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Mohammad Bishawi has majored in accounting, history and politics, philosophy and law (PPL) while at Binghamton University.
Photo by Jonathan Cohen
Commencement 2015 profile: Mohammad Bishawi
May 12, 2015Tweet
Mohammad Bishawi’s secret to success is simple.
“In my years at Binghamton, one thing I’ve learned is that the best things come from just saying ‘yes,’” he said.
The triple major in accounting; politics, philosophy and law (PPL); and history first said “yes” his freshman year, when he was accepted into the Emerging Leaders Program (ELP), where incoming freshman and transfer students are offered a unique learning opportunity that equips them with classroom skills, while engaging them in the local community.
“When I first learned about ELP, the idea of being a good team player really appealed to me,” the 22-year-old from Poughkeepsie said. “From early on I was exposed to people in a number of different majors. Working alongside students in Watson and Decker was a new experience that really showed me what this campus has to offer in terms of intellectual and cultural diversity. I knew right away this program [ELP] would be a good way to start making an impact from the beginning of my college career.”
In his freshman year, Bishawi became president of Cayuga Hall by running on a platform comprised of diversity and inclusivity. The following year, he was hired as a resident assistant in Mohawk Hall.
“I was one of the youngest RAs on staff, and the residents on my floor were older than me, so I really had to work had at being a leader,” Bishawi said. “I also learned how to ask for help when I needed it.”
Bishawi began working at the Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development as a student-faculty scholar. In the Fleishman Center he also served as a marketing specialist and currently is a member of the employer relations team.
Initially intending to pursue a career in business law, Bishawi also became involved in the Student Conduct Board as a pre-hearing educator, where he helped students understand the conduct process and bolstered the learning outcome of the procedures.
During a summer internship at a law firm, however, Bishawi started to have second thoughts about pursuing a career in law.
“I’ve always been fascinated by business,” Bishawi said. “I had an internship at a law firm and next to the firm was a bank, where they did a lot of bankruptcy, as well as merger and acquisition work. It began to be obvious that I was more interested in the transactions as opposed to the actual legal work.”
After much deliberation and seeking input from advising staff in Harpur, the School of Management and the Fleishman Center, Bishawi decided to enroll in SOM, while still completing his two Harpur majors.
“I saw how highly ranked SOM was, and how well respected the faculty members were. I wanted a challenge and I wanted to become a better person, and I saw an opportunity to do that by saying ‘yes’ to SOM,” Bishawi said.
Admittedly, being a triple major and taking some of the hardest classes in his majors at the same time was a bit of a challenge and overwhelming. Bishawi prioritized his time and maintained a positive spirit toward learning. His focus also included finding an internship, which unexpectedly led to taking on a full-time paid spring 2014 semester internship at Big-Four accounting firm EY in New York City.
Bishawi said he felt his hard work had come to fruition when this past fall he accepted a full-time job offer at EY on the assurance audit staff in banks and capital markets. He will start at EY later this summer.
One of Bishawi’s proudest moments was receiving the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, an accolade that recognizes SUNY students who have integrated academic excellence with other aspects of their lives such as leadership, campus involvement, athletics or career achievement.
“Don’t forget those who helped you out,” Bishawi said. “People will start to see you as a role model, so give back. Don’t be scared to work hard for something you want, or step out of your comfort zone, and don’t be afraid to say ‘yes.’”