My name is Wasim Hajjiri and I am a Flex evening (’18) Rady MBA student. I graduated from Jordan with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. Soon after graduation I went on vacation to New York. While on vacation, I received a phone call from my father. It was one of those heart to heart, father to son talks about my future. He asked me to consider San Diego and explore the opportunities in that city. Soon after that conversation, (5 days later, to be exact) I made a decision that was going to change my life – forever.
I booked a one way ticket to California and canceled the trip back to Jordan and had no time for proper good byes to friends and family. I moved to San Diego with nothing but big dreams and faith. Fortunately my brother who lives in San Diego put me up until I found a place of my own. My journey to a new life in the United States had begun, and I knew it was going to be filled with challenges. I had no friends, and my connections other than my brother were thousands of miles away. I had to adapt to a new culture and start making new friends.
A man, a plan
Qualcomm is one of the best chip manufacturing companies in the world and I knew that it offered good opportunities for engineers. But I had zero work experience; nonetheless, I set my eyes on Qualcomm and wanted to start my engineering career there. I talked to dozens of people who told me how difficult it is to get into Qualcomm and that it might take me years. I knew I had to be dedicated and persistent if I was to achieve what appears to be an impossible goal to some. Within six months and lots of effort and applications, I got my chance at QUALCOMM on a temporary contract in an entry level position. I met so many amazing people, and it was a great experience. I learned so much and built my resume.
After Qualcomm, my other goal was to get into the Rady School of Management. At that time my father passed away and that was the most difficult time I had ever experienced. After many roadblocks and circumstances here I am today, a second year graduate student.
In Professor Kenneth Wilbur’s marketing class, I came up with a coffee shop business idea and called it Wasimo’s Café. He helped me identify and solidify it as a potential real life business. I want to test this business plan, and I think the Rady School is a great testing location. I want to start a coffee cart that sells coffee, tea, breakfast sandwiches next to the dining area where Rady students socialize. I was lost and didn’t know how I would start this process, so I went to Giovanna from the Admissions Office. She pointed me in the right direction and now I am working with Dean Robert Sullivan and his staff on making this project successful.
In addition, I am currently searching for a possible location in the San Diego area. Thanks to my classmate Sellam Bereket who connected me with a real estate broker now helping me find a possible location in North Park which has been shown to be a great location for my type of business.
The story of success
I am currently writing an inspirational book about my life and my journey, and got a bout writers block — that is, until I met with Rady’s Career coach Linda Kurtz. She connected me with a publisher who is assisting me with my book. I want it to be a best seller!
As a young person I played many sports, and started lifting weights at age 17. From an early age I was always interested in fitness and bodybuilding. Another one of my dreams was to compete professionally. I recently learned about an international and natural drug-free organization utilizing the World Anti-Doping Agency Olympic drug testing system. I was excited that I could compete as a natural drug-free athlete. My first competition was last November and in my opinion it was a failure; because my placing was far away from what I wanted.
I was not giving up my dream, I worked harder and focused on my weaknesses, and in a period of one year I qualified for Team USA nationals, competed and received a gold medal.
This qualified me to compete in the natural Olympia which is the most prestigious international competition modelled after the Olympics but focused on fitness and bodybuilding! I am now preparing for the Olympia, and a component of the competition is to make a speech. In order to prepare myself I took a management communications class with an amazing professor – Todd Salovey. Before Nationals, he helped optimize my speech so that I can be my best.
I am having the most amazing experience at the Rady School of Management. I met so many great people that are now some of my closest friends. Coming from another country, nothing feels better than to be loved and appreciated by the people around you – and at Rady I always feel I receive the positive support that makes me feel right at home. Rady is my number one dream coming true, and I look forward to next year and the dreams yet to come.