As the fourteenth of sixteen children in his family, college wasn't immediately in the plans for Adam Karriem. In fact, he was 32 before he even began and eventually became the first of his siblings to earn a degree. "I was skeptical about returning to school after being out for so long," he remembered. "But I was always good with computers and looked into Berkeley while I was exploring colleges. I visited the New York City campus and immediately felt very comfortable. Everyone was down-to-earth very friendly and welcoming. They answered all my questions and I loved the fact that the classes were small."

Inspiration from professors

Adam enrolled in the Information Technology Management program and earned his Associate's degree. "I loved Berkeley right from the start," he recalled. "My professors were great—always available to help and very concerned about our success. They inspired me to go further."

Deeply involved in college life

After graduation, Adam continued directly into a Bachelor's degree program in Business Administration. He also got even more involved at Berkeley, serving in Student Government Association and as President of the Honor Society. He also worked part-time in the Counseling and Wellness office. "I didn't feel right if I wasn't helping others," he said, thinking back. "There were so many resources available to us at Berkeley, I felt like I could help some of the younger students overcome some of their challenges just as I had. I was happy to do it."

Learning to succeed from those who already have

With encouragement from his professors and the desire to accomplish even more, Adam decided to pursue his Master of Business Administration degree (M.B.A.) in Management through a combination of on-site and online classes. "The Berkeley M.B.A. faculty is impressive. I always ask about professors' pasts. I want to see what they've done with what they've learned. They're always very willing to share their professional experiences, which puts everything into perspective. Anyone can read a book, but they put things in practical terms. It’s a very realistic curriculum—classes are always very engaging. Students often work in teams, feeding off each other. The professors want to hear our opinions. Then they challenge us to defend them in problem-solving situations."

Ongoing connection and support

"A big difference has been the support of my professors throughout my time at Berkeley," Adam pointed out. "They’ve always been there for me. They keep in touch, even long after I’ve taken their classes. Some have even asked me to come back and speak to their current classes to share my experiences."

Continuing his educational journey

Adam is scheduled for his third Berkeley College graduation at the end of this semester, this time with his M.B.A. But his educational journey is still not over. He plans to earn a doctorate degree in Leadership and hopes to be a professor in the future. His other aspirations include opening a restaurant and pursuing his love of music as a jazz performer. He’ll always carry with him the valuable lessons he’s learned at Berkeley and the ongoing inspiration of his professors. Thinking ahead, he reflected, "I also plan on inspiring others. It’s one thing to ‘talk the talk,’ I plan to ‘walk the walk.’"

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