HAMPTON, Virginia – Hampton University alumnus Leonard Allen-Smith is a creative, natural born leader, entrepreneur and dedicated young man ready to take on the world. On Sunday, Allen-Smith will join his Hampton peers, once again, this time receiving his Masters of Business Administration. He graduated from Hampton in 2016 with his bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting.
While there are several factors that have led Allen-Smith to become the person he is, today, he attributes much of his success to Hampton’s Leadership Application Program within the 5-year MBA curriculum.
"I learned to grow as a leader, how to manage a team, and understand what it is going to look like when I transition into corporate America..."
Within the program he worked his way up the ranks and became co-president.
With the business skills learned at Hampton and a knack for photography, Allen-Smith launched his own company in March called Oscar Images LLC., a visual media business that provides still photography and videography for various events.
“I have a passion for building and running organizations. I find a lot of fun in that,” he said. I enjoy problem solving. Having set up a business, I realized you can run into quite a few problems, but it’s fun to work through it and develop people and solve problems along the way.”
Using his creativity Allen-Smith launched a campaign in February called “The Evolution.” It highlighted African-Americans currently making a difference in their community.
“Black History Month is always about people who are dead,” said Allen-Smith. “Their accomplishments have been monumental, but you also have to look at the future. What are people doing presently?”
Allen-Smith grew up in Hartsdale, New York with his parents and three older siblings. As the youngest in the family with two working parents, Allen-Smith learned to navigate life asking for little help. He says his parents always provided the resources and tools he needed, but never did his work for him.
Having spent his high school years attending an all-boys Catholic school with a predominantly white population, Hampton was not even on his radar. Allen-Smith’s great grandfather had attended Hampton Institute and was a bricklayer at the college in the early 1900s. He remembered filing through the archives at Hampton University’s historic museum during a visit in his early teens. Years later, he and his parents re-visited the campus, this time his parents were convinced that Hampton was the right fit.
“When I first got to Hampton, I was very close-minded to a lot of things,” said Allen-Smith.
By sophomore year he made the decision to get more involved. That’s when he said, “so many doors started opening up.”
Professors and leaders within the university began mentoring and guiding him. He began to take on internships. Allen-Smith also became a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, Inc.
After graduation, Allen-Smith has a long list of goals. His first stop, Africa, where he will pursue one of his many passions, photographing wildlife. He intends to return to New York for a brief period where he hopes to create financial literacy programs for underserved minorities in the community.
By October, Allen-Smith is to relocate to Connecticut, where he has accepted a position with the top accounting firm, KPMG.