The world of business takes all kinds – and it makes all kinds too. Graduates of the Chambers College become lawyers, educators, politicians, activists and more.
When he graduates, Rahat Arefy is going to become a doctor.
“I had no intention of studying business,” said Arefy. “Actually, I had no intention of going to college. I was a volunteer EMT and one of the guys in my department said he’d get me kicked out if I didn’t visit WVU.”
Even then, his path was anything but straightforward.
“I came here originally for biomedical engineering, did two semesters, and dropped out due to financial issues. For four years I did regulatory work in pharmaceuticals, then I got laid off. I started a clothing brand, but that wasn’t doing too hot. So I decided to go back to school.”
Arefy’s long-term goal was still medicine, but he wanted to find a different way to get there. His new path: marketing.
“In my own business, I learned that marketing and distribution channel analysis was our biggest weakness,” said Arefy. “I wanted to fill that gap.
"Medical schools don't really care what you major in as long as you've done your prerequisites. Marketing was the best way to study something in business that I liked while also studying medicine.”
But wait – are business skills really applicable to medicine? The answer, according to Arefy, is yes.
“If you’re a doctor, you’re going to be in charge of a team. If you move into administration, you’ll need business fundamentals. You can be the best doctor in the world, but if you don’t communicate, or assess what the patient’s comfort level is, you won’t have good patient outcomes.
“What you learn in business are management skills, people skills. The things I’m learning in business will enable me to be a leader in medicine in the future. Patient compliance, patient education – that’s marketing!”
Arefy’s involvement in the Chambers College doesn’t end with his classes. He’s also a Chambers Peer Mentor, and an undergraduate research apprentice in the BEAST Lab, where he researches how identity factors influence risk aversion.
He has two years left until graduation, and at least ten left before he’s done with medical school. His journey may be a long one, but the Chambers College has helped him over the foothills.
“My biggest concern when I was coming back was that I hadn’t been a student for so long,” said Arefy. “When was the last time I wrote a paper? Would I be able to connect with my peers, coming back as an older student?
“Susan Catanzarite was super key, going step by step with me to make sure I could go back to school. Mike Hardt was a great professor, and Micah Reed helped me a lot too. I feel very connected to the people who are running things here.”
He got additional help from an unexpected source: his engineering background.
“Gantt charts, industrial engineering principles, manufacturing and process management, all those things percolate their way into business. We can argue all day about how difficult our programs are, but it’s not a contest. A lot of the material I studied in engineering is the same stuff we’re studying here.”
There's no one kind of person who’s right for the business world – nor is there one kind of job that’s right for a business major. So the next time you go to the doctor, just remember: the person keeping you healthy might have graduated from the Chambers College.
CONTACT: Andrew Marvin
John Chambers College of Business and Economics