When he arrived on the UMass Dartmouth campus from Port-au-Prince, Haiti in the fall of 2018, Gamaliel Daffeed Janvier ’23 knew he was facing the biggest adjustment of his life. But he also realized that a world of opportunity lay before him.
As he completes his college education this semester as a business management major with a minor in finance, Janvier will graduate from UMass Dartmouth as a five-time Chancellor’s and two-time Dean’s List scholar, a member of the international honor society for business programs, with a range of campus involvement and with a job as an associate in the New York City office of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
Janvier reflects on his experience at the UMass Dartmouth Honors College and the Charlton College of Business, his future career, and his dream for his native country.
Choosing UMass Dartmouth
“Growing up in Haiti, I always wanted to pursue my education in Massachusetts where it is known for having a great education system,” said Janvier. “I wanted to go to a university outside of the city where I could focus on my studies but also be involved on campus.
“What stood out to me the most at UMassD is how the faculty and staff in the Charlton College of Business go above and beyond to help and guide their students. In addition, there are plenty of resources on campus such as tutors, advisors, or the career center to assist students whenever they might be facing challenges.
“There’s a good community in the business school. My first advisor, Sarah Pryzstarz, guided me with my classes and was really nice, along with my peer mentors.”
Enjoys “the thrill of solving problems”
“I always liked math,” Janvier said. “I enjoy working with numbers, and I enjoy the thrill of solving problems that may seem complicated at first. I also love the fact that every problem has a solution. Therefore, I feel like math helps you with your problem-solving skills.”
He credits Sokratis Koumas, director of the Academic and Resources Center, and Associate Professor of Accounting and Finance Zhaojin Xu for encouraging him to minor in finance and to become a tutor.
“Great experience” in the Honors College
Janvier enrolled in the Honors College at the end of his second semester at UMass Dartmouth. Under the direction of Koumas, he worked on a home price data analysis research project.
“I have had a great experience in the college as I met some of my closest friends there,” Janvier said. “Being part of the Honors College enabled me to apply what I have learned in class to different assignments due to that extra attention professors give you. The Honors College motivated me to do better, to be more involved,” Janvier said.
All graduating seniors in the Honors College complete an APEX (Academic Project or Experience) that reflects the students’ educational interests and career goals. An individually chosen independent project, the APEX consists of three possible tracks in traditional or classic research, performance/expression, or applied/service, which reflects internships.
For his APEX research project, "Fast Fashion and Its Effect on the Environment, " Janvier surveyed people about their knowledge of fast fashion's environmental impact and their shopping habits and sustainable behaviors. He then showed them a video about fast fashion and surveyed them again. He found that the information changed people's plans about future consumer behavior.
Dr. Amy Shapiro, director of the Honors College, worked with Janvier on his project. “Working with Daffeed this semester has been a joy. He’s not only smart, capable, and resilient, he is also a lovely human being. It is so wonderful to see him reaping the rewards of his hard work,” she said.
Student involvement pushed Janvier out of his comfort zone
A year after adapting to a new language and environment at UMassD – as well as much colder weather – Janvier was ready to get involved on campus to enjoy a true college experience.
Beginning in his sophomore year, he volunteered as a tutor for the America Reads program with the Leduc Center for Civic Engagement, a math and business tutor for the Charlton College of Business, and a French tutor.
“I like helping others,” Janvier said. “Seeing how they got very good grades after I helped them is satisfying.”
He is a student ambassador for the Charlton College of Business and is also a member of the Student Alumni Association.
His involvement in DECA under the supervision of Dr. Jacqueline Einstein, full time lecturer in Management & Marketing, pushed Janvier out of his comfort zone and “had a big impact in helping me to improve in so many different ways.”
In addition to being named to the Chancellor’s List five times and the Dean’s List twice, Janvier is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma Society, the international honor society for business programs accredited by AACSB International, considered the highest recognition for a business student in an AACSB-accredited program. He is also the recipient of the Charles J. Hoff Presidential Scholarship.
Internship at one of the world’s largest financial services firms
During his junior year, Janvier interned at Silverstein Properties in New York City. “It was more of a networking and informational internship where I learned more about real estate and what the people do for work there. As I was getting interested in real estate and before graduation, I wanted to learn more about the workload before applying for a job,” said Janvier.
That fall, he applied for an internship at KPMG in Boston and at PwC in New York City. One of the Big Four accounting firms, PwC is the second-largest financial services network in the world. In FY 22, PwC firms provided services to 84% of the Global Fortune 500 companies.
Janvier was offered both internships and chose PwC, where he interned during the spring 2022 semester. “My internship was a great and fascinating experience,” he said. “I was an intern within the Financial Market and Real Estate team at PwC’s New York City office on Madison Avenue.
“I had to get myself out of my comfort zone while doing the tasks that were given to me. I made sure to meet the other members of the Financial Market and Real Estate team to introduce myself, learn about them and from them, and offered to help them with additional tasks. I ended up working on multiple simultaneous million-dollar projects, including drafting proposals, developing multiple location strategy assessments, and site selections to quantitatively evaluate clients’ potential locations based on their specific criteria such as market, rent, size, and more.”
Janvier said his business classes were a good foundation for the internship, especially finance, while the firm also provided training and guidance. “Besides the technical part, great time management skills and getting out of your comfort zone are rewarding.”
Janvier loved living in New York City. “It was eye-opening to experience life in such a big city, see how people live, how fast paced everything is, and how important it is to grow your network.”
At the end of his internship at PwC, Janvier accepted a full-time job offer to return to the company upon graduation. He will work as an associate for the Financial Market and Real Estate team in the New York City office.
Hopes to improve opportunities in Haiti
“Growing up, I always wanted to have my own company one day,” Janvier said, “especially since I grew up in a country where there are few job opportunities. I want to be able to give back to the Haitian community by creating more jobs for the population. I plan on pursuing my lifetime dream of starting my own company in my home country once I have accumulated enough industry experience.
“Haiti has a lot to offer in agriculture, like rice, coffee, and sugar cane,” he added. “I’d like to help Haiti export more. It’s tough there right now with high unemployment and political issues, so I hope and pray that I can go back someday and use the country’s resources to make my people proud.”
Advice for future students
“College is meant to be fun, and it’s when we’re supposed to find what we want to do. Know how to pick your friends. Choose friends who also work with you in the library and who want to succeed,” said Janvier.
“Get out of your comfort zone. I took that first step by getting involved in DECA," he added. "Use the resources that are available to you. It’s always about taking that first step.”