University of Pittsburgh College of Business Administration
“Self-certified home chef, with a passion for making people feel at home with one bite.”
Fun fact about yourself: I am currently fostering two amazing cats my in final semester.
Hometown: Silver Spring, MD
High School: Paint Branch High School
Minor: Economics | Business Analytics (Certificate)
Favorite Business Course: Valuation
Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College: During high school, I concentrated on a select number of extracurricular activities. I did not want to repeat the same habit entering my freshman year. I looked to many different clubs to try to build a community of friends and broaden my frame of mind. I have been able to be a part of national organizations as well as on-campus groups such as:
- Executive Vice President for Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Fraternity
- Equity Research Analyst for BLK Capital Management
- Success Fellow – Investment Banking for SEO Career
- Junior Analyst for Panther Equity
- Professional Development Consultant for the Pitt Business Career Center
- Recipient of the Paul J. Hanna Fund Scholarship
Where have you interned during your college career?
- Investment Banking Summer Analyst at Bank of America (New York, NY)
- Consumer Banking Summer Analyst at JP Morgan Chase & Co. (Washington D.C.)
- Endowment Spring Analyst at the University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA)
Where will you be working after graduation? This summer I will continue to work with Bank of America as an Investment Banking Analyst in their New York office.
What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? Soft skills are just as important if not more important than technical skills in the long term. With enough training, you can teach anyone analytical skills. However, the ability to relate to others and effectively communicate is learned over your lifetime. The university is aware of this as well, which is why all business students take communication classes to improve verbal and written communication. We also take Organizational Behavior, a course that allows us to grasp a better understanding of how people interact in groups given different situations. I constantly used these skills during my most recent internship at Bank of America. Understanding the products we were using was difficult for the first week or two. However, the hard part was being able to effectively show my team that I understood the role and the industry. Over the course of the summer, I would talk to people every day about market trends and ongoing deals. Being able to clearly articulate topics was integral to establishing relationships with members of my team.
What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? My advice would be to figure out your strengths that most align with your interests. Figuring out your strengths can be hard, but through working with business advising and noticing where you excel most in clubs, you can narrow down a few key characteristics. Next, see what kind of majors would rely on your strengths. For example, if you like creativity, go towards marketing. If you like technology, look more towards business information systems. I believe there is something out there for everyone because business is very versatile. We have many different majors and clubs that students can enhance their skills to become stronger, and more competitive in the workplace.
What has surprised you most about majoring in business? Sometimes, there is no “right” answer. There have been numerous times where I have worked with classmates where we all came to different conclusions. It took me some time to become comfortable with having different answers than other people. It’s important to be confident and be able to articulate your reasoning. From this, I learned how to communicate my points clearly to different audiences while learning new perspectives from other’s that I may have overlooked.
In one of my classes, the professor created groups that intentionally had several different majors. He wanted us to analyze different businesses from multiple perspectives. He knew that we all were not going to see eye to eye on everything, but that is a part of growth. This has been a part of all of my previous work experiences. People came from different backgrounds and all saw problems differently. All of our perspectives strengthened our work and helped us come to better solutions.
What business executive do you admire most? I enjoy hearing from Henri Pierre-Jacques, co-founder & managing partner, at Harlem Capital. Harlem Capital is a minority-owned early-stage venture firm on a mission to change the face of entrepreneurship by investing in 1,000 diverse founders over the next 20 years. Pierre-Jacques is only 30 years old, but has achieved so much already. It is inspiring to see someone that young set these aggressive goals and surpass them. His advice that he shares about betting on yourself has pushed my goals further than I could have imagined.
Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? Undoubtedly, it was being voted Vice President by my peers in my professional fraternity. Our club is one of the largest on-campus with over 100 members. This showed me that my peers trusted my capabilities and decision-making skills. I was able to sharpen my leadership abilities last year by managing all of our committees such as community service, diversity & inclusion, fundraising, and mental wellness. Each committee faced a different set of problems, and I ensured their ideas and events aligned with the fraternity’s values.
Which classmate do you most admire? Jack Keeler. I met him the first semester that I transferred into the business school fall of sophomore year. We joined Alpha Kappa Psi (AKPsi) at the same time and served on the same executive board. Our positions frequently overlapped and required us to collaborate on many tasks. We easily bounced ideas off of each other and had an open space to critique each other’s thoughts. Jack made me question and think through decisions. He even supported me on tasks outside of his role. His capacity to surpass expectations showed me that he’s a person of high character.
Although we are pursuing different majors and careers, we have a similar work ethic. We constantly joke that we should relax our final semester at Pitt, but he’s currently working a new internship and I am working in the career office helping students both with a full course load! I look forward to keeping in contact with him in the future as we will both be in the same city, maybe we can get our relaxing in before we start.
Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would most like to thank my long-term partner, Marie Akoto. She has supported me in every transition in my life, from not really knowing what I wanted to do in school to helping me decide whether I should accept my full-time offer. Every kind of ambitious goal I had she was always right there next to me and encouraging me to push myself more. Watching her change her major freshman year and take a risk on herself made me want to take that same risk. Freshman year, I was unsure of myself. I had been struggling in physics classes and I was hesitant of my chances to get into the business school. On top of that, I worried about being able to effectively transition and succeed if accepted. After I got into the business school, she supported all my efforts and pushed me to apply for internships even if I did not think I was going to get it. I do not think I would be in the same position I am in today without her endless support and constant motivation.
What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?
- Occupy a board seat of an organization
- Teach at a university before retiring
What are your hobbies? A little over a year ago, I became interested in computers, specifically building custom computers. I decided to try building one on my own. This was one of the most interesting projects I have ever done because it required me to learn everything on my own. The most difficult part was not the actual construction of the PC but actually acquiring the parts. I had to scour Amazon, eBay, and brick & mortar stores for some of the parts. My difficulty finding these parts actually gave me first-hand experience with the global semi-conductor shortage used in the majority of all computer chips. I did not like finding out the hard way, but seeing the overlap of one of my hobbies and difficulties different businesses are experiencing was interesting.
I also started noticing I was eating the same meals every week. I wanted to switch up my recipes in an effort to stop buying outside food, so I bought a cookbook vowing to cook every single recipe. There are so many professional goals I have, but I like having a fun one with no specific timeline. The cookbook that I am using is Mediterranean-based, which has pushed me out of my comfort zone to source new ingredients, try different cooking techniques, and explore dishes I never would have previously made before.
What made David such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2022?
“David is truly one of my favorite students, he is an outstanding student, he actively participates in the classes, works very well with his classmates, but most importantly we met few times out of the classroom, and I was amazed with his maturity and him being self-conscious about the impact of his decision on others. We discussed few valuations related decisions and he always bring the impact on the environment and the society. I truly enjoyed our meetings.”
Dr. Ahmed Elshahat, CFM, PhD
Clinical Associate Professor of Finance,
Director of Master’s of Science – Finance,
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