Meet Malik Williams, a native of Waldo, Arkansas (pop. 1,283), who will graduate this December with a bachelor’s degree in business information systems. The University of Arkansas at Little Rock will celebrate the graduation of Williams along with hundreds of other students during a commencement ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 14, at the Jack Stephens Center.
Tell us about a little bit about yourself.
I’m an only child who is still a little country. I love hanging out with close family and friends, learning new things, and traveling to different places. I work part-time at the Genius Bar at the Apple store in Little Rock while going to school full-time. My mom taught me how to cook, clean, do laundry, and mind my Ps and Qs. My dad taught me the importance of hard work and said that I could do anything I set my mind to.
Why did you choose UA Little Rock?
When I was in 10th grade, the TRIO Talent Search college prep program helped me learn about colleges and universities in the state. My career coach helped me fill out college and scholarship applications. It was a choice between Southern Arkansas University and UA Little Rock. I chose UA Little Rock because it is in the capital city and had the top business school in Arkansas. My mom wanted me to stay at home, but I felt like I needed a challenge and wanted to get out of my comfort zone. TRIO and all of the wonderful mentors helped me do just that. I can definitely say that I would not have been so exposed to so many opportunities if I had stayed in my hometown.
Another thing that helped my decision was the Dr. Charles W. Donaldson Summer Bridge Academy (SBA) for high school students. I came up here for three weeks before the beginning of my freshman year to attend this program. This program pairs students with mentors that help them with their weaknesses in different areas to get them ahead of the curve in the first year of college.
Why did you major in business information systems?
During my freshman year, I was undecided, but I knew I wanted to do something in the business field that would help me make a good living. I chose business information systems because it is a versatile degree that contains all aspects of business mixed with information technology. I’ve always been interested in technology. (I’m the IT person in our family.)
What kind of careers can you do with a business information systems major?
There are so many choices such as marketing, management, project management, database administration, business analysis, coding, and software development and others.
What companies are you interested in?
Apple, Blue Cross Blue Shield or Southwest Power Pool would be great companies to work for. I’d like to stay in Little Rock to build a foundation, but would consider relocating.
How would your professors describe you?
I think they would say I am laid back and easygoing. I’m versatile and soak in new information like a sponge. My job at Apple has helped me develop people skills.
Who were your mentors?
My mom and dad are my life coaches. My cousin Montrell Turner is a business information systems graduate from UA Little Rock and has always had good advice for me. My hometown friend Corrigan Revels helped me early in my college career. The Summer Bridge Academy program helped me stay on track and connected me to the right people.
What was your biggest challenge in college?
Procrastination, and the balance of social life, school, and family. You have to figure out what is important. Learning about “delayed gratification” helped me put things into perspective. I listen to podcasts that motivate me and help me self-reflect.
What was the toughest decision you had to make?
Working part-time while going to school full-time. My parents wanted me to focus solely on school.
What advice would you give to incoming students?
Stay focused and keep a good balance. Don’t overwhelm yourself, because stress is real. Take care of everything on the front end and network. You can’t get by without help. Most of all, never lose sight of the goal and reason why you made the decision to come to college.