2018 Best & Brightest: Abdalla Al Fahham, Rutgers (Newark)

Abdalla Al Fahham

Rutgers Business School (Newark)

“I’m not afraid of new experiences when it comes to food, sports or traveling.”

Fun fact about yourself: Growing up, I moved to a new country almost every 3 years.

Hometown: North Brunswick, N.J.

High School: John P. Stevens High School

Major: Finance

Minor: Supply Chain Management

Favorite Business Course: Supply Chain Finance

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College: Co-president, Rutgers Finance Society; director of marketing, Rutgers Finance Society; participant with Sponsors of Educational Opportunity (SEO); participant in the Road to Wall Street program.

Where have you interned during your college career? Equity research summer analyst, Credit Suisse in New York City; Business valuation winter intern, Deloitte in New York City; Business development intern with a consulting start-up in New York City.

Where will you be working after graduation? LEAP finance associate, Univision

Who is your favorite professor? Choosing one professor is really hard since I’ve received help from various professors (I currently have three favorite professors: Lisa Kaplowitz, Kenneth Freeman and Francis Ng.) They were all able to teach me various skills, allowing me to learn from their mistakes.

What did you enjoy most about your business school? Going to Rutgers Business School has allowed me to meet people from various backgrounds, both culturally and professionally. I met some of my closest friends at Rutgers and I also met some of my most supportive mentors. It also taught me to work hard and to not allow any “disadvantages” to limit my potential. For example, some firms don’t recruit directly at Rutgers, but I was still able to land interviews and jobs with them.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? The main thing I gained are skills that are transferable to life. Studying business, and more specifically finance, has provided me with an understanding of why it’s important to save money, plan for retirement, invest and manage businesses.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Network, network, network. Talk to as many people as you can and have genuine conversations with no intended benefit. The connections you form can help you directly and indirectly in everything you do.

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in…culinary arts. I’ve always enjoyed cooking and baking. As a result, becoming a chef was my second choice after business school. Despite not majoring in culinary arts, I like to consider myself a foodie and an amateur chef.”

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? The importance of networking. My brothers are all engineering and science majors, so I was able to compare my business major to theirs. The main thing that stood out was the fact that majoring in business meant that I was taught the basics and expected to network my way into various industries (Networking was on the same priority as my classwork.) On the other hand, majoring in engineering meant that you learned specific technical skills to your field. They also network, but it wasn’t the highest priority. Obviously this depends on the industry you want to work in.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My parents, both engineers, influenced my decision to pursue a business degree. Seeing how I enjoyed my accounting class in high school, my parents helped introduce me to accountants and professionals who’d majored in business. This allowed me to learn more about what a business degree can do post-graduation.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of becoming the co-president of the Rutgers Finance Society. I’ve been involved with the club since my sophomore year. Becoming the co-president allowed me give back to Rutgers and the club. By hosting various events and workshops, I was able to help students develop themselves.

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the business school? I would add more non-business classes to the business major curriculum. Nowadays, companies look for individuals that are well-rounded and have the technical skills needed. As a result, taking non-business classes could help students solve problems differently and not be limited to traditional methods.

Which classmate do you most admire? Again, it’s really hard to pick just one classmate. A few of my classmates have become my close friends as I spent more time with them. The main things that I admired about them was their drive to break into certain industries where they had to network by sending 50 cold-emails per week (meaning reaching out to people that you don’t know). Ultimately, we helped each other stay motivated as we created a friendly yet competitive environment.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? As cheesy as it sounds, I’d like to thank a lot of people. I’d like to thank my parents for supporting me and always giving me advice based of their experience (although I didn’t always follow their advice); my mentors for helping me understand the finance industry, professors for teaching me the skills I needed to succeed; and the programs that helped me connect with other students (Such as Sponsors for Educational Opportunity).

What would your theme song be? “I Don’t Know My Name– Grace VanderWaal

The song perfectly describes life. Everyone tries to understand who they are and what they like as the years go by.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? Travel to 20 countries in five years. Learn a new language.

Favorite book: Who Moved My Cheese? by Dr. Spencer Johnson

Favorite movie: The Karate Kid

Favorite vacation spot: Southeast Asia

What are your hobbies? I like to be active in various ways, from weightlifting to soccer to martial arts. I also have a passion for food so I try to cook or eat as many new dishes as I can.

What made Abdalla such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2018?

“Abdalla Al Fahham served as co-president of the Rutgers Finance Society, where he took time to host programs to educate RBS students about the challenges of the finance world. Abdalla is very genuine and well respected by his peers. He was a TA in Business Forum, a role that allowed him to mentor students by sharing his experiences and offering advice. He interned at Credit Suisse as an Equity Analyst and received several offers from multinational companies. He is involved with the RBS community and continues to help others succeed when it comes to career development. I have no doubt he will continue to mentor as an alumnus.”

Wanda C. Mendez
Assistant Dean and Director,
Rutgers Business School, Newark Undergraduate Program
Office of Career Management