Black History Month Q&A Spotlight Series: Abraham Omorogbe – Faculty of Engineering

Black History Month Q&A Spotlight Series: Abraham Omorogbe

The Software Engineering and Management graduate speaks on celebrating achievements, taking advantage of change, and leaving a legacy.

Abraham Omorogbe

Software Engineering and Management graduate, Abraham Omorogbe, speaks on celebrating achievements, taking advantage of change, and leaving a legacy ahead of Black History Month.

Abraham Omorogbe is a Program Manager at Microsoft where he spearheads the product release of cutting-edge technology and softwares. At Microsoft, Omorogbe has led an influential, organization-wide learning initiative to support current employees to enhance their professional and technical skills.

Abraham is also the founder of multiple start-ups including Canvas Group Canada, a graphic design agency and Omor Bros Inc., a technology consulting and professional services company specializing in digital transformation.

In his spotlight Q&A, Abraham Omorogbe reflects on the importance of Black History Month, speaks about his role models (also both MacEng alumni!), shares his definition of success, how he got to where he is today, and more.

Check out our other Black History Month initiatives here, including weekly alumni spotlights, movie recommendations, and interviews with current members of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE).

Q: What does Black History Month mean to you?

A: Personally, Black History Month is a month of celebration. It is an appreciation of the progress that we’ve made so far. Despite a lot of media coverage on the hardships of Black people, Black History Month is a good month to “flip the script”.

There is more work to be done in terms of equity, and inclusion but it is also important to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of our Black peers, colleagues and role models.

Abraham Omorogbe

Q: Who is your role model?

A: Two people that continue to inspire me: Wayne Purboo and Michael Lee-Chin. They’re both McMaster engineering graduates—I promise you I’m not being paid to say this—personally, it is really important to have a role model that has a similar path as me. Fortunately, I was able to connect with Wayne Purboo and it was very inspiring to speak to someone with so many years of experience in the industry. I saw that he was someone that was from the same university as me, looks similar to me, and is making it out there.

Q: What is your motto?

A: My motto is a piece of advice I got from my coach growing up. He used to say: “The only constant thing in life is change.” And when you hear that, it makes you think because it’s counter-intuitive. The change in your life is the only thing you can actually count on. So when change does happen, it is up to you to look at that situation, accept it, and take advantage of it.

Q: Any career advice for MacEng students?

A: Really, the first thing is confidence. I’ve seen MacEng students count themselves out when it comes to these big-name companies. But realistically, the skill set is the exact same; you’re learning all of the right things at McMaster. However, what companies want to know is…how do you develop your skills?

In terms of skill development, there are many things you can do to land these positions. Start by reading the job description. You’ll find that everything is available online so take advantage of these free, sometimes paid, resources to augment your skills. Additionally, taking on side projects, extracurricular activities, and entrepreneurship ventures will help you grow and open the door to more opportunities. Companies also look to see if you are a good culture fit. Are you able to adapt? Are you passionate about your work? Are you pushing for any initiatives?

Sometimes, it does seem like getting an opportunity at these big companies is just luck, but I’d say LUCK is Labour Under Correct Knowledge. Then really, it’s how much time, effort, and knowledge are you putting in for you to be “lucky”?

Fun Fact: Did you know Abraham was Co-op Student of the Year? Check out more career advice from Abraham here!

Q: What networking advice do you have?

A: At McMaster, especially in Engineering, there are a ton of opportunities to network. The engineering faculty as well as other clubs at McMaster (shoutout to NSBE) host many networking events . This is a great way to meet many different companies. My advice is: go to these events, bring your resume, and talk to the recruiters. Make sure to get the recruiters’ emails—and have that confidence. Keep in mind that these recruiters want to hire you; recruiters get a bonus for hiring. If you show the drive, the enthusiasm, and demonstrate the skills required to be successful in the job, they have no reason why they shouldn’t hire you.

Q: How do you define success?

A: At the beginning of your university career, it feels like success is money. But the older I get and the more I network with people (who have quite a bit of money), I realize: you can always make more money. Money is infinite. And so for me, one aspect of success can be quantified in terms of your relationship with your loved ones and whether you are living life with a smile on your face.

Then, another aspect of success is giving back to your community. I quantify this aspect of success by asking myself: what is the legacy you leave behind?

For me, seeing NSBE McMaster grow to what it is today and witnessing the introduction of the NSBE scholarship was very special to me. The scholarship and growth of the club is something that me and other NSBE McMaster executives had played major roles in pushing forward. After reflecting on all this—I think I had a pretty successful career at McMaster.