Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Student Feature: Kamali Thompson, RBS '16

Kamali at the RWJ Medical School White Coat Ceremony
RBS students are making an impact both inside and outside the business community. Kamali Thompson is a dual MBA/MD student, but if that isn't impressive enough....she is currently the #5 Women's Saber Fencer in the U.S and is a 2016 Olympic hopeful!!! Continue reading to learn more about Kamali's experiences as a student at RBS and as a professional athlete. 

Thanks so much Kamali for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this interview! First off, how did you end up at the Rutgers MBA program? What made you decide to pursue both an MBA and MD? 
During my interview at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, the student interviewers gave us a complete overview of the school. This included information such as student demographics, clubs/organizations and dual degrees. When they told us an MBA was only a 1-year program I decided to look into it if I was accepted into RWJ. My first year of medical school, I realized I was going to have to take off 2 years to train for the Olympics instead of doing 3rd and 4th year of medical school due to the rigorous schedule. When I remembered how appealing the MBA program was, I looked into the classes offered. I thought it would be a great idea to take business and healthcare policy classes because eventually I want to open my own medical practice. 

What do you envision doing with the dual degree? What kind of jobs will you be looking for after you finish school? 
After I receive my medical degree, I plan on becoming a primary care sports medicine physician, meaning I will need to do a primary care residency and a sports medicine fellowship. My end career goal is to have a multidisciplinary sports medicine office, where professional athletes will be able to see all of the doctors involved with their medical care (e.g. primary care physicians, orthopedic surgeons, and physical therapists). In order to be experienced enough to open that practice I want to work for a professional sports team first, preferably football or basketball. 

What's been your favorite class at RBS? 
My favorite class was Buying and Managing Mid-Market Businesses with Pankaj Amin. He was such an amazing teacher! It was once of the most practical classes I've taken. As soon as the class was over I felt like I was ready to go out and buy a business. The best part was he didn't just teach us how to buy a company, but how to evaluate investments in general. 

Now onto the fun stuff...How did you end up becoming an Olympic Contender for the U.S. Women's Saber Fencing Team? 
I didn't start fencing until high school which is really late for fencing and sports in general. My senior year of college I finished 6th at NCAA Championships and was really proud of how much I accomplished in such a small timeframe. I wasn't ready to give up fencing just because I was going to medical school and I still had room for improvement so I decided to try to qualify for the Olympics! My first year in medical school, I started traveling to international competitions and shot up to a top-10 ranking in the country. Last year was my best year because I finished 2nd at three national competitions, indicating I was moving in the right direction. It was also the first year I was able to attend all 8 of the international competitions, which allowed me to seriously attempt qualifying for the national team.

Kamali Representing Team USA at the 2013 World University Games in Kazan, Russia

You said you spend a lot of time traveling internationally to participate in competitions. What's been your favorite place to compete so far? 
I've been to 15 countries and Italy is by far my favorite place in the world! I've seen 3 cities, not the famous cities, very unexpected locations because that's where the competitions were held. I love Italy so much that earlier this year I went to Livorno just train with the Italian team for a week! The people I've encountered in these cities really enjoy life and spend time with their family and friends everyday dissimilar to the fast paced environment we experience in the NYC metro area. Also, the food in Italy is much healthier and satisfying than food in America. I can't believe I'm able to eat at all when I come back home.

Pursing a dual degree alone is a lot of work. How do you manage that AND your rigorous training schedule? 
The key for me has always been time management. I know I don't have much time so I have to use every possible moment to study, complete homework assignments or watch videos for fencing. Sometimes that means reading articles and writing papers on the bus to practice or on flights to competitions. I’ve also become excellent at scheduling and usually schedule every hour of the day to ensure I complete all of my assignments. If I don't schedule everything, a task usually gets forgotten about.

If/when you ever get some time to relax, what do you like to do for fun? 

I practice in the Chelsea area of NYC, but I don't see much of the city. In my spare time I like to explore new areas of the city and do activities like visit museums or parks. Sometimes I won't see my friends for weeks at a time if I'm away for a competition so usually I'm just happy catching up with them.

Thanks so much Kamali for sharing your experience with us. On behalf of the RBS Community, we wish you the best of luck on your Olympic journey!!! 

Feeling inspired? Check out Kamali's Fundraising Page to support her journey. Let's get RBS represented in Rio 2016!!! 

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