Henry Montalbano ’10

MBA Candidate, University of Washington Foster School of Management, Seattle, WA

Hank MontalbanoI am currently pursuing my MBA at University of Washington Foster School of Management in Seattle, WA. I served in the US Special Forces and used Arabic on a daily basis during a combat deployment in which we partnered with Jordanian Special Operations Forces. I then worked in consulting and fraud investigations in Dubai, UAE, and utilized Arabic whether in client facing situations or reading media/source documents. These experiences impacted my decision to obtain my MBA — I aim to apply my Arabic skills in whatever comes next.

I chose to study Arabic because I wanted to complement the high level, theoretical educational experience I was already getting at Williams with a hard, practical skill. I was interested in working internationally on tough problems and knew Arabic would be a desirable language for my professional ambitions.

If I were to develop a bucket list for current Arabic Studies majors, it would be:

  1. Study abroad in an Arabic speaking country! If you can’t or don’t, travel there.
  2. Think hard about why you signed up and remember that reason.
  3. Try to use your Arabic over the summer. Don’t let it atrophy. (I didn’t do a good job of this.)
  4. Sort of unrelated but: Be open about why people in the room want to take Arabic during your time at Williams. Whether it is for pure academic experience, ambitions to work in international relations or security fields, just be open to all these motivations.