In 2006, already at work on his degree in business administration, Mohamed Rashed made the daunting decision to leave his home in Egypt and move to the United States. He arrived with little English skills, but enrolled in UW Tacoma just the next year. By 2011, he had graduated with dual Bachelors degrees in Politics and International Business, and then went on to Eastern Washington University for 2 Masters degrees in Business and Public Administration. Today, Mohamed is a Ph.D. candidate in Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University, alongside working as a newly-hired Vice President and Branch Manager at Banner Bank in Spokane, WA and teaching financial literacy to refugees through World Relief.
We caught up with Mohamed recently to learn more about his numerous accomplishments and his perspective on his time at UW Tacoma.
Describing his experience at UW Tacoma, Mohamed remembers the faculty at UW Tacoma for expecting and encouraging the best from their students. He also praises the community’s resources for English language learners, and credits his coursework with improving his writing, presentations, and professionalism. Mohamed found a lifelong mentor here, Dr. Turan Kayaoglu, when he registered for an elective course. Now he credits Dr. Kayaoglu with his ability to push past his comfort zone in work and academia, including the decision to earn a second Bachelors in Politics alongside International Business. “What stood out the most to me was how much [Dr. Kayaoglu] cared about the individuals he comes across and the tremendous amount of encouragement that he provided to students…. Dr. Kayaoglu become an education mentor and someone that I look up to and seek not only education but also life and career advice from.”
Even with encouragement, earning dual Bachelors and dual Masters degrees in just seven years wasn’t easy – Mohamed even began his career in banking while still enrolled at UW Tacoma. Asked about some challenges he’s faced, Mohamed said, “I could write a book.” He adds, “[I]f I was not always ready and always working on developing myself and being committed to a particular goal, I would not have gone this far in my career…. With every career move, I had to be performing the best amongst my peers to be able to get to the next level due to the nature of the business…. Being active with goal setting, committed to a plan, leading by example as a servant leader, and learning from past mistakes were key elements in my career development.”
Mohamed’s advice for students entering the workforce or pursuing higher education is this: “Try not to wait too long to decide on what you would like to do in the future, career or education wise. And start with taking steps towards it right away. An entry level position somewhere is the first step towards a career. Also, an elective class to try a field out is the first step towards deciding what degree to pursue. Take that step forward immediately.”
Mohamed certainly practices what he preaches. We congratulate him on his hard work and many successes!