Class of 2020: Finance student finds success through engagement
When Mussa Seid enrolled at Virginia Tech, he had no idea what he wanted to study. He believed a degree from the Pamplin College of Business would give him the best chance at earning a job after graduation.
“After all, isn’t that the whole point of going to college, to develop your career?” asked Seid.
Born in Saudi Arabia and raised in Northern Virginia, Seid said he's not the type to be tied down to one thing, be it a place, an interest, or a career. “I wanted a major that was flexible,” he explained. “I didn’t want to limit myself.”
Utilizing Pamplin’s unique course structure, which has all first-year students, no matter the major, take the same group of courses, Seid was able to land in a major that met his criteria for career flexibility – finance.
“Even though I came into Pamplin undecided, I was never behind because of the structure of the courses,” he said. “Speaking with professors helped me figure out what I needed to do to be successful in the program.”
For Seid, participation in student organizations was key to his success. He served as a Pamplin Ambassador, on the Dean’s Advisory Board of Students and the Pamplin Multicultural Diversity Council, and was president of Business Horizons. Seid was also a New Horizons scholar. “Student organizations help round out your experience,” he explained. “They help make a large school like Virginia Tech feel much smaller.”
Student organizations also assist in building a future career. “Networking begins with student organizations,” Seid continued. “It builds out your relationships and connections.”
In 2018, Seid’s networking and organizational experience – along with his exceptional academic performance – ultimately resulted in his selection to participate in KPMG’s Global Advantage Leadership Program, held in Amsterdam. Global Advantage is, according to KPMG, “an elite international leadership development program which includes 120 student leaders from top universities across the United States and around the world.” Students are selected for Global Advantage based on their academic performance and for being recognized as leaders on campus and in their communities.
“Externships allowed me to go to Amsterdam,” Seid said. “Without engagement, I wouldn’t have had the opportunities I was afforded.”
According to Seid, the KPMG externship in Amsterdam was beneficial in ways beyond the obvious. While he was immersed in the career of an accountant, learning the business while also being absorbed in the culture of KPMG, Seid was also networking. Networking led him to another career-building experience.
“I found out about the inaugural Impulse Summit through my networking experience while on my KPMG externship in Amsterdam.”
The Impulse Summit, organized by the Sports Business Club at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, is promoted as the place “where sports and business meet the next generation.” The summit is similar in format to an industry conference, featuring expert speakers, networking sessions, and roundtable discussions centered around the business of sports.
What separates the summit from similar conferences is its “Challenger” session, which “provides sports business enthusiasts of tomorrow an entry into the field.” “Challengers” have the opportunity to host sessions and pose questions to industry leaders, while also contributing real solutions to industry problems and issues. Seid was one of only four “challengers” from the United States during the 2019 summit.
“It was cool and unique to interact with different people from different countries and different cultures,” he said of his experience. “The culture of sport is so much different in Europe. The American market is more focused on statistics and data. My background helped me bring a different perspective and different strategies to the sessions.”
Seid stated that he could someday see himself working in the sports industry, though that adventure will have to wait, as he begins as an analyst at Accenture, a Global 500 professional services company. “I love that my degree allows me to be able to choose from a variety of things,” he added.
While Seid may not know exactly what he wants to do for the rest of his career, that has never hindered him before. One thing is certain, however, no matter what industry Seid ends up in, he’s going to be successful.
“Whatever I do, I’ll do it 110 percent.”
Written by Jeremy Norman