Joshua Weaver participated in a few pitch competitions in high school, but he never really felt like they were his thing.
That changed when, as a senior at North Carolina A&T State University, Weaver learned about the Moguls in the Making program at Ally. The weekend-long pitch competition, which aims to tackle economic mobility, seemed like the perfect opportunity to push himself.
No longer as shy as he once was, Weaver was ready. "It would have been my first competition since high school, so I was in my head, but I really wanted to challenge myself and get out of my comfort zone."
The experience would end up landing him a coveted internship and set him up for future professional success.
We sat down with Weaver to learn more about what he's doing now and the impact the Moguls program continues to have on his life today.
What was your biggest lesson from the program?
I learned how to really dive into the human-centered design process and figure out exactly what I'm solving for. I also learned that I can't do it all on my own. I was trying to do everything by myself and wear every hat. Being a part of the Moguls team showed me that you can reach the goal more quickly – and often better – together.
What is your favorite memory from your experience?
I'd have to say the recent alumni event in Detroit. The year I participated, the competition was virtual, so I didn't get that experience of being with everyone and truly feeling the energy of all the students. So being with the alumni all in one place was a full-circle moment for me. I was also part of a speakers panel where I got to share my experience with future participants. That was probably one of the best moments for me.
What lessons did you learn from the Moguls program that you still carry with you today?
It would have to be the human center design principles that we utilized during the program and the competition. After the competition, I started working full-time at TM Studio, which is our innovation studio at Ally. In that role, I really got to live and breathe human-centered design each and every day at work. It has instilled in me to focus on the customers first – figure out what problems and pain points they're experiencing so you can really dive in and find a truly productive solution.
What's been your biggest financial lesson as a young professional?
Being fresh out of undergrad and suddenly a salaried employee, I became a bit of an impulsive spender. I realized I had to be intentional, create a budget, abide by it and live beneath my means. Another major lesson for me was taking advantage of my company's 401k match program by contributing the maximum amount to get the most out of the company match.
What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
Honestly, I am really focused on understanding what my purpose is here in this life. That would be my greatest accomplishment because I feel like that would guide me in living life to its fullest.
The views, information or opinions expressed are solely those of the individuals involved and do not represent those of Ally.