were virtually complete strangers to each other. There was a desperate need for a formal program to link the two.
With the cooperation and support of the Chamber of Commerce, Business Week was born. A week-long schedule of activities was designed to bring students, faculty, and business professionals into direct contact with each other. The highlights included a tour of the College of Business (then located in Hawai`i Hall), seminars and an awards banquet at the Ala Moana Banquet Hall. Although the turnout was small, the foundation of the bridge was built.
By 1966, Business Week had been shortened to three days. Beginning on a Wednesday morning, a Miss Business contest was held to select a queen to preside over the week's festivities. In the afternoon, each of the various business clubs (Accounting Club, Alpha Beta Chi, Commerce Club, and Pi Sigma Epsilon) presented speakers and seminars during what was known as "Organization Day." Thursday's activities included a Coffee Hour with students, faculty, and professionals, and a continuation of "Organization Day." On Friday, an awards banquet and dance was held. Turnout was still poor, and a serious evolution of the program was undertaken.
The year 1967 marked a milestone in Business Night history. In an effort to increase participation and make the program more meaningful, Business Week was shortened to one day and the concept of one-to-one matching was introduced. Beginning in the afternoon, business classes were cancelled and all business students were encouraged to participate in seminar/discussion groups featuring professionals as discussion leaders. That night, students and professionals were matched one-to-one according to their interest areas and were provided the opportunity to informally engage in open discussions during the annual Business Day Awards Banquet.
Business Night, as we know it today, began in 1969 when the afternoon portion of the Business Week program was dropped. Since then, the program has continued to flourish, with students having the major responsibility for its planning and organization.
Today, more than 500 professionals, students, faculty and staff members are involved in this annual event. The bridge established between the College of Business Administration, the School of Travel Industry Management and the Hawaii business community continues to grow and is reinforced by Business Night.