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About Jay

Hometown: Woodbridge, VA
Previous University: George Mason University
Undergraduate Degree: Bachelor of Science in Integrative Studies (Business Administration)
Q: Tell us about your background. 

A: I immigrated to the U.S. from Ghana at an early age and grew up in Northern Virginia. Post-grad, I worked as a Journeyman Analyst for BAE Systems. I was then accepted into Raytheon's two-year leadership development program, where I traveled to and worked in Raytheon businesses in Massachusetts and California. 

Realizing my passion for travel and diverse and challenging work assignments, I became a business and technology consultant for six years at Accenture. After six years, meeting my significant other and looking for stability, I moved back to Boston and became a program manager for John Hancock for an additional six years. I am currently an IT Alternate Business Model program manager at Boston Consulting Group. In my current role, I lead M&A IT Integration and provide Business Relationship Management services to six decentralized technical businesses.  

After 20 years of work experience, I reached a crossroads: did I want to further my education or look for career-growth opportunities? Ultimately, the opportunity to both gain expertise and elevate my career at BCG, led me to the Graduate Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation program.   

Q: What inspired you to earn a Graduate Certificate in Entrepreneurship? 

A: One of my favorite undergrad courses was entrepreneurship. I have been interested in launching a venture since taking that course. However, work demands and the desire to advance my career left little time to pursue any type of business venture. I felt I needed additional education on this topic.  

I was interested in building skills to challenge the status quo and leverage the technology from our decentralized technology companies by bringing them in-house to grow BCG. At the same time, I was still exploring the thought of starting my own venture. With a part-time study option, the graduate certificate was the perfect mix of entrepreneurship and innovation coursework that helped me explore career paths while building the skills to grow my career at BCG. 

Q: What made you decide that D'Amore-McKim was a good fit? 

A:  Working full-time in Boston, it was important to find a flexible, local program that offered opportunities to build my network. D'Amore-McKim satisfied these requirements.  

What I liked most about D'Amore-McKim's offering was the variety of programs offered at the graduate level. I'm considering pursuing an MBA or going down the path of micro-credentialing to build my skills in specific areas. These certificate programs will allow me to develop skills that could later be applied to an MBA. They're very targeted, short-term, and allow networking and collaboration with other working professionals and interesting students. 

Q: How have you applied what you've learned to your work at Boston Consulting Group? 

A: During my coursework, I explored the challenges of technological innovation in new business development. I also learned how to uncover, quantify, and communicate value through business casework and presentations. These skills helped me to build my case and pitch the importance of leveraging the technology from our existing business to gain a competitive advantage.  

I was promoted to IT Alternate Business Model Senior Manager shortly after completing my certificate program. I believe that this is in part due to the skills I gained through the graduate certificate. My desire to start a venture is still there and maybe something I pursue someday. My current focus is leading my team to achieve our business goals and add value to BCG. My certificate has set me up for further success at BCG by deepening my knowledge in my field. 

Q: What are your professional goals and will your graduate certificate to help you achieve them? 

A: The world is relying more and more on technology. Every day, technology becomes more complex, so my goal is to stay educated and informed on new technologies such as cloud, blockchain, quantum computing, and artificial intelligence to learn how the technologies can be applied to solve business and everyday challenges.  

Earning my graduate certificate has reinforced my desire to be a self-starter and pursue my goals. In the entrepreneurship classes, you learn to rely on yourself to go out and find the information and tools to achieve your objective. The innovation-focused courses in the program teach you about innovation lifecycles, how to develop processes, and forge the culture to build and sustain an innovative organization. Lastly, class presentations helped prepare us to confidently present to larger groups, research content, and properly structure and deliver an idea to align with our intended audience and provide the value we're seeking. These skills will be very useful one day if I decide to pursue my own venture. 

Q: What advice would you share with future students? 

A:  My motivation for pursuing my graduate certificate was the bigger picture. It can be daunting to sign up for an MBA while working full-time, but I had a great mentor who told me to take one class and see how it goes. I found a program with D'Amore-McKim that suited my busy schedule and took one class. I liked it and realized I was able to take this on in conjunction with my work schedule. 

With the graduate certificate, you can take it one step at a time in a way that fits your schedule. So, take one class. You just might love it.  

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“As an engineer, I wanted to learn how business works in real life so I can be ready to work on a corporate level whenever it's needed,” says Bokhari, “I was able to become an interdisciplinary student which meant that I could earn my Graduate Certificate at the same time.”

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