Alum from the Congo brings social mindset to career


Among MCLA's diverse group of graduates this spring was Alex Mukendi '13. Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, he earned his bachelor's degree in business administration. He now plans to find work with a company that exhibits corporate social responsibility.

"Businesses should not only concentrate on making profits, they should also provide positive support in society," Mukendi said.

Born in the Congo, Mukendi and his family left their homeland because of the worsening socioeconomic situation and the ongoing, intermittent civil war of the past 17 years. For the past decade, Schenectady, N.Y., has been his home.

Why did he decide to major in business administration?

"Because it offers an endless amount of opportunities on a worldwide basis, and it is also interrelated to politics in an intriguing way. Political actions affect a given nation's business outlook," Mukendi explained.

However, what interests him most about the field is its flexibility. Mukendi - who served as the president of Delta Mu Delta, MCLA's chapter of the national honor society for business administration students - chose concentrations in international business and accounting, so he also is considering work in the finance sector.

He chose MCLA because of its affordability, but on his first visit to campus, he "absolutely fell in love with the place and the affable students there."

Mukendi, too, was a friendly face on campus. In addition to serving as an executive board member of the Black Student Union and the campus's Multicultural Student Society, he was also a co-facilitator for the Campus Conversation on Race (CCOR), where he encouraged debate on sensitive racial issues and guided various dialogues.

A teaching assistant and tutor exchange network associate, Mukendi also served as a resident adviser at Berkshire Towers. Over the summer, he was a resident program coordinator for the Individual Enrichment Program Summer Session.

"I have had the indelible opportunity of working with incoming freshmen students," he said. "My role consisted of various responsibilities, such as coordinating events that we planned to attend, assigning duty night shifts to other counselors, arranging food orders and preparing van assignments for off-campus travel.

"All of these activities have contributed to my growth and learning. I have picked up a plethora of transferable skills along the way, and have a better grasp on how to work with different groups of individuals."

Mukendi - who recently returned from travels to Botswana and South Africa to visit family and explore that part of the world - plans to work for a couple of years before heading to graduate school to further his education.

His other recent travels include a trip to China in 2010 through one of MCLA's spring travel courses, an opportunity which he highly values.

"I have significantly changed throughout my time at MCLA. I have really learned to be more open-minded and to respect other people's points of view," he said.

However, the best part of being an MCLA student, Mukendi said, is the opportunity he had to forge lasting friendships not only with other students, but also with campus administrators and faculty members.

"Someone is always willing to lend a helping hand," he said. "I would recommend MCLA to prospective students because it is a very unique institution that offers a profound amount of support that will truly challenge and help strengthen your individual growth."