At 19 years old, Mohammad Dhailia is officially the youngest student to graduate from The College of Saint Rose with a BS/MBA dual degree. He’s graduating with a degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing as a part of Saint Rose’s accelerated MBA program. Dhailia will participate in the College’s 100th Commencement on May 13.
During his time at Saint Rose, Dhailia was an active member of several student clubs and organizations, and also worked in the Offices of Spiritual Life and Community Service as a work-study student and intern. He’s passionate about community service, horticulture, and making strong connections.
We recently caught up with Dhailia to discuss this unique achievement.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Why Saint Rose?
As an alum’s brother and someone who was familiar with Saint Rose well before I had begun choosing my college, I felt closest to home here. Back in high school, Saint Rose students would also visit for Reach Out Saint Rose, so I [already] had a good experience with the College.
What made you want to pursue a dual degree?
It was the fastest way to graduate, and my advisor, Dr. John Dion, was the one who designed the program. When I first met with him about joining the MBA program, his encouragement – as well as my parents- made me feel comfortable with the decision.
What was your Saint Rose experience like?
Great! I appreciate the chance to have met and learned from so many great professors and people. The staff who do amazing work on programs or events and students that work hard as club E-board members or in work-study positions or simply volunteering in events truly create an enjoyable environment.
What were some of your favorite classes and why?
It’s truly hard to choose, as I enjoyed many classes in business law, integrated global business, business marketing, finance, introduction to biology, HR management … I could go on and on. But it wasn’t the classes that made me like them. It was professors like Dion, Dr. Warren Cook, Dr. Karen Crandall, Dr. Zhengjun Wang, Dr. Haidy Brown, Dr. Yu-Jung Avis, Dr. Angela Gordon, and so many more. I really enjoyed each and every one of their classes and am so thankful for them.
What was your favorite thing about Saint Rose?
Reach Out Saint Rose! It’s an annual event at the beginning of the year where Saint Rose staff, students, and professors volunteer to go to local non-profit organizations and help with whatever they need. Its pure purpose is to give back. The turnouts for this event are always staggering, bringing together everyone for a chance to start the year off with kindness. It is organized by the Office of Spiritual Life and Community Service every year due to people like Joan Horgan, who really makes Saint Rose home.
You’re certainly one of our youngest graduates. Did you feel you were treated any differently due to your age?
A little, but this is to be expected and it could have very well been my own impression of my surroundings. No one really knew my age unless I mentioned it, but for my first semester, I did slightly suffer with making campus connections. By joining clubs and going to events, I began to warm up to campus. I connected with people I respected and those who respected me, and was certainly better for it. The fact that COVID separated everyone for a year and a half, too – everyone was just excited to see another face.
How were you able to graduate so early?
It started with my parents. They helped me finish high school two years early and with 15 college credits, so by the time I was attending my first classes, I was already two or three years younger than my peers. With encouragement from my parents, professors, and peers, I decided to take summer classes and take as many classes as I could in a semester. With the MBA program already shaving a year for me and the extra classes added, I finished another year early. It took me a total of three and a half years to finish my bachelor’s and master’s.
Were you involved in any extracurricular clubs or activities?
I was a member of the Peace Action Club, the Student Union club, the Muslim Student Association, the International Student Club, the Black & Brown Students Union, the Happiness Club, the Student Events Board, Identity, the Saint Rose Debate Club, and a couple more I might be missing. I also had a work study position with the Offices of Spiritual Life and Community Service, so I did have the pleasure of being a part of many on-campus events.
I also completed a marketing internship in the Office of Spiritual Life, where I analyzed events attendance and students’ interests, as well as designed student surveys, observational studies, and interviews.
What are your future plans?
I hope to work in the Department of Environmental Conservation, or finding [another] position in the horticultural industry would be perfect. [I’d like to] open up my own nursery and maybe one day open up an attached community garden, continuing on the valuable lessons that Saint Rose taught me.
Anything else you’d like to share with us?
I feel really proud and thankful to my parents, friends, teachers, and professors. All the people that gave me a helping hand or stood in my way, both have allowed me to see value in my efforts. Thank you, Saint Rose!
By Kaseem Gomez