Manresa Scholars gathered recently at the evening “Manresa Scholars Showcase” to reflect on the end of their first semester by sharing what they’ve learned and experienced through their Manresa Seminars and Manresa programs. Below is an excerpt from Manresa Scholar Amos Ong, in which he discusses the connections he found between his coursework and a weekend Manresa service project.
Hi everyone, my name is Amos Ong, and the Manresa course I’m currently taking is Ground Floor by Dr. DiLorenzo. Besides being an introductory course to business, Ground Floor truly immerses students in the business world, whether it’s in daily New York Times and Wall Street Journal essays, presentations from highly-acclaimed Gabelli professors, or fun field trips to companies like a European financial firm. In addition, the course pushes you to effectively collaborate with fellow classmates, and learn some ethical business perspectives and practices.
Besides having this unique opportunity, we get additional learning experiences through Manresa programs. One particular program that really moved me was the St. Francis Xavier Welcome Table Serving Program. Fellow Manresa Scholars and I served food and cleaned plates and utensils for disabled and less privileged people in New York City. I must say, this experience revealed a different side of New York for me. Having lived in the Philippines basically my all my life, I got to see poverty everyday in the streets, or at my numerous high school service activities. But, I did not expect to see a similar case in the Manhattan area. My perception of the city with bright lights, Broadway, and $1 pizza completely changed.
The truth of the matter is, poverty and struggle could be seen even in the largest cities of the world. As my medieval history professor would say, poverty, a relative term, exists because wealth also exists. And so, what does this tell me as a business student? Although profit is essential in the development of a business and the whole economy, we must strike a balance between growing our businesses, and try to alleviate the injustices and poverty in the world.
Moreover, the program also changed my perspective of what success in business truly means. Does it only mean having market leadership, global expansion, and high profit earnings? Or, does it also mean solving real world problems that matter? A business may be growing financially, but if it is neglecting problems right in its face, what’s the point?
In a larger perspective, the program was a moving learning experience for me. It was amazing to serve others, and look past each other’s differences.
And I think this sums up the beauty of these programs — how it can help you understand the real world in relation to your career path, but also help you grow as a whole person and deepen your understanding of life.