Student of the Month: Ahmad Abo Al-Borgol
Hometown: Damascus, Syria & Kuwait City, Kuwait
Major: Supply Chain Management
Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, and Sam Walton. Everyone knows the names of the most successful business people in the world today. From Apple to Amazon to Walmart, these companies have profoundly changed the way the world operates. One name that you may not recognize, but will eventually place among the great innovators of the 21st century is Ahmad Abo Al-Borgol.
A young entrepreneur born in Syria and raised in Kuwait, Ahmad is determined to “make the world a better place” during his lifetime. Born to Syrian parents in Damascus, Ahmad attended primary school in Kuwait City and enrolled in a high school exchange program which took him to New Hampshire where he developed a love for the East Coast and the US education system. Despite his aspiration to go to a college in New York City, the international recognition of Michigan State brought him to East Lansing.
Ahmad started his studies at MSU as a pre-med student pursuing a career as a surgeon. He says that he was encouraged to go into the medical field by his family and friends in Kuwait where high-achieving students are expected to become prestigious doctors. Ahmad was prepared for 10 years of education and dedicated himself to his studies, but he found that he was not enjoying the subject as much as he wanted to. Instead, Ahmad found himself fascinated by stories of successful business people who created revolutionary companies such as Steve Jobs and Apple.
Ahmad’s entrepreneurial spirit can be traced back to his father, who owns and operates a wholesale retail company in Kuwait. After graduating this spring, Ahmad is interested in going back to Kuwait to work for his father’s company where he hopes to gain valuable hands-on experience to boost his future MBA application. Ahmad wants to pursue an MBA from an Ivy League university because it would give him the option to pursue a competitive job in corporate America, however, his options are currently limited due to the recent immigration ban on Syrian citizens. On the bright side, however, Ahmad recognizes his unique position as a graduate from an American institution: “An education from the US is very valuable in Kuwait. It will provide me with a better lifestyle there compared to the same position in the United States.” An MBA will also give him the opportunity to learn to create and operate his own companies, which is his main goal and biggest aspiration.
Ahmad feels like he has finally become the person he was meant to be after changing his major to Supply Chain Management. His studies have taught him how to be successful, stay positive, and work with passion. Ahmad says that one of the best things anyone can do to be happier is to “always wake up in the morning expecting something good to happen.”
Another way Ahmad has changed over the last two years has been to read more. Ahmad hated reading as a child, but he has come to learn the benefits of diving into a good book written by or about his business role-models. He says that “Warren Buffet reads about 500 words a day, and if he could have any superpower in the world it would be to read faster.” A few books that Ahmad recommends to fellow business majors are The Marketing Blueprint, The Walmart Effect, and The Personal MBA.
Another tip that Ahmad recommends to all students is to follow social media accounts of people who are in their dream job or who are in positions that they see themselves holding in 10 years. “To get to where they are, you have to become that person. Many of these successful people are educated, talented, and good at spreading awareness and sharing their experiences with others.” Importantly, Ahmad also cautions against too much lust and envy. “Human beings look up to people that have more than them, not less than them. We need to look at where we are relative to other people and be thankful for what we have. You won’t be able to go higher if you don’t understand where you are and how you got there.”
To be successful, Ahmad stresses the importance of being passionate. “Go after what you are really passionate about because that is what you are going to excel in. You’ll wake up every day with energy and new ideas and that will make you succeed.” In hindsight, Ahmad wishes that he would have learned this before he came to Michigan State. “If I were to change anything, I would have come to Michigan State to study what I am passionate about – business, not medicine.”
Ahmad has also been heavily involved in campus organizations during his time at MSU. He was the Director of Consulting for the General Management Association where he learned to work with local businesses in East Lansing and was introduced to the process of corporate consulting. Ahmad eventually became External Vice President for the organization and orchestrated some structural changes that he thought would benefit the efficiency of the organization. Ahmad also joined the Arab Culture Society as their ASMSU Representative, effectively representing Arab students in the student government. Again, he eventually became VP for this organization. Ahmad’s most recent endeavor was with Students Organized for Syria and their Books Not Bombs Campaign. This effort aims to provide scholarships to students displaced by the Syrian Civil War.
All students – international and domestic alike – should consider Ahmad as an example of what is possible when you chase your dreams. “I don’t want to regret anything when I am 80 years old,” says Ahmad, “I want to leave a mark and achieve something great.” Ahmad claims “opportunities come to people every single day, but sometimes we look so long at the doors that have closed, that we do not see the ones that open for us.” Opportunity is everywhere. Follow your passions, keep your head up and your eyes open. You too can leave your mark on the world.