A Conversation with Minerva Student Raamael
Meet Raamael, a student in the Class of 2020.
Raamael Arif Mahmood
Major & Concentration
Business: Managing Operational Complexity and Strategic Finance
Project Development and Marketing Analyst Intern at VIVITA, a Mistletoe company
What do you enjoy most about being a part of the Minerva community?
I am a really big fan of the diversity in our community. The more diverse the student body, the more opportunities there are to learn from one another’s unique and varied perspectives, which I believe creates an optimal learning experience. I am Pakistani and one of my best friends and classmates is Indian. How awesome is that?
What are you most looking forward to during the 2017–18 school year?
Growth. I am taking Computational Sciences (CS) courses with the intention of growing personally and academically. I used to love being in my comfort zone. Studying CS and living in countries around the world allows me to explore life outside of my comfort zone. I can’t wait to see how that will change me.
What is one interesting thing you packed to bring with you to Seoul?
My best friend gave me a gift on my 18th Birthday; it is a small bear holding the number 18 and it is really special to me.
Describe class on the Active Learning Forum.
Enlightening, yet frightening. Let me explain: it is enlightening in that the discussions we have are so diverse and interesting that they make me consider different mindsets and help me to see things in a whole new manner. It’s also frightening because you simply cannot doze off, not even for a second. So yes, it is frightening — but in a good way.
How do your parents feel about you attending Minerva?
My parents are very pleased. They are happy when I am happy, and since I am extremely happy to be at Minerva, they are, too. Both my parents understand Minerva’s model and believe in the mission of the school. They even met with Ben Nelson, Minerva’s Founder, in San Francisco and had a chance to have a conversation about it. They are glad that I am here and wish for Minerva’s continued success.
What would you tell another student who is considering Minerva?
Minerva is unique. It is not for everyone and that is important to understand. You must be ready to dive into a world full of students with ambitions and desires and, more importantly, be prepared to go out of your way to acquire the tools needed to achieve your own goals. If you dream of changing the world and are willing to go the extra steps needed to do so, Minerva will be the right home for you.
Why did you choose Minerva?
I want to live a life of meaning, and the way I want to do that is by positively changing the world. Being at Minerva is the start of that journey. Minerva is working to revolutionize higher education and I want to play a role in this change. On a personal note, Minerva is the epitome of opportunity for many talented Pakistanis back home. Being part of this program has allowed me to share Minerva with others and, hopefully, have a big impact on their lives if they are able to attend.
You recently completed an internship with Mistletoe and VIVITA in Tokyo. Had you ever travelled to Japan before? What was it like to immerse yourself in Tokyo’s startup culture?
It was a childhood dream of mine to visit Japan, but I never had the opportunity. I saw this internship as the perfect opportunity that would enable me to fully immerse in the culture of the so called “land of rising sun.” It was an enlightening experience to be part of Tokyo’s culture and to learn about startups in particular. I saw firsthand how startups are changing the dynamics of the way work is done in Japan; it made me believe that anyone can enact meaningful change, if they put in the effort.
Describe your internship role at Mistletoe.
I worked for one of Mistetoe’s startups, VIVITA, a seed accelerator for children. VIVITA’s mission is to provide an accessible, practical learning environment for kids to develop the necessary skills required to thrive in the 21st century. Throughout my internship, I worked on a range of projects. First, I collaborated on different do-it-yourself projects, like a hydraulic robot prototype, which we then created marketing and experience strategies around. Additionally, I worked on developing marketing strategies to establish VIVITA’s identity in the makers’ industry, part of which required me to research ways for the company to become the leading example of revolutionary educational institutions in modern Japan. The project development team I was placed on had very high expectations for the interns; they were incredible people to learn from while I was in Tokyo.
What is one HC you found relevant and useful during your internship?
#leadprinciples: It is so vital to lead in roles that require significant responsibility. For example, if my boss assigned a project to me, it would be my responsibility to effectively lead my team to get the work done well and in a timely manner. This was a particularly important HC for me, as I worked with different people and led different projects during my experience with Mistletoe and VIVITA.
Tell us about a particularly fulfilling moment you had with VIVITA.
I was able to create a robot that could successfully pick up other items using a hydraulics operating system. It was fascinating to me because I had successfully created something that was both a piece of art — and I wouldn’t exactly consider myself an artist — and constructive. I was really happy that the project was successful and very fulfilling.
Do you know what major and/or career path you would like to pursue?
I’m pursuing a concentration in finance, which can evolve into multiple career options for me. My skills align well with the consulting world, and I am interested in developing financial models and using analytics to improve client relations. I also have experience working in very traditional corporate finance banking systems and am interested in learning more about trading within global markets, as I enjoy developing insights into equity investments. Lastly, I am fascinated with how technological firms use financial analytics to make strong business decisions. Basically, I’m still exploring my options.