May 11, 2021
Shireen Manna will be graduating on May 16, 2021 with a degree in Business Information Technology, Decision Support Systems (DSS) option and a minor in Entrepreneurship – New Venture Growth (ENVG).
After graduation, Shireen will be working in Reston, VA as a full-time Cyber Security Analyst for Fannie Mae. She also hopes to continue graduate school after a year of work, but nevertheless she is excited to be starting a new chapter in her life.
We recently asked her to share both her Virginia Tech and Pamplin journeys with us.
Why did you choose Virginia Tech? When and why did you choose entrepreneurship as part of your path?
I chose Virginia Tech because I fell in love with both its campus and its curriculum. I thoroughly enjoy Tech’s people and community as a whole. Though I came into my freshman year as Business Undecided, I met a BIT major in one of my Pathways classes and subsequently gained interest in the major. During my time at Virginia Tech, I joined many organizations and engaged in many extracurricular activities. Perhaps one of my favorites was the Pamplin Leadership Academy, which provides college students with access to leadership training in order to gain new – or improve existing – skill sets. The facilitator, Dr. Kimberly Carlson, introduced me to different leadership minors, which is how I settled on a minor in ENVG.
Were there any specific classes that you remember as validating your minor choice to date?
Social Entrepreneurship has been the class that truly validated my ENVG minor. Through this course, I learned the true meaning of entrepreneurship and recognized the importance of pursuing a personally meaningful career in order to live a life filled with passion and purpose. We discussed many social entrepreneurs who have made a huge impact in society today. I gained a new consulting perspective after learning about different cultures and current global social crises, as I was able to work on a project that focused on solving Juba, South Sudan’s issue of displacement. This project was enjoyable because it opened my eyes and gave me insight and expertise on a previously unfamiliar country.
What are some specific skills that you have gained from ENVG courses?
Through Pamplin’s ENVG courses, I have a better understanding of how to conduct market research, write a business plan, work and communicate effectively with others, and pitch products to potential customers and stakeholders, among others. I enjoyed applying these business skills to make an impact on today’s society, including the Juba, South Sudan project I worked on this semester. These skills and courses made me a more productive intern at Fannie Mae and even helped me secure my full-time position there. Additionally, I have become more confident as I have progressed through the ENVG course material.
Name some of the internships, if any, that you had during your Virginia Tech journey.
This past summer, I worked as a Technology Management Intern at Fannie Mae. This position truly helped me determine my ideal career path as well as my underlying business passions. I gained insight on how to successfully apply my skills and became more interested in both entrepreneurship and business as a whole. Although the internship was conducted virtually, it was still a valuable experience. Additionally, I have been involved in many Virginia Tech organizations that have molded me into the person I am today by sharpening my confidence, leadership, and collaboration skills.
If you could give a testimonial about Pamplin and/or the entrepreneurship curriculum, what would you say?
The Pamplin curriculum emphasizes the skills that are both important for a smooth transition into the workforce and important to possess as future business leaders and influencers. Pamplin acted as a hub for me to connect with like-minded individuals, expand my professional network, and meet my closest friends. Additionally, I have been working at Pamplin’s Apex Center for a year, and the experience has enhanced my communication skills and allowed me to gain insight into how students can implement creativity into their business pitches and ideas. I genuinely believe that you should join as many campus organizations or activities that get you out of your comfort zone; getting out of your comfort zone is the key to success, and doing so has made me feel more accomplished.