Abram Deng has a full schedule. He’s the finance manager at the Americana Community Center, a place where the South Sudan native spent much of his adolescence after his family emigrated to Louisville in 2000.
“The center helped me and my family when we first came to the states with learning English and with guidance to resources needed for us to settle down,” he said. “And for the opportunity to be part of an organization that once helped me was a blessing I couldn’t pass up. It’s interesting to see it from both perspectives, as a participant and now as an employee seeing all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes makes me appreciate it even more.”
Many of Deng’s achievements were possible thanks to the education he received at Spalding University’s School of Business.
“Spalding’s program has helped me be well prepared with providing the necessary skill set to successes in my current role,” Deng said.
Spalding University’s School of Business includes both undergraduate and graduate programs to prepare students for various roles in the business world with concentrations that include accounting, marketing, organizational leadership and human resources management.
Deng had previously studied business as a student at Central High School. One reason he decided to continue his studies at Spalding University was because of the school’s unique scheduling, called FLEX.
Classes in Spalding’s School of Business, along with other programs at the university, take place in six-week sessions with weeklong breaks in between, so students have many opportunities throughout the school year to enroll and begin their coursework. Students can complete coursework at a speedy pace by attending consecutive sessions, or they can spread out sessions depending on their own schedule. If work schedules or life events make it necessary for a student to take a session off, they are only delaying the completion of their degree by six weeks instead of an entire traditional semester.
At other universities, it could be easy to be overwhelmed with a semester full of as many as half a dozen classes. But Spalding’s flexible schedule let Deng focus on just one to three classes at a time while also maintaining his position on Spalding’s cross-country team.
“It was easier to balance school and sports by becoming great friends with my teammates who also had the same schedule and goals,” Deng said. “We would have 6 a.m. practices, then sometimes 8 a.m. classes, then work study and study halls in the evenings.”
Deng also benefited from Spalding’s small class sizes. The average class has 12 students, and the student-to-faculty ratio is 15 to 1. The intimate setting ensures that students get the attention they need and build professional relationships with their instructors.
“What I enjoyed the most about the coursework was the hands-on aspect, where we meet professionals in our field and work with them on relevant projects,” he said.
Deng received his bachelor’s degree in accounting and business administration in 2014. He wants to not only impact Louisville, but he also wants to give back to South Sudan where he was born.
“I believe by gaining the knowledge, I’d have a better chance at creating something positive to help people provide for their families,” he said.
Deng wants to eventually earn his MBA. He also wants to start a mobile coffee/bike startup business that would serve fresh coffee around different parts of university campuses and businesses.
For now, he continues his work at the Americana Community Center.
“The opportunity to be part of an organization that once helped me was a blessing I couldn’t pass up,” he said.
And Deng continues to have contact with his Spalding instructors.
“The relationship you will build with your professors will have a lasting effect on your career post-graduation,” Deng said.
For more information about Spalding University’s School of Business, which includes undergraduate and graduate programs, visit the school’s website.