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Pharmacy Leaders Podcast: Inspiring Pharmacy Leadership Interviews

Jun 11, 2018

I had the privilege of interviewing Ahmed Ismail, a McNair Scholar. The McNair Program is a United States Department of Education initiative with a goal of increasing attainment of Ph.D.'s by students from underrepresented segments of society. He just returned from his study abroad in the United Kingdom and his co-op at GE Aviation. Although he isn't the biggest fan of the education system, he believes that it is a useful tool for defining your pursuit of purpose.

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 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 and lastly I start Ella
I tell like interview during interviews
when they ask you like you know why
should we hire you
it sounds very cliche ball straight up
telling like a although I don't had the
relevant experience one thing that I'm
really really good at is the Billy said
that I can adapt to any situation you
put me in and I'm a hard worker so
although I might not know something I
have a willingness to learn and I could
pick it up what's going on guys this is
Ahmed and I'm here again with him it's
my eaves for episode 5 of the year
pursuit of purpose podcast actually it
started to bring him back on because he
actually has internship that he got at
GE has a very unique story and generally
speaking how he got to that point and
what led up to it it's kind of it's a
very intriguing story so I decided to
dedicate this whole episode just for
that so I mean can you kind of just take
us back to when you were graduating high
school and were you at the point where
most high school graduates are where
high school graduates are at and it's
that what now phase you graduated high
school you got your diploma I won't even
say just high school students honestly
like there's a homeless call it like a
epidemic throughout the US where it's
just everyone says graduating even
college and as they graduate they're
just like now what it's like the movies
I gotta graduate hated that movie but
only if I remember from high school just
like that ending it's just like now what
alright we're doing this like a song you
see just throughout the US but yeah come
now high school had no clue I want to do
I was undeclared first year actually
wasn't even accept entire state Straight
Outta High School actually was a
community college and the first time
even talked to someone about college was
uh it was my senior high school it was I
was asking my dad for $20 and he's like
he wants $20 board just like I'm
applying to college he's like oh okay
and I'm like we actually said now I had
a conversation pay for applications
didn't get accepted in Iowa stay so he
just wasted 20 yards with goin to
Community College for a year after a
year of a Community College I think I
completed 43 credits and raft that first
year just transfer straight Iowa State
and went from one declare to go on sale
electrical engineering and even I was
electrons you know I was still pursuing
internships I actually even had an
opportunity there was a company called
next air energy pretty cool company
working with solar panels there's a good
opportunity out in Florida and I think
got accepted and they said you know got
two weeks to make a decision it was a
floor yeah everyone our state and like
they you know gave me the offer to make
a decision however at the same time
during that two-week period I had an
interview with a Boeing and at the time
I was like oh my god Boeing is big name
right it was like it's a big fish that's
how I described it at the time but I
interviewed with them and I personally
thought it went really well now I was in
a position where I had to make this
decision before I knew what Boeing was
gonna say to me
so I actually ended up turning down next
and NextEra Energy and at the time I
thought was a good decision but today I
think is terrible just due to the fact
it was my reasoning wasn't the flaw cuz
at the time I was in uh I was in a place
where I thought I was just like okay if
I get this big name you know on my
resume this is it like this is why I won
I never actually thought about the what
next you know that's not something I see
like considered at that age but turned
down next era and then I'm waiting for
Boeing waiting waiting month goes by and
no response
alright so summer starts I hit them up
and they tell me like oh sorry you've
been turned down so now I'm just empty
handed right I got nothing to do so that
summer I ended up doing apartment
planning so I'm just cleaning apartments
and it was actually good to make money
it was funny because it me and uh it was
me and what dude that were actually
doing that yeah that's like if for you
that don't know me would do go way back
know since I was eight but like yeah
that's not me and we're doing the other
were just plenty of apartments that's
one we did for a summer and then next
year olds around and I switched majors
mechanical engineering you know I had a
different mindset and actually not
different my stuff still under that same
frame of I want that big name on my
resume so I'm pursuing pursuing pursuing
and I get another opportunity company
called al tech industries and it was for
a co-op out in California and how'd you
get that opportunity with them so that
was through that I would state career
fair okay and one pretty well is just
simple interview just behavioral
questions things like that went well got
the offer and Nesby nationals world
rolls around in what Nesby is is the
National Society of black engineers
amazing amazing organization if you're
an engineer highly recommend joining
rolls around and it gives me an
opportunity to talk to a company that's
not at my college which is General
Electric and I had the opportunity of
Aviation and I was actually in the same
position again all right so this time it
was all tech industries had a couple
weeks to give them a decision and during
that time span
I had my MBA GE hmm all right and I had
to give I'll take my decision before I
found out what T was gonna say and again
I made that same decision I went for the
big fish
what it doesn't have done yeah I turned
the outside that one for GE end I'm did
that it worked out because G came back
to me and you know they even offer and I
ended up co-opting at headquarters in
Cincinnati however it wasn't till the
semester ended I was like I sat down and
I was just doing some reflecting I was
just like why did I do that all right
cuz usually people learn from their
mistakes you're like I'm not I should
not take the company that I had that I
had that epiphany after I did it I had
that let's just say I had the Epiphany
we'll just keep it that look like yeah
it was that decision-making but I mean I
bet you interned at GE General Electric
but yeah it was a good thing we're to
have that pity because at the time I
realized I was like oh my god like been
chasing all these names and like not
even thinking about like what happens
the next after this like okay I get the
coop then work full-time and it's like
is that where I really want is that what
I want to do that's not not I never
actually thought and like if you're
watching this video I highly encourage
you to ask yourself what next so ever is
let's say you want to be someone goes in
music let's say you want your PhD let's
say you want to work at Tesla ask
yourself for next likes you get there
then what like what you want to do after
that's not something most people
consider and that's not something I ever
considered but it was until I made that
mistake the second time like time did I
worked out like I actually said now I
was like oh my god like she's been like
a rat race yeah like I was stuck in that
mind frame
I just never actually thought about why
personally he wanted were like what my
pursuit of purpose was and at that time
that's when I like I really don't I'm
just like oh my god like I need to
figure out what I want to do with my
life like like just it does it doesn't
like your your whole life isn't just so
you can go work at a job
that's not a that's not your life you
got to think about what type of life you
want yourself what you want kids when
you want kids where do you want to live
like the world's a huge place do you
want to be in Iowa do you want to be in
California you want me in Spain you want
me in Sudan do you want to be in
Singapore like these are things no one
ever liked I mean people do consider it
but it's just I highly encourage you to
consider it now while you are in college
because it's the time to you know ask
yourself these type of questions mm-hmm
and what really because you didn't
really talk about the process of landing
the internship because a lot of people
right now might be in the boat where
they're applying to internships are
applying for different positions and
they might think of themselves or might
not be the best candidate for this I'm
not gonna apply for it cuz you all think
about yeah this thing that I had always
speaks about to me is like if you don't
attempt at something or if you don't go
out and pursue something that you are
interested in you have a 0% chance of
obtaining it right yeah so like one
thing people always talk about is luck
and I I don't like the word luck just
because it seems like oh you know like
you got lucky like it wasn't really
meant to be but half in but guess what
if you sat down the chance to you
succeeding at something is the zero
percent simply just getting up and just
trying something raises that percentage
from 0% a higher percentage and there
are multiple factors that go into it
all right so like when it comes to get
an internship it's a what experience do
you have I did not have that so that was
not a factored hey but more importantly
is are you a learner and that's one
thing that's really important because
one thing people don't know about me is
in high school I actually had like a 2.7
or something and then even in college my
I think in the previous episode I
mention impostor syndrome I was really
struggling in school I think that my sex
Noster our state or not think I know hmm
I was like a phonetic probation sorry I
was recovering from that while I
interviewed with a GE I was I think it
was a whole was it so 2.90 like I was
still recovering recovering from hacking
Act probation if it wasn't for my
academic probation I've been well above
a 3 however that's something I was still
going through and don't accept anyone
that's not above a three so during the
interview they strap told me was like eh
we'll give you an offer for the fall but
I need to ensure that you have a 3.0
before you get there cuz we've had this
happen where someone has a three or
below a three and they get to GE and we
just turn them back we send them back
home alright so I was very fortunate as
I was in that position I was able to
finish with above a three and then I was
able to take my offer but even when
you're recovering from a canary
probation like you're not as qualified
because I had the bad GPA I didn't have
an experience I had apartment cleaning
like cleaning apartments on my resume
like you know I like no internships like
how's that relate to working with
engines you know right and I think one
thing I could really capitalize on was
the fact that I was someone that was a
hard worker alright so if you don't have
the experience capitalize on your skills
that's the number one thing I
capitalized on because especially when
people talk about getting that first
internship like it's really hard but put
yourself in a position where you can
showcase your skills so for me I'd have
the internship so I joined Nesby and I
Triple E so Institute of Electrical and
it--once engineers I became the
secretary of the club and joined
engineering student council I was
representative there on top of that I
became the treasurer and Nesby and then
these are opportunities to show like a
I'm good with my finances I manage my
you and that's B by allocating or
managing a budget of thing it was twenty
five thousand for this academic year as
well as being a secretary great
communication skills some good
communicating with people and lastly I
spread tell uh I tell like interview
during interviews when they ask you like
you know why should we hire you it
sounds very cliche but I'll spray up
telling like hey
although I don't have the relevant
experience one thing that I'm really
really good at is the ability to adapt
I can adapt to any situation you put me
in and I am a hard worker so although I
might not know something I have a
willingness to learn and I could pick it
up I'm gonna work hard to get it
your highness towns yeah it sounds
really it sounds cliche but just be
really like showcase who you actually
are don't try to be someone you're not
cuz that Thunder day to try and hire you
and I think it was a Google actually
really collects a lot of data on this
stuff like when recruiting people I
think it was like GPA reflects only the
first two years of performance at the
workplace after that it's here Ella
irrelevant I like determining how
someone's gonna perform right
remember those type of things so
showcase who you are
I don't ask the number thing you can do
and so what do you say to people who
because there's individuals out there
like all grades don't matter big they
matters always do matter
grades do matter that's someone that
struggle with grades do matter no matter
just to get you in as a stepping-stone
oh it's a yeah it's a crucial
stepping-stone like it's a it's
something that plays a factor because at
much as it sucks like I was saying in
the previous episode like school is one
of those things it's like hey taking all
this information regurgitate on a piece
of paper you do that successfully get a
good grade like was that really show it
just show you can follow directions so I
I guess that's something they consider
during like interviews which makes sense
but if you don't have the GPA work for
the GPA cuz I've been a day stalling you
help you it never hurts to have a good
GPA so it doesn't make sense to put
yourself in that position I was in that
position I learn from it and it does
suck that GPA is something that it
objective are something that's
subjective yeah your individual talents
coming into a job interviewer I'm coming
into a position it sucks that first
thing they look at is on the top of the
resume right up top GPA yeah I see
something they don't like they're
tossing you they're not gonna look at
anything else on your GPA never tells
the full story it doesn't does it part
of the reason I was like on academic
probation it wasn't just the mixture of
the imposter syndrome is actually before
I even stepped foot onto a college
campus I was in debt or my family was so
I had the mindset of like oh my god like
finally succeed like I'm not be able to
help it's like that is the ones things
like someone hindered me in the
classroom because I was more concerned
about my actual finances then I was
about performing law in school mm-hm
but I realized like hey performing well
in school is only gonna help me in the
future with managing my finances
exactly but it sucks that I never tells
the whole story but it is what it is
yeah play of cars you've been dough
play the cards that you've been dealt I
know I haven't just real quick in terms
of your so extracurriculars cuz a lot of
people don't
go out and cuz you can have a good GPA
right now so that's the first part we
said that's the top of the paper the top
of the resume but then they follow
through and see what are you involved in
so you kind of working backwards you
were very involved when they didn't have
the highest GPA you still got the
position you wanted because I thought
mr. Bose because like you said Bingham
heavily involved does hurt your GPA a
little bit but I think there's a fine
balance it's kind of hard to define but
at the end of the day if you join some
organization at your school they'll
understand that you're a student at
first because everyone in that
renovation is the same boat as you are
they understand I'm like hey I have
classes to attend to I have grades that
I need to get so they'll understand if
like hey you know can you help me out
with this project guys like I can't
really do it because you know I have my
physics exam like people get that
they're students exactly yeah but again
thank you for coming back and telling us
about your story and how you got to GE
and everything but is there anything
else that you want to just mention or
leave them with in terms of maybe people
are pursuing internships if that's gonna
be kind of specific or going through for
position and they don't have the
greatest GPA what else could they do the
kind of like strengthen their resume or
strengthen their chances of getting that
position I think what dude really hit on
this one thing I didn't utilize as much
as I should have was LinkedIn huh here
we go again yeah I know we do talks
about this a lot and like it really is
done at the time like Ojai or whatever
would do no I really like listen to him
but seeing how powerful it is is it's
phenomenal because you put yourself in
the position was like Tesla's not out of
state they're not out of state all right
and when do put himself in the position
he's like hey they're not here but I can
get to them we're gonna age where your
uh your network isn't limited to who you
know face to face like that was like for
our parents we're in now in a day of age
racket little you pull out my phone go
on LinkedIn right I'm not gonna do that
right now but let me go on LinkedIn fine
tech keywords recruiter company Tesla
all right and all that pops up is
recruiters at Tesla like now my network
isn't limited to people I know
face-to-face I can meet some
on the other side of the world if I
wanted to by just simply sending a
message maybe they'd respond maybe they
don't it's the numbers game it's just a
matter of do you really want it the
power of LinkedIn yeah and you can
literally ask them like hey I know you
know I don't have the best
qualifications right now but what are
three things I can work on what you said
in his interview but yeah that literally
tell you like hey this is what we look
for in our candidate and here are some
recommendations on things you can do to
become an ideal candidate exactly
perfect and again I'm gonna thank you so
much for joining us on your pursuit of
purpose podcast episode 5 and thank you
for showing us just how to kind of
navigate through maybe if you're not
academically fit at first how to kind of
adjust there adapt adapt is the big word
that he used that I really liked so
thank you for that and until next time
where we'll see on episode 6 keep you
soon your purpose
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