At USD we have the unique opportunity to use what we learn in business school and apply it to volunteer work as a part of our team service project. A number of us chose to use our new skills to volunteer for Jewish Family Services (JFS), an organization that provides several programs for families around the San Diego area.
In order to apply some of our business acumen, we ended up helping JFS run a career seminar for Iraqi refugees, some of whom had been in the United States for less than a week. We helped the refugees by conducting mock interviews, developing their elevator pitches, and editing their resumes to set them up for their job search.
The volunteer work was especially rewarding for me as I had recently finished 5 years in the Army, with 2 of those years spent deployed to Iraq. During my time in Iraq, I worked closely with the Iraqi people and gained a deep appreciation for their values while also witnessing their many hardships due to the effects of the war. I was happy to find out that I would be working 1 on 1 with a refugee to build his resume.
Through my experiences in Iraq, I learned some conversational Arabic along with a few inside jokes in the process. When I met the man I would be helping with his resume, I started off with one of my lame Iraqi jokes and it quickly broke the ice. Through our discussions, we discovered that we had both spent time in the same city and even had mutual acquaintances in the country.
After spending much of the day working together, we developed an impressive resume. Many of the refugees were very experienced with engineering and technology and simply needed someone to put their experience into American context.
My volunteer experience at USD not only allowed me to apply my business skills to help people in the community, but it also helped me improve the lives of those less fortunate who have faced adversity we can only imagine.
Corey is a second year, full-time MBA student. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy and spent the summer interning at Cisco Systems.