1. Hello Will. You have an incredible story of overcoming adversity in your home country of Liberia. Could you take a second and tell us about that stage of your life?
Growing up in Liberia, life was difficult at times. My country, Liberia, entered its first civil war from 1989 to 1996. During that period, I was living with my parents. My father was a disciplinarian. Since home-life was tough, I decided to stay with my grandma for the following school year. Due to the continuation crises in Liberia, my father decided to send my siblings and I to Ghana to continue our education. A few years later, we received the good news that we were going to the United States – and I could not wait!
2. We’re so glad that you made the decision to come to the United States! Before coming to Rutgers you had some other obstacles to overcome, correct?
Yes, during my senior year in high school, I was involved in a very bad car accident which I was blessed to survived. The following week, I went to the junkyard to retrieve my items. When I arrived, the owner of the towing company told me “I am sorry for your loss kid”, I looked at him and told him that I was the driver. He was in shocked. He told me, over the past 30 years in the towing business, no one has ever survived such a crash. He said, “Son, you have a strong angel watching over you”.
Due to my injuries I had to stay home and inevitably not graduate from high school. A few years later, I had my first child (Sarina). She was a blessing in my life and also my physical guardian angel. I decided to go back to school to create a better life for her. Before making the decision to go back to school, I decided to ask a few friends of mine for advice. I received mixed responses. 95% of my friends told me I was too old to go back to school. I finally took the advice of a close friend, Darryl Scott. He pushed me to go back to school for my daughter. I took his advice and it served me well.
3. So you survived a civil war, a horrific accident, and becoming a young father. How did your love for Finance come about?
After obtaining my 30-college credits at Atlantic Cape Community College, I received my GED. I linked up with some friends who introduced me to day trading and I loved what I saw. I started taking more finance courses to sharpen my knowledge. Being a day trader is not easy, especially when you have a child. You have to stay up late hours to know what is going on in the international markets before the U.S. markets open for the following day.
4. Long hours can certainly be draining. I understand that you’ve been spending a lot of time in our Bloomberg Financial Labs. It must be a treat to work in the #1 Higher Ed financial labs in the state of NJ. What has your experience been?
My experience in the Bloomberg financial lab has been tremendous. Earning my Bloomberg Market Concept certificate as a business student at Rutgers School of Business is another great achievement of mine. Before being aware of the certificate, one of my career goals was to be a financial advisor or work in the financial sector. The Bloomberg terminal provided me clearer understanding about fixed income. I learned about bonds, ETFs, CDs and money market funds as well. Bloomberg Market Concept also helped with economic indicators, currencies and equities.
5. What has surprised you most about Rutgers – Camden from the time you arrived?
What surprised me the most about Rutgers was the love and care these professors have for their students. The professors at Rutgers – Camden go above and beyond their classroom time to make sure their students are grasping the information being taught.
6. So, you’re approaching your graduation! Congratulations on your achievement. Looking back, is there a favorite class you took that most prepared you for your future career?
Thank you! My Business Policy class taught by Professor Kim certainly comes to mind. This class was very challenging and it provided me with an enormous amount of knowledge in finance. Professor Kim was very helpful and responsive throughout the semester.
7. It’s great to hear that your experience in the Financial Labs and the classroom have been rewarding for your future in finance. What’s one piece of advice that you would give others that came to the United States later in life and are considering Higher Ed and Rutgers University?
My advice to them is – if you are looking for a university that focuses on education, prestige, a family-oriented environment and jobs opportunities to all of its students, look no further than Rutgers University – Camden. Rutgers School of Business checks all of those boxes while costing less per credit than many other schools I had considered.