Haitham al-Rahim is a Marketing major in the Business & Entrepreneurship Department, aspiring to have a career in marketing and advertising. He believes that his most effective way of learning is to be hands-on, and Columbia offers the experiential learning experience that will prepare him for the future. Read about his current successes and future plans.
What is your major or BA? When is your expected graduation date?
My major is marketing. I expect to graduate in the spring of 2017.
Why did you choose Columbia’s Business & Entrepreneurship program?
I chose Columbia’s Business and Entrepreneurship program for several reasons. The faculty consists of professionals who have worked in the fields that they teach. As a kinesthetic learner, I find this rather useful because I’m assigned work that I would be doing in the business world. The programs also focus on preparing students for their life after graduation, while giving them the proper tools and skills to enter into the job market. This is accomplished in a similar way to what’s expected in the industry, by assigning work and deadlines. Finally, I chose the program because it is located, in what I believe to be, one of the most creative business capitals of the world.
What are you passionate about?
I’m incredibly passionate about traveling and finding new and unique experiences. Most of all, sharing them with my friends and family. I believe that life is too short and the world is too vast to just stay local and confine myself to my creature-comforts.
What projects are you currently working on outside of classes?
I am currently working on ideas for a number of start-ups, while focusing on landing a marketing or advertising internship or job for the summer. I am presently and happily working for Spongecell, a dynamic, creative digital ad company in Chicago.
Which classes have helped you the most with your career goals?
Professor Sandra Kumorowskis’s Promotional Marketing course helped me focus on product innovation, an aspect of marketing that I would like to use to assist struggling brands or companies to adapt and open up to new markets. In the course, we were assigned choosing an existing company (I chose BlackBerry) and create a new product (a secure business to business communication service) as well as a promotional campaign for that product (a global multi-channel advertising campaign). What I learned from this course is that companies should properly analyze trends inside and outside of their markets and create products, or services, that meet those trends and are one step ahead of the curve.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years I hope to see myself happily marketing for a company that embraces and motivates adventure to all its consumers; namely, companies that are in the travel or social media sector.
How has being a student at Columbia impacted your career path to success?
Being a student at Columbia has given me the freedom and opportunity to work with companies whose marketing strategies have directly influenced and broadened the market. These opportunities have helped me to develop a sense of what a strong path to success in the marketing world means. Making connections within my desired industry and having professors who challenged and motivated me to create innovative ideas that advance the consumer base of a company.
What is your philosophy on life (personal motto) as it relates to your educational career?
My philosophy on life is to always seek constant progression in wherever your passion lies. Furthermore, be creative, be curious, and most of all be courageous. You’ll never believe what you’re capable of accomplishing, until you do it. In the words of Goethe, “Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.”
What advice would you give to prospective students?
My advice to prospective students is to attain as much real-world experience, particularly through internships, as you can in your chosen field of study. If you have not yet chosen a field, then keep your curiosity open as you explore what the college has to offer in your first two years. Most importantly, try to find your passion and see what fields will nourish it. Don’t be afraid of failure when it happens, own it and learn from it. Some of the most successful people in the world have experienced immense failure, and they wouldn’t be who they are today without having gone through it.