Young alumni find success in the business world.
Dr. Hafiz Cheema BS Biology ’13, MBA ‘16, DC ‘16, Elias Martinez MS International Business ’17, and AJ Nosek MBA ’16 all have different backgrounds, but one thing unites these young alumni — a quick jump to success in their careers. Read about their achievements and how their D’Youville education translated to early accolades in their respective business fields.
Dr. Hafiz Cheema always knew he wanted to open his own chiropractic clinic, even while studying here at D’Youville. After being open less than a year, Cheema’s clinic, Guardian Family Chiropractic earned a St. Catharines Standard Readers’ Choice Award for Favorite Chiropractic Clinic in the ‘Health, Wellness, and Beauty’ category.
The clinic, which opened in March 2018, has already made a name for itself in the community. “People actually showed us love and everyone has meaning behind each review. It means a lot because when you put your mind and heart into anything you can achieve that,” said Cheema.
Cheema says his time here at D’Youville has helped him reach the place he is at today. “My time at D’Youville is my favorite time of my life. It’s given me a lot and the tools to succeed — where I am today is because of D’Youville. All of my teachers were very positive and always put that positive energy into me.”
When Guardian Family Chiropractic opened its doors, Cheema had an initial goal of having 100 new clients within the first 60 days — they reached that goal in 55.
Even while attending his Master's of Business Administration classes on Saturdays, Cheema knew the value of the education he was getting. “Earning my business degree not only gave me the knowledge to be successful, but also taught me leadership qualities, helped me with communication skills, and gave me more confidence along with other higher-level skills that others may lack,” he added.
Elias Martinez placed second in the 2018 Keybank Business Boost and Build Buffalo Competition which partners with local organizations to provide technical assistance to small businesses in urban neighborhoods that have struggled to access these services in the past.
The judging panel awarded Martinez second place after a 4-minute pitch on his business, Kubed Root, a micro-green urban farm with the goal of creating an indoor farm facility in Buffalo.
“This was a really big deal for me. Not only did it provide some breathing room for my company to grow, but it also legitimized and confirmed my core thesis of creating this indoor workspace,” said Martinez.
“This farm space would build an ecosystem of green collar jobs and business owners in a centralized, accessible location and provide the entrepreneurs with cheap easy access to hydroponics, farming equipment, and markets.”
Growing up around fellow entrepreneurs from a young age, Martinez got the bug for owning his own business early on and knew he wanted to pursue his business degree.
“I knew that in a world where business is always changing, it’s important to have a degree which can be applied to nearly every other field. It is quite often the lack of business discipline and expertise that sinks a company.
“You have to figure out a way to become economically viable in your field whether you work at a business, as an artist or even a farmer,” said Martinez.
AJ Nosek was named a board member for the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Risk Management Association, a resource for commercial lenders and their lending risk management practices.
Earning his MBA allowed him to advance his career through more opportunities with larger firms. He says his favorite memory of his alma mater is the people. “Everyone in my class is still pretty close and I keep in touch even now, years after graduation, including a few faculty members,” said Nosek.
Nosek added that the “hustle of sales” was what led him to pursue business as a major and ultimately a career. “I love meeting people and making connections, building those relationships and learning the behind the scenes aspects of all types of business helps me manage those connections and what may be most important to various types of clients,” he added.
His advice to students: “Find something that you love to do, it sounds cliché but honestly if you love what you do it makes work seem fun. I could not even imagine doing anything else — if business feels right to you, find out what about it most interests you and make it a career.”
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