When Rutgers Business School senior Ahzem Baldwin-Henry landed a scholarship, it was the connections, as much as the award, that impacted his life and career path.
After seeing a Rutgers post about the Hasan Family Scholarship, Baldwin-Henry, a finance major with a concentration in real estate, explained on the application why he wanted to work in real estate.
“I expressed how my community had a lot of abandoned buildings, space that could be repurposed,” he said. “I wrote how I want to become an acquisition analyst and learn to invest in my community.”
At a Rutgers dinner for scholarship winners in December, Baldwin-Henry met Ibrahim Hasan and learned how his father built a company developing buildings in East Orange.
“I’ve always been interested in funding education and giving back to my community,” said Baldwin-Henry, who is also in Honors College - Newark. “Overall, I just want to be the best I can be, for myself and for others.”
First in his family to go to college, Baldwin-Henry grew up in the Weequahic section of Newark and graduated from University High School. His mother, Lisa, is a medical assistant. His father, Howard, was a flight attendant before he died in August 2021. Baldwin-Henry has two younger siblings.
“What makes Ahzem awesome is his drive to achieve his vision, no matter the setbacks he may encounter. He remains steadfast and true to his purpose and his desire to enrich the lives of others." Darlene Brown, EOF counselor
When he decided to be a finance major, Baldwin-Henry’s long-range goal was to work as a trader to earn money to help his family and community. But then he decided choosing real estate as a concentration would help him develop skills to support his community more quickly. “I thought, what can I do now? Real estate began to pique my interest,” he said.
Knowing redevelopment can displace people, Baldwin-Henry wants to help fellow Newark residents stay in their neighborhoods, even as the area is redeveloped.
During the past two summers, Baldwin-Henry interned as an analyst with Bank of America, an opportunity he landed through networking and the America Needs You program. He secured a job as a credit analyst at Bank of America after he graduates in the spring. His goal is to transition within the company to become an acquisition analyst or similar role that will help him develop skills related to real estate.
Baldwin-Henry chose Rutgers because of the diversity of its students and the lower cost of in-state tuition – he will graduate with no student loans. The Educational Opportunity Fund program made a huge impact on Baldwin-Henry’s time at Rutgers.
“Coming in, my skills were not A1,” he said. “EOF helped me establish my academic foundation. The summer program gave us a shot at doing well at school.”
Baldwin-Henry credits Darlene Brown and Carl Milton, senior EOF counselors, with encouraging him to become involved with the Rutgers community and helping him develop soft skills. He was a resident assistant with EOF for its summer program.
Brown praised Baldwin-Henry’s drive, and commitment to others. “What makes Ahzem awesome is his drive to achieve his vision, no matter the setbacks he may encounter. He remains steadfast and true to his purpose and his desire to enrich the lives of others. It has been my pleasure to have him as a student,” she said.
Baldwin-Henry has been a member of Rutgers Business School's Marketing and Management Society, and public relations chair for Chi Alpha Epsilon. He also has worked on the help desk at Rutgers Office of Technology & Instructional Service and volunteers at St. James Social Service Corporation, a food pantry in Newark.
He credits the support of family, friends and the EOF with motivating him to succeed and wanting to pay it forward. “I always remember what I lacked growing up,” Baldwin-Henry said. “The more success in my life, the more I have to give back.”