International Student Services: International Alumni Profiles
Daoud Chaaya, Lebanon, B.S. Mechanical Engineering '01 and MBA '03
Interview with Daoud Chaaya (click to expand)
ISS: Tell us about what you are doing now?
Daoud: I currently manage the CFO office's operations of Daimler Trucks North America. In addition, I spearhead the Continuous Improvement group within the Finance organization throughout NAFTA
ISS: What is a favorite memory from UP?
Daoud: There are too many to just choose one. Both my graduations from UP were memorable and meant a lot to me and my family, considering I was the first one to earn a degree (and later two) in my family. Graduation was the culmination of many memories throughout my six years on the Bluff. Serving the community as a resident assistant in Villa Maria Hall and later in Christie Hall provided many memories that would require many more pages to describe :)
ISS: What did you learn from UP that has helped you with your life and career today?
Daoud: What I learned from UP is that as you navigate through the journey of life you will, inevitably, meet many people from all corners of the world. Teaching me tolerance, patience (even though I continue to work on this aspect), acceptance and broadened my horizons to aspects that I continue to nurture today. Community service as I experienced through UP has taught me that it is a lot more rewarding to give than to receive. If I can help improve someone's quality of life then I have done my share, and with great pride. As you can see, most of the valuable lessons I learned happened outside the classroom (which is where I spent most of my time). I wonder what would have happened if I spent less time in class? I guess that time is now.
ISS: What is the most surprising thing you have encountered in your work life that you did not expect while in school?
Daoud: That I could be getting paid to do something I enjoy! At any one point I had numerous jobs on campus (a sign of good fortune and a curse) ranging from - Teaching Assistant for Physics, Engineering and Math departments, Resident Assistant and front desk worker in the residence halls I lived in, engineering researcher during my undergrad and serving out a few fellowships and working in the office of admissions while in grad school. Don't get me wrong, it was rewarding (and possibly a right of passage) to have gone through these roles, but make no mistake, nothing is as fun and exciting, as enjoying what you do for a living once you have graduated.
Confucius said it best, "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
ISS: What advice would you give to current international students while they are at UP to assist in their job searches and future careers?
Daoud: Learn about those around you, hear their stories (we all have a story), integrate yourself into the community you live in, become a source for other people to come and learn from you and where you came from. The way I see it, all international students come here on a student visa, meaning it has an expiration date as to when we have to leave the US. In that time, either you choose to make the most out of your time here and get to learn all there is to learn and experience and establish a group of friends. You'll be surprised how much those people will help if they have gotten to know you very well throughout your time here.
ISS: Can you tell us about one personal habit/assumption/belief which that you had to change in order to be more successful?
Daoud: I had to get over the belief that I had to be an American Resident or Citizen for me to get work in the United States when I was an international student. Also, I strongly believe, the only thing that can stop you from getting what you want done, is yourself. If you really want something, you need to go out there and get it done.