2018 Best & Brightest: Abiel Zewolday, University of Washington (Foster)

Abiel Zewolday

University of Washington (Foster)

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Eritrean-American child of immigrants optimistic about the future and eager to take on the world.

Fun fact about yourself: I love traveling and just in the past year have traveled to Japan, England, Germany, and Spain.

Hometown: Edmonds, Washington

High School: Edmonds-Woodway High School

Major: Business Administration – Information Systems & Marketing

Favorite Business Course: MKTG 445 Multicultural Marketing and Business Development

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Extracurricular
    • Association of Black Business Students
    • National Association of Black Accountants
    • Lavin Entrepreneurship Program
  • Community Work
    • Student Representative on Foster’s Diversity Committee
    • Mentor in the Young Executives of Color Program
    • Serve as a Deacon and Youth Leader at my Church
  • Leadership
    • Former President of the Association of Black Business Students

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Concur (Bellevue, Washington) – IT Project Management Intern
  • EY (Seattle, Washington) – Launch Intern
  • Onpoint Real Estate Service (Seattle, Washington) – Marketing Intern
  • Apple (Cupertino, California) – Worldwide Logistics Finance Intern

Where will you be working after graduation? Apple – Working in the Finance Rotation Program

Who is your favorite professor? I actually have three favorite Professors/Instructors and classes:

Abhishek Borah and his Marketing 301 class:  He made me love marketing.

Liz Tinkham and her Marketing 445 class: She was so authentic and gave us so many tools to be successful in our careers.

Jack Rhodes and his Marketing 430 class: Jack poured years of wisdom and knowledge onto us.

What did you enjoy most about your business school? The people. The relationships I have fostered here will be lifelong friendships.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? The single most important thing in determining one’s success in business is their attitude. If they have a positive can-do attitude, it will get them through anything in business and will open doors of opportunity for them.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Really question why you’re getting into business. You need to be passionate about it. It needs to get you excited. Don’t do this for the money or the lifestyle because you will be miserable not doing something you’re truly passionate about.

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in or studying…Outside of business, I’m a huge tech guy so most likely informatics or human-centered design and engineering.”

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? The number of group projects. Never would have imagined the number of group projects that I would be doing in business school. Although they have been a lot, they have been extremely valuable in understanding team dynamics and how to work with others.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My grandfather. He grew up in a rural village in Eritrea, and through his hustle and determination, went from selling produce for change to owning a store and charter buses that crossed all over the country.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of being awarded the Accenture Student Consultant of the Year award this past December. Being recognized amongst my amazing and talented peers was a blessing, and it motivated me to work even harder.

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the business school? I would make it more diverse. We have a lack of diversity in our business school and I would create solutions to ensure we had proper representation in our classrooms.

Which classmate do you most admire? I actually admire a group of classmates: My close group of friends whom I started college with. We all worked tirelessly and helped each other get into business school. The moment we all got our decision letters there was no better feeling than seeing all of us get in.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My parents. They sacrificed everything so that my sister and I can be in the positions that we are in today.

What would your theme song be? Right now, it’s Drake’s “God’s Plan”. I find it as motivation to always give back and to be appreciative of what God has blessed me with.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  • Getting my Pilots license and flying an airplane on my own.
  • Racing one of my favorite sports cars in Germany’s Nurburgring.

Favorite book: The Bible

Favorite movie: Rush Hour

Favorite vacation spot: Eritrea

What are your hobbies?

  • I love editing and making videos and recently started a vlog channel called “imAbiel” to capture my college experience.
  • I also am a huge car enthusiast and spend a lot of time researching and checking out cars.

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

“I have supervised, collaborated with and observed Abiel  Zewolday in numerous roles including as a two-time Young Executives of Color (YEOC) Mentor, the Undergraduate Representative for the Foster School Diversity Committee, President of the Association of Black Business Students and intern for a number of impressive, international companies including Microsoft, Ernst & Young (EY) and Apple.

Abiel is not only immensely successful as a student and young professional, but also already an ambassador of the University and its commitment to equitable access of higher education.

The child of Eritrean immigrants and an underrepresented minority in this country, Abiel has personally overcome much adversity and has continuously utilized those experiences to motivate young people looking up to him, and current professionals alike. In this light, just in the past academic quarter, Abiel has mentored high school students in their pursuit of college admission, spoke to the UW’s Central Advancement team on the importance of diversity programs like YEOC, and also helped organize the first ever Foster School Diversity Forum to the tune of 120 attendees. I am confident he will change the world.”

Andy Marzano
Associate Director
Undergraduate Diversity Services
Michael G. Foster School of Business



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