Rayani: Going Beyond the Expected

In terms of his success as a student, recent alumni Faical Rayani says it was love that made all the difference.

The difference, that is, between merely rolling with the flow and taking on impressive leadership roles. His included the  Minnesota State Student Association (of which he was president in 2017), Residence Hall Association, International Student Association and others.

It was the difference between taking classes and going beyond them, such as joining the student-run marketing and media group Bureau 507, which helped land him a job at Haworth, a marketing firm in Minneapolis, immediately after graduation in May 2018.

As for the love, that’s the term he uses describing how it felt to be invited to participate in the variety of opportunities he had as a student at Minnesota State Mankato.

“It was the moment I felt yeah, people want me to be here,” said Rayani. “People care about me.”

Faical Rayani smiling in his office at Haworth
Faical Rayani’s insistence on engaging with various groups and associations as a student led to a role with media group Haworth right after graduation.

Rayani arrived at Minnesota State Mankato in 2014. Born in Saudi Arabi to a Syrian mom and Tunisian father, the international student hit the ground running, inspired and encouraged through it all by that welcome feeling.

It came from people such as his CA at McElroy Residence Hall. And his advisors in the Residence Hall Association. Then the Minnesota Student Senate Association. Then the state system itself.

“Every organization I was involved in,” he said, “it was this atmosphere of being completely welcomed and encouraged and celebrating student involvement and celebrating student success and achievement.”

Rayani specifically credits Bureau 507 and the advisor he met there with getting him a solid foot in the door at the Haworth Marketing & Media group, a firm that has offices in the Twin Cities and Los Angeles.

Run by students, Bureau 507 is a faculty-advised creative media group that specializes in web development, graphic design and video projects for clients. Rayani signed on with Bureau 507 during his last year at Minnesota State Mankato and took on the role of project manager for several projects. One of his favorites was a software program developed by the students that today is used by the state university system as an online orientation tool for students as well as a new-employee orientation for Hennepin County Medical Center.

“As project manager my role was to communicate and facilitate discussion with the client and help create a product that met their needs,” he said.

Cyrus Azarbod, an advisor to Bureau 507 and Rayani’s mentor, helped Rayani get an interview at Haworth. He was hired and now works as a business analyst.

“The analogy I’ve heard is that the business analyst is the navigator and the project manager is the captain of the ship,” he says.

Haworth, Rayani says, employs a dozen students whose backgrounds include Bureau 507.

“They think our students are talented and that Bureau students are like five years ahead of any student coming out of college,” Rayani said. “We heard that at a meeting sometime so we hold on to that statement dearly.”

 From the relationships he built, to the classroom content to the out-of-classroom lessons, they all combined to giving Rayani his first and giant step into the business world he enjoys.

“Through all those opportunities I was able to learn how to be professional, how to send meeting invites, how to facilitate, how to sell yourself, how to sell your ideas, and those are the intangible things that, in an interview, make you stick out from everybody else.”

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in Maverick Nation, an electronic magazine for and about young Minnesota State Mankato alumni. To have Maverick Nation delivered to your inbox, sign up here.