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Alumni Spotlight:

Nima Jelveh Class of 2009

Nima Jelveh graduated from Mulgrave School in 2009 as a member of the 2nd IBDP class. A Prefect who had been involved in many aspects of student life, from the Service Action Council to the Tennis team, Nima was the first Mulgravian to attend an Ivy League school for his undergraduate degree. He earned his Bachelor’s of Engineering followed by a Master’s degree in Systems Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and now works as a Business Technology Analyst for Deloitte. Nima joined us for an interview via Skype from Buffalo, New York and spoke about what it was like studying in the USA, Hong Kong and Europe, while also reminiscing on his time as a high school student. Let us introduce you to Nima as he shares his experiences and reflects on the lessons he learned at Mulgrave as an IB student.


WE ASKED You began your studies at the University of Pennsylvania in Sepetember 2009. What inspired you to move to the USA to study engineering?

Nima’s university decision After having completed my education at Mulgrave School and living in Vancouver for so many years, I was ready for a change of scenery. I had originally wanted to study at Stanford University in California, but after seeing the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn)’s campus and the city of Philadelphia, I fell in love. Five years later, I am still here in the great city of ‘brotherly love’.

WE ASKED You have studied on three different continents in three years. What was your experience like studying in Hong Kong compared to studying in Germany?

A Global Education

Studying abroad in Hong Kong was one of the best

experiences of my life. Getting to experience a completely new culture accompanied by a group of peers from all over the world was an experience unmatched by anything else. I learned to work with people from different social and academic standards. Believe it or not, work ethic and expectations are completely different in the US/Canada than in East Asia and Europe. I once worked with a group on a final paper in Hong Kong where half of the members plagiarized (one from Amazon.com!) their portions of the paper. It wasn’t that they were trying to be dishonest, it is just that in some European and Asian countries, the emphasis is not on the originality of work but rather the accuracy of the research. Luckily for me, we fixed that problem before we actually handed in the paper for credit. This particular experience stands out to me because it solidifed my own ethics and proved to me how education standards vary from culture to culture. I enjoyed my time in Hong Kong so much that upon my return to UPenn, I immediately applied for an allexpenses-paid summer study abroad programme in Germany. Although I was enrolled in academic courses in Germany, this trip was different in that it was more of a cultural exchange than a rigorous academic programme. My classmates from UPenn and I were immediately paired off with German host students. This allowed us to


Whereever Nima travels, he re-connects with his Mulgrave peers. Upper left photo: Christopher Pettigrew, Oliver Dempsey and Nima at Niagra Falls, Spring 2014. Upper right photo: Morgan Lunn and Nima in Germany, Summer 2012. Bottom photo: Nima and Sina Habibian in Prague, Summer 2012. 12.


develop a close relationship with our paired counterparts. We spent a lot of time travelling with our hosts as our programme included a student train pass. With this pass in hand, I was able to explore the German countryside. By participating in academic and/or cultural exchange programmes, one begins to experience first-hand how small the world can be. For example, while in Hong Kong, I befriended a fellow exchange student from Germany. Coincidentally, this student later became one of our German host students during my summer programme. I can talk about study abroad forever! It is a huge reason why I chose a career in consulting. I hope I can get more international experience through work in the near future.

WE ASKED “UPenn’s program in Engineering Entrepreneurship is top-of-the-line, and I never felt so energized doing work as I did in this program”.

You recently earned your Master’s of Engineering, specializing in Systems Engineering. What do you enjoy most about systems engineering?

Finding his niche I completed my undergraduate degree in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at UPenn. Due in part to the diversity of the classes I took while studying abroad, I quickly learned that I would benefit by applying my background in engineering to a career focused on


innovation and entrepreneurship. This revelation led me to start a Master’s Degree in Systems Engineering. I opted to take classes that focused on engineering entrepreneurship. UPenn’s programme in Engineering Entrepreneurship is top-of-the-line, and I never felt so energized doing work as I did as a graduate student in this programme. The programme is structured to parallel the learning one does in a start-up firm. As part of the final class in the programme, I was a member of a small team of students tasked with the job of creating, designing and testing a business plan for an engineering product. After the product’s conception, we had the opportunity to present it to venture capital firms from New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia for funding. We thoroughly examined every aspect of this theoretical product: from quantitatively testing the engineering theory behind it, to calculating the market dynamics of our product (including evaluating competitors, substitutes, etc.), to creating a defendable funding schedule that our company would need to bring this product to fruition. The skills in teamwork, presentation, scheduling, and due-diligence that I learned throughout this class made it clear to me that pursuing my Master’s Degree in Systems Engineering through Engineering Entrepreneurship was a great pathway for me as I embark on my career.

WE ASKED Can you describe your role as a Business Technology Analyst?

from the classroom to the boardroom I have a hard time even explaining this to my parents, but essentially what I do is work as part of a team that is hired by clients to incorporate technology solutions to augment their business. People hire firms like the one I am now employed by because we have worked on similar types of business problems before with other clients (in their industry) and often the client does not have that sort of expertise. For example, if Mulgrave wanted to implement a smartphone check-in device for students in the classroom, they might hire outside consultants with experience to help implement that sort of thing. One aspect of my role is to travel to client sites. This role allows me to travel both domestically and internationally. I travel every week to and from home to the client site. Right now I am working in western New York State. Before that, I was in Dallas and Atlanta.


WE ASKED What are some skills that you learned through the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme that you have been able to apply to your post-secondary career?

Nima prides himself on being a globally minded student Writing! The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, and more specifically, Marlena Morgan, taught me how to write cohesive essays. The essays that seemed outrageously long and tedious as IB students proved their worth once I got to UPenn. While my peers balked at 2000-word essays due in one day, I was already used to a high standard of research and writing while working on a tight timeline. I cannot emphasize this aspect of the IB programme enough. While writing is an essential skill I gained as an IB student, I would also argue that it is the unique curriculum that balances academics with a service-based learning module (CAS) that I have benefited most from. As a student at Mulgrave, I was exposed to a wide range of cultures, languages and global service opportunities. As a participant in the Global Education Outreach (GEO) trips

to Costa Rica (2007) and Kenya (2008), my passion for travelling and improving global conditions was fueled. At Mulgrave, I was raised to be a global citizen. My global perspective has driven my ambition to study abroad, as well as to accept a position with a company that shares these values. Mulgrave’s focus on being a global citizen has shaped who I am as a person. This is something I don’t think any school I have ever heard of comes close to in regards to this aspect of education. I think this should be Mulgrave’s selling point. It really makes Mulgrave students stand out.

WE ASKED At the end of the month, we will welcome the Class of 2014 into the Mulgrave Alumni Association. What is one piece of advice you were given as you prepared for your own graduation from Mulgrave?

“Don’t Ever stop learning” Don’t ever stop learning. Learning does not stop when you leave the classroom, and it certainly is not constrained to any one building, profession, or group of friends. Every interaction you have with anyone or anything has potential for a


perspective-changing takeaway, and I think that taking advantage of these moments impacts your personality, how you treat yourself and how you treat other people, and how you can change the little things you do to make sure that you are happy with yourself and the direction you are going in life.

WE ASKED Where is your next plane ticket booked for?

Next stop, Los angeles I am literally writing this on an airplane to Los Angeles to get some sun and to see a fellow Mulgrave alum, Rachel Lee. I also just found out that I will begin work in Costa Rica this summer.

INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE? Join us on May 22, 2014 for the University Admissions Information Evening featuring Mulgrave School’s Alumni Meet and Greet

This event is a new twist on the Senior School students’ University Admissions Information Evening hosted by Luke Lawson. After learning about the general application and admittance process, students and their families are invited to a reception with Mulgrave Alumni. Alumni will have an opportunity to connect with current Senior School students and share the ‘pathway’ that they took to their present career or field of study. We invite you to join us to learn more about our graduates! Please contact Chloe Scott at cscott@mulgrave.com for more information.


Alumni Spotlight: Nima Jelveh