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Pharmacy Leaders Podcast: Career Interviews and Advice

Jun 7, 2018

Abdelwadood Daoud is a senior studying mechanical engineering at Iowa State University with a background in computer science and energy. Over the last few years, he has gained a multitude of unique experiences. Here are a few… He interned at Tesla in California where he and his team were able to save the company over 3 million dollars. He taught English to homeless men in New Delhi, India. He carried out research on the most efficient energy system ever conceived at the National Energy Technology Laboratory. With all of this, Wadood also serves as the National Finance Chair for the National Society of Black Engineers. He is passionate about helping those around the world who haven’t been dealt the best hand in life. Specifically, he believes anyone can change the course of their life with the right balance of learning, networking, and confidence. A link to the episode on the YourPop Podcast on YouTube.

 Full Transcript:

welcome to the pharmacy leaders podcast
with your host Tony Guerra the pharmacy
leaders podcast is a member of the
pharmacy podcast network with interviews
and advice on building your professional
network brand and a purposeful second
income from students residents and
innovative professionals hey welcome to
the pharmacy leaders podcast I wanted to
introduce someone who has created a
fantastic podcast on YouTube his name is
Ahmed Ahmed
from the University of Iowa College of
Pharmacy and the next five days you're
going to hear one episode each day and I
encourage you to go to his channel to
subscribe at your pop-y oh you are P o P
it stands for the your pursuit of
purpose podcast where he interviews
successful people and how they got down
there leadership Road so hopefully
you'll subscribe 2,000 people already
have in the last month and here we go
what's going on guys this is up MIT
again and I'm here with episode 1 as
promised and I actually have the bright
young individual that I was talking
about in my previous video so today I
want to welcome Abdul Wadud that woman
and he's actually a senior mechanical
engineering student at Iowa State
University with a background in computer
science and energy and over the last few
years he has gained a multitude of
unique experiences and here are just a
few of them he entered that Tesla in
California were him and his team were
able to save the company three million
dollars I'm talking three million
dollars now that's just not that's not a
number we can just throw around so shout
out to a dude for that and he actually
had the experience to teach English to
homeless men in New Delhi India and a
study abroad as well as he carried out
research on the most efficient energy
system ever conceived at the national
technology laboratory now with all this
whoa dude also serves as the National
Finance chair for the National Society
of black engineers he's passionate about
helping those around the world who
haven't been dealt the best hands in
life specifically he believes anyone can
change the course of their life with the
right balance of learning networking and
confidence so dude before I dive into
all your successes just give me a little
bit of a background and you know who is
what dude and where are you from and
everything definitely first off I want
to say thank you for having me um it
means a lot for you saying I'm really
intelligent young man I think that's
true I think that's more of a function
of the people around me throughout my
life also viewers out I make sure that
we applaud this young man for taking the
leap forward to do something like this
he brought up the concept to me a few
days ago and within you know a week a
man is making the pursuit of purpose
podcast real and I think that's a really
big testament to the type of person he
is profound your question was telling
you a little bit about myself absolutely
if the audience would have background
okay yeah so my parents are from Sudan
they migrated over here probably over 25
years ago um I was born in Virginia
Alexandria Virginia specifically and
then moved to Iowa when I was about 7
months old and I've been there ever
since was raised in Iowa City Iowa with
a family where we you know mitigated the
interesting space that is a Sudanese
family in America especially for a
first-generation I have two older older
siblings and three younger siblings and
now I'm at Iowa State you know studying
mechanical engineering on the home
stretch and figuring out where my wife's
gonna go after that yeah and so dude how
did you how did you decide that I want
to be a mechanical engineering student
definitely I has a really good question
I think I think I think engineering was
something that was kind of in my blood
in a way you know I grew up with my dad
was always really entrepreneurial and
hands-on so I remember when I was maybe
in third grade he had an auto body shop
where he would fix cars and and I knew
that I liked to be hands-on and I wanted
to be in that space when I would get
jealous because him and my big brother
would do all the work and they didn't
but uh when I got to high school I don't
know if you've heard of Project Lead the
Way right it's a yeah Project Lead the
Way is a program I'm not sure if it's
still there I would stick I obviously
West High School but as a program where
students in high school were able to
deep dive into engineering programs
whether it be aerospace engineering
mechanical engineering or CAD it was
really just a good experience to immerse
yourself in that engineering field and
after that class I had a great professor
teacher and Dominic audio and he really
showed me it kind of ignited my passion
for engineering and I didn't know which
space or direction I wanted to go in and
I felt like mechanical was the most
broad route so I chose to go with
mechanical engineering and I looking
back at it I feel like I couldn't made a
better decision that's awesome man that
is awesome
and we're dude so what I want to go
through so I'm just gonna go through
like each experience that you've had we
can start out actually with the what you
did a test look cuz I think that's my
music magnificent
one of the most progressive tech
companies out there yeah you know we can
test low you on musk he's doing
everything at differ so in terms of your
internship so maybe you can take us back
to how you actually landed this
internship or co-op it was right uh-huh
and maybe the experience maybe the day
in the life of a Tesla intern yeah what
you were doing there okay for sure first
off Tesla is that amazing company and I
want to make sure that before I start
talking about it that I say that you
know while I have had these successes
it's not my own doing but really people
around me like Ahmed and and a bunch of
my other friends and my parents who
believed in me and have shown me that I
had potential in these areas that have
allowed me to kind of move forward and
go for it per se yeah but anyone who
knows me knows that I'm extremely
passionate about LinkedIn
I'm giving presentations on LinkedIn I
want everyone to have a LinkedIn if you
don't have a LinkedIn it takes five
minutes get a LinkedIn um but what I did
is I had a conversation about eight
months before I got my Tesla internship
where I was sitting down with one of my
friends collar Simpson and I said I want
to work at Tesla and I'm gonna do what I
can to get there and at the time I
promise you I had nothing
resume and I was the worst example of a
potential Tesla intern but uh I figured
first thing I would do is figure out how
I can get some automotive experience so
I went into a car dealership carousel
Nissan highway one in Iowa City and I
walked in there so I thought I was
applying for a bigger job than I was so
I went in there with a resume and like
cover letter and like walked up to the
guy was like hey my name is a dude I'm
really passionate about the automotive
industry I love a position with you guys
I don't know what you have available
what I'd love to do it in the guy like
kind of takes my resume he's like well
this wasn't that necessary but uh if you
want we have this guy who can drive the
cars and you know park the cars and
deliver cars if you want to do that sure
so I did it and it was probably one of
the best jobs I've ever had I just drove
cars a lot of the time but fast forward
you know once school started I realized
I had to start engaging with you know
clubs that were in the same space as
Tesla and also starting to develop the
leadership that could set me apart from
everyone else so I got into the solar
car team at Iowa State the Prizm solar
car team and I was able to do some work
with them where I learned about you know
efficiency with vehicles also the
building process and teamwork with with
respect to the automotive industry and
then when I was about uh say four or
five months away from feeling I felt
like I was a good candidate for
initiative at Tesla I reached out to
someone who a friend of mine had
connected me with and he was a manager
there and I said here's my resume
please tell me what I could do to make
me a better candidate for the position
in a few months and how do you reach out
to that individual Lincoln Lincoln okay
Lincoln so I reached out to one LinkedIn
and I said can you tell me you know XY
and Z that I need to do better to become
a great candidate for this position and
he was amazing reached back out to me
probably four or five messages
until he said these are the things that
I think you should work on and long
story short I was on the UH I also
became the vice president of my chapter
and Iowa State University for the Nesby
chapter which gave me the leadership
experience necessary when I felt like I
was ready to really engage with Tesla
recruiters you might think I'm
exaggerating you can ask any of my
roommates but I probably connected and
messaged over a hundred recruiters Wow
and every single one of them I said the
exact same thing but I feel like I'm a
good candidate I've been told I should
work on business and that to be
better I have here you go and I got
three responses maybe seven responses
like it was very discouraging
um but I was on the airplane just you
know right when you went on an airplane
I was going to an asthma conference and
you start getting your messages yeah I
see one from a great man he's actually
got a different company now but it was
an email and said hey one of my
colleagues has put your resume as
basically you don't come across my desk
I'd love to sit in chat this whole time
I'm thinking we're actually gonna check
you know like hey we do like how's the
weather school like all that within a
minute it was like so why do you think
he could work at Tesla I was like oh
this is one of those times um anyway he
we had a really good conversation we
really vibe with each other and I think
I got that I said I got the email on
Sunday or Saturday set up the call on
Tuesday and accepted my offer by Friday
so in terms of it was so beautiful
because it was one of the first times
that I've been able to see like one of
my goals come to fruition you know I
mean like it was really big for me
because it was just like this was not
supposed to happen right now there's no
way that you say you're gonna work at
Tesla and you do but it came down to
just people kind of believing in me and
in that last email kind of solidified
like hey you know even though I sent 100
messages and got three to seven
responses someone read it and I'm not
getting an internship for a hundred
people I really need to work for one
person so it really just showed me the
value of Lincoln and the fact that
really that anything can happen and that
really shows you like when he talks
about everything that he said he said he
didn't feel like he was in the position
to get this internship he didn't think
it was not no one else no one know
exactly but the fact is you know we're a
very well you're very good at
communicating that's one of them we're
doing strengths ever since I've met him
he's just very he's a very effective
communicator so this is just a product
of that appreciate that yeah for sure
and so when you got the Tesla tell us
maybe what you were doing is three
million dollars like I'm still I can't
fathom that with all these NDA's that we
signed with these companies you know I
feel like we signed a life so it so I'm
gonna be very smart with this answer
okay sure
it got to Tesla and I'm not lying my
first week there they put me on work
instructions I don't know if anybody
knows what work instructions are but
think of going to let's say you went to
someone I think Donald's and they're
making sandwiches right right standard
work procedures are critical for really
big companies to be able to manage the
processes that they have and so I was
watching people do the same thing over
and over again and writing it down Oh
writing it down and writing it down and
finally you know after a few days here's
a document of exactly what you need to
do to do this job great no problem
however I didn't exactly expect that as
a day I'll finally want to test like is
gonna be crazy I didn't expect to do
work instructions um so I got there did
the work instructions for a week and I
went to my manager and I said with all
due respect sir I don't care if I have
to work 20 hours a week
but I was hoping to work on some solve
some bigger problems I think is the
wording that I used my manager was
amazing and what we did is we walked
around the factory and we started
defining problems and he found a problem
that he thought was important which I
was supposed to focus on and within you
know a week or two my team and myself
were able to really solve that problem
or at least put a really big dent in it
and after that he gave me full autonomy
in terms of what I can do so the work
you know day to day turned into being
you know a lot of process optimization
Tesla was at a point where the model 3
was about to come out so they needed to
make sure that they could eliminate the
inefficiencies that they had today
because when you're making a hundred
thousand cars it's expensive within
efficiencies when you're making five
hundred thousand cars it's even more
expensive you know the economies of
scale what not because my work came a
lot with you know process optimization I
brought into some of my software
background into the mix where I oughta
mated some of their processes for
production reporting and then also just
a little bit of mechanical design or
just to make things a little bit better
um one thing that I do want to know
Tesla's you know a lot of people think
that you know there's no work/life
balance and my theory on that is you
kind of decide how you want to deal with
it and my story for that is my manager
I'm like my third week of work work I
came in like a 15 you know and he comes
in my got a smart remark like hey you
know we're due back in my day I used to
come before my boss and I used to leave
after my boss I was like that I'm hourly
you know so that turned into me working
15 16 hours a day which is you know
normally would be really stressful
excruciating excruciating yeah it's
probably a good word too but in this
situation I promise you know I really
loved the work I was doing I had a team
that really believed in what we were
doing and we were solving problems so 15
hour days felling eight-hour days
honestly and and that's what I did I
tried to fix a lot of problems that's
how you save money is by fixing problems
and it scaled pretty well we
basically optimizing maybe for processes
and moving moving the whole process or a
set of processes to a different areas so
that we could create space for model 3
there's no specifics that's how the
numbers work like that 3 million
that's insane it's me and my team you
know I can't I can't discredit that
there were some routes to great interns
and Shashank goalie and John George's
John Ritter was our manager Jane Lane
there's some great people on that team
who really helped make that happen but
no that's that's awesome and as you guys
can you if you recall to what he said he
talked about communicating with his
manager cuz you were doing their work
emotions biggest thing that you can do
for one of your internships is set up
weekly bi-weekly meetings with your
managers and figure out what they're
looking for and then see if you can
align that with anything that you're
looking for so my manager while I said I
don't want to do work instructions the
fact that I told him I wanted to solve a
bigger problem that align perfectly with
his job because he's looking to solve a
we did what we do have these big
problems you said you want to do it and
in turn normally wouldn't get to do this
the less try it so just having those
conversations and trying to reiterate
you know the second week third weekend
like hey this is what I'm working on I'm
not that happy with it make it better
because I mean they want they want that
experience to be the best possible
experience for you and at the same time
you want to provide the most value to
your manager absolutely know without a
doubt and we do it so if we can just
kind of give us a little bit of a I
don't know if you can give just the
audience some advice so people are
potentially and currently studying to be
engineers yeah and they're looking to
land their first internship because that
was the first technical internship kind
of that worked for the Department of
Energy for a year before that okay that
was more it was an internship but it was
very research focus okay
so this is what is your first usual
definite so how did you what what was
this point like where Tesla was like
alright this is the guy we want how did
they know or how did you make it seem
like there's no one better than me yeah
for this position yeah how did you
articulate there with your within your
CV or resume what was the selling point
so the biggest overarching thing that
I'll say so that I can provide the most
value is LinkedIn and I'm gonna probably
say that we're not even done yeah then
I'll say it 15 more times before we're
done LinkedIn LinkedIn LinkedIn um so
how do you go about navigating the
that you don't have all the experience
necessary to getting a position
basically is it position the question
right um first off I would want to say
that you leverage LinkedIn not to just
get a referral I don't even think I've
gotten a referral to LinkedIn Wow
genuinely I don't think I've ever asked
someone to refer me on LinkedIn but what
you do do and what I do is I make sure
within the first two lines to say why
I'm contacting them hey recruiter X I'm
looking forward to engaging with you to
discuss potential internship
opportunities here okay and then the
next thing is instead of asking for a
referral what I love asking is attached
is my resume could you take a look at it
and maybe give me three things that I
could do better
okay three things if you do better so
then you do those three things you come
back to the recruiter a month later hey
I did those three things can you look at
my resume again to lose a few things you
can do better maybe after that second
engagement that second or third message
you say hey look I'm really interested
in this position and I've fixed my
resume I've put myself in a situation
that I feel fits me for this position
and I'd love to discuss it and get on
the phone for ten minutes something like
that you know at the same time the
recruiter is gonna see hey this kid is
you know mmm every single company you
work for knows as an intern that you
don't know anything you know I like we
can say whether do we have engineering
classes whatever sure you don't know any
of what you're going into so what
they're really looking for is the
ability to learn you know and so in
terms of advice I would say reach out to
people and show them that you're willing
to learn you know you're not perfect
nothing about it is perfect but you want
to be the best position person for that
job absolutely I think after that so you
know you we've gotten to the point that
you might be able to get an interview I
think the single most important question
in any interview and you can ask any of
my roommates this it was told to me
about one of my friends after every
single interview the last question that
you should ask is is there anything that
you've seen from myself either
professionally or from my resume that
you think is hindering me from being a
good candidate for this position the
reason that that question is so good is
because the first thing is let's say
they either say yeah there are a few
things you should fix a B and C sure no
what you're gonna do is you're gonna go
back you're gonna work on a B and C and
you're gonna message that recruiter
three months whatever however long it
took you can accomplish a B and C and
the conversation is gonna be much
you know because hey I wasn't a good
candidate for this position but then I
fixed everything that you said I need to
do to become a good candidate for this
position pretty excited to start working
with you you know something obviously
it's a little extra but still I'm going
on the back end what you'll get
sometimes is no everything checks out
and you say okay well I'm just wondering
when can I expect to hear back cuz
really they basically told you right no
they said yeah you're perfect you want
to hire you right or they say you're not
perfect you need to work on these things
and then you make yourself perfect yeah
well yeah I think if it I think it's
really you just need to put yourself in
a mindset where you don't understand
everything you know you're not gonna
know everything and you want to utilize
and leverage the systems that we have to
learn what you're lacking after that
after you know what you need to do it's
up to you ten or eight mmm exactly know
without a doubt man those are some
really powerful that last one a that
that last interview question write it
down that's that's changed interviews
good at me repeat one more time because
I want to hear it again is there
anything that you've seen from myself
either professionally or maybe through
my resume that you think is holding me
back from being a great candidate for
this position you can spice it in
whatever ways you want but that's not
really good though is the microphone no
that's awesome well I don't want to drag
on this first I guess I'm gonna bring
you back for a part to impart cuz man I
need to get through this wood dude story
because man this individual right here
he's just doing everything he's
literally doing everything so it's it's
time to end this first episode with for
everyone and I hope you guys did enjoy
kind of learning how this individual has
his success story or a part of it and I
hope to see you guys in the next episode
where I'm going to interview him for his
experience in New Delhi India as well as
working for the Department of Energy
awesome and maybe you can tell the story
about how you met your research mentor
as well because I heard that thorn it's
fantastic yeah all right thank you guys
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