“Trust the process. There are many ways to reach your goal.”
This is advice Jasmine Mbadugha ‘16C offers to current St. John’s University students now that her willingness to take risks and follow her interests has earned her a position as Sales Strategist with International Business Machines (IBM)’s Watson Customer Engagement Portfolio. Though her undergraduate major was Government and Politics, with minors in French and International Communication, Mbadugha became interested in the private sector after being selected for the competitive Summer Venture in Management Program at Harvard Business School in 2015.
“That experience changed my career trajectory, because I was around all these people doing interesting things,” said Mbadugha. “I became interested in how the public and private sectors could inform each other to help solve problems.”
As part of the program, she gained business experience as a Product Sales Specialist Intern with IBM, in which capacity she delivered two successful major sales pitches demonstrating her knowledge of IBM’s cloud products. After her graduation from St. John’s, IBM hired Mbadugha as a full-time Product Sales Specialist under their sales program.
While an undergraduate, Mbadugha also participated in the student-run GLOBE microfinance program. GLOBE educates St. John’s students about microfinance while providing loans to struggling entrepreneurs in the developing world. She found a mentor in Linda Sama, Ph.D. who serves as faculty advisor to the GLOBE program and encouraged Mbadugha to think about international development from a different perspective, one that empowers the developing world. Mbadugha was also involved with the African Students Association (ASA), and thinking about how she can apply what she has learned to drive social impact in her home country, Nigeria.
Mbadugha enrolled at St. John’s as an Environmental Studies major, but a course in Global Environmental Politics and Policies inspired her to change majors and pursue an interest in international relations. She credits her liberal arts education with providing the critical thinking and reading comprehension skills that have helped her succeed in business, as well as follow her career trajectory through many different iterations. “Don’t be scared to try new things,” said Mbadugha. “Before I came to St. John’s, I was timid and didn’t imagine myself in a leadership capacity, but I ended up taking on a lot of leadership roles. There are so many things I found out about myself by simply taking chances that I wouldn’t otherwise know.”
She finds liberal arts education especially important for students of the Millennial generation, whose interests are uniquely multi-faceted and whose careers encompass many different interests. “Not everything you try will work out, but that’s okay,” said Mbadugha. “Other things will. The Universe has a plan for everyone.”
She also credits St. John's Vincentian Mission with developing her sense of empathy and helping her incorporate compassion and respect for all people into her personal career ambitions. “I’m interested in how technology can be used for good,” said Mbadugha, “and how the tech industry can contribute to solving problems around the world.”