Charles Ma, BSBA’11, Gains By Sharing
A Turn for the Better
On his very first visit to Boston, recent Boston University School of Management (SMG) graduate Charles Ma (BSBA‘11) had his original school search unintentionally deterred in a very interesting way.
Driving around the city with Boston College as their target, the Ma family found themselves stuck in Fenway Park baseball traffic. After making a few evasive turns to beat the stampeding fans, they parked their car and began to walk around.
“Halfway through [the tour] I realized I was at Boston University,” Ma said. “But after it was over, I really liked it. I looked more closely at the School of Management, and decided that BU would be a pretty good fit.”
Born in Shanghai, China, Ma moved to the United States as a young child, first settling in Houston before ending up in Seattle for his middle school and high school education. He was accepted into BU’s Management Honors Program with a scholarship, took the offer, and one semester early of four years, he graduated from SMG with a focus on finance and operations.
Ma found his first job in Boston’s financial district working in banking as an entry level analyst. His long term goal is to spend a few years working in a real world setting before returning to school to earn his MBA, and then going back to banking.
“As an analyst you get to see a lot of different parts of the bank, different operations, and how things are connected,” he said. “Eventually I want to move up to a more managerial position.”
Going above and beyond during his time at Boston University was certainly a factor in his finding work so quickly upon graduation.
“Many employers are interested in more than just academic performance. They also want to know applicants on a personal level: how well you work with others, your attitude, and your motivations,” Ma said. “The activities I was engaged in allowed me to provide concrete examples of leadership, character, and integrity.”
While a student, Ma extended himself in several different situations in his attempt to help both students at the school, and those within the local community.
During his senior year he revived Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), a previously dormant club that connects students with people in the community, and became its president. Ma and a few of his friends focused on assisting local bands by promoting their music in the neighborhoods where they performed.
“SIFE is still growing,” Ma said. “My friends who are still active have been recruiting new participants.”
He also served as a TA (teacher’s assistant), working in a statistics class for three semesters. It was a role he enjoyed because of the immediate results he could witness in helping other students learn.
However, what may have been most fulfilling during Ma’s undergraduate career was working as a resident assistant at Warren Towers his junior year.
Every student under Ma’s care was a freshman, and the experience of helping incoming students assimilate into a new environment—experiences he himself had “survived”—was memorable.
Along with assisting with the unpredictable rigors of college life, Ma helped students on his floor who applied to the Honors Program by answering questions, and going out of his way to write recommendations on their behalf.
During RA appreciation week, the students on his floor decorated Ma’s door and presented him with a giant “Thank You” card: a small gesture with a great deal of meaning.
“I made many lasting relationships while at BU,” Ma said. “But the most meaningful came when I made positive impacts on the lives of others.”