Battle of the Brains competition leads Kevin Washington to post-graduation career

The purpose of the annual HBCU Battle of the Brains competition is to promote talented business and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) students while connecting them with some of the country's top employers.  It was during the competition that Alcorn State University senior Kevin Washington earned a position with one of the country's most notable companies.

Back in March, while participating in the competition as Alcorn's captain, Washington connected with a software engineer manager from The Home Depot who was impressed with his showing during the conference's tournament. His meeting led to him securing a job with The Home Depot Headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia as the company's associate product manager. 

"It feels like everything that I have worked towards over the last few years is sitting in front of me," said Washington, who will earn a bachelor's degree in business administration during the University's 2018 Spring Commencement Exercise on Saturday. "To have set these lofty goals for myself and surpass them is a feeling of winning that I have not felt before. This job is just the first step. I still have a long way to go."

Making life simpler for others while familiarizing himself with the latest technological advances motivated Washington to pursue the associate product manager position. 

"Product management is something I have always wanted to do. Many positions require you to have between two and five years of experience as a business analyst, so I thought it was a position I would pursue later in my career. I know I will enjoy this position because it allows me to combine my passion for making others' lives easier while feeding my overabundant curiosity when it comes to new technologies."

Networking to secure a promising future was Washington's priority during the competition. He took advantage of his opportunity by pursuing his dream with confidence, and he encourages his peers to do the same.

"The most important thing you can do as a student is to make sure that people remember you. Having empty conversations are pointless; be excited to hear what a professional has to say and internalize any advice they give you."

As Washington's time at Alcorn comes to an end, he acknowledges his professors in the School of Business who prepared him for a thriving career in business.

"I will miss my professors more than anyone else. They have trained me to think for myself, question everything, and have prepared me to survive in any environment. Dr. Benedict Udemgba, Dr. Donna Williams, Dr. Donatus Okhomina, Dr. Gregory Winter, and Mr. Willie Anderson have always been there to help me whenever I needed them. They made Alcorn feel like a welcoming environment while helping me to understand that achievement is a product of individual effort and relationship building."