Global Storyteller: Abdallah Mahmoud

What degree are you working towards?

A bachelor’s degree in business administration

Tell us your leadership story! Describe a little bit of your journey growing up that made you into a leader. What experience(s) defined you?

I was born in Egypt and grew up there for sixteen years. I’ve always been a very social person, always trying to make connections and friends everywhere I go. I grew up with two younger brothers and as an older brother, I always had a lot of responsibilities – especially being a good role model for them. My mom is a college professor and my dad is an electrical engineer, so I was raised by parents who really value education. Unfortunately while growing up, I did not have an interest in education and always seemed to find a way to not study, still ending up passing my exams, and then moving onto the next level.

Looking back, I can see that what I really needed was to change my mentality, but I was young and decided that I didn’t care about the future. The turning point in my life was when I had to move here to North Carolina with my mom and two younger brothers when my mom got a fulltime job at UNC.

I was a junior in high school where I arrived in NC. That’s a very sensitive age to make such a big transition, and so I struggled a lot in high school. I didn’t have many friends and was never willing to try out for the soccer team even though it was my favorite sport.

I didn’t do well in high school and went to community college after, which is now something that I really appreciate and am proud of. It was during this time that I felt the need to change. I had matured and was strong enough now to step up and world towards changing my current condition.

I started to build a dream and then began to chase it.

My dream began with reevaluating and changing my academic and social habits. I started by getting out of my comfort zone and getting involved as much as I could. I obtained my professional soccer coaching license and started volunteering to coach kids in soccer – teaching them both skills and sportsmanship. This was my first step in improving my communication and leadership skills.

I continued by creating study groups on campus for my classes. My dream got bigger, and I decided that I wanted to study Business Administration with a concentration in Finance at NC State.

The application deadlines were approaching fast and so I applied to UNC Greensboro and NC State. I got rejected by NC State because I was missing one of the prerequisites, but I managed to get accepted into the UNC G.

It didn’t change the fact that I desperately wanted to go to NC State. I made the decision to stay one more semester at community college to finish the prerequisite, take some more classes, and then reapply to NC State.

Fortunately, I made it to NC State this time. Getting accepted into NC State is still one of my greatest achievements. When I came to campus, I wanted to do more and get to know more people around the university. I wanted to take advantage of the diversity here so I joined some clubs, social clubs and academic clubs, like the Honor Fraternity. All of these have been great opportunities for me to get to know people with different backgrounds and interests.

I wanted to improve my communication and leadership skills, so I applied to be a Poole Peer Leader on campus and was luckily selected after a couple of interviews. My role is to help transfer and first-year students in Poole College succeed in their academic careers.

I also became a Culture to Culture Ambassador where I help new international students adapt to the changes they might experience here in the US. I felt that because I’ve had the same experience, I would be able to help them feel more at home.

I’m proud of all the mistakes I’ve made since each one of them has defined me and helped me become a more persistent person. Through my experiences, I have been able to identify my weaknesses and find solutions in order to change them into valuable skills.

Why did you choose NC State? How did NC State help you grow as a leader?

I chose NC State for many reasons. First, the reputation of the school is incredible. It makes me feel proud every time I tell someone I go to NC State and their reaction is to tell me how great the school is. The second reason is the diversity on campus. It is amazing to have the opportunity to meet so many people from different backgrounds and interests. Finally, the tremendous resources that NC State offers, whether it’s workshops, career fairs, or the libraries.

What would you tell a prospective international student who was interested in attending NC State?

I would tell them how welcoming the campus is, especially to international students. I would encourage them to attend NC State and take advantage of all of the available resources and clubs.